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The MoonQuest: The Q'ntana Trilogy, Book I Paperback – January 18, 2014
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Na'an came to me in a dream this night. It was early. I had not been in bed long and the night was newly dark.
"It is time," she said, "time to fix The MoonQuest on parchment."
I was gladdened to see her after so many seasons, but I was not cheered by the message she bore. I tried to engage her in other discourse, but she was single-minded as only a Tikkan dreamwalker can be.
"It is not for me to boast of my exploits," I argued. "Others have sung them. Let them continue."
"No," she said, and her silver tresses shimmered as she shook her head. "It is your story to tell. It is for you to fix it in ink, to set the truth down for all to read."
I tried to resist, to shut Na'an's words from my heart, to return to the dreamless sleep that preceded her appearance. But Tikkan speak only what we know in our hearts to be true, and my heart would not close to her even as my mind longed to. Only by forcing my eyes open and my body to this table was I able to banish her milk-white face from my mind's eye. Only by letting my quill rasp across the blank parchment have I stilled her voice.
But my quill hovers over oceans of emptiness. I don't know what to write, where to begin. The story has so many beginnings and no clear ending. As a bard, as Elderbard, I am trained to know how to weave disparate elements into a tapestry of word and song that brings light and meaning to life. When recounting others' stories, I have no difficulty. The tales unfurl from my tongue as if by magic, as if M'nor herself were singing through me.
Na'an says it is my story. Perhaps she is right. Is that why the words come so reluctantly? So many seasons of storytelling and still I hesitate. Of all the stories to stick in my throat, how ironic that it should be The MoonQuest, a tale of the freeing of story itself.
You see how confused I am? I have not even introduced myself. My truth name is Toshar and I am old, so old that most who knew me by that name have passed on to other worlds.
Toshar... Even I have forgotten the boy who was Toshar, the youth who embarked on The MoonQuest all those seasons ago.
They call me Ko'lar now, the ancient word for Elderbard. It is a sign of honor and respect, but it separates me from the youth I was.
Perhaps Na'an is right. Perhaps it is time to bring back Toshar, to allow the boy I was to touch the man I have become, the man I will soon cease to be. Soon it will be time to release the ageless spirit from this aged body and move on to other realms, set off on other journeys. I have seen it and I welcome it. But it cannot be mine until I have told this story. Na'an insists.
She speaks, even as I sit here in full wakefulness, staring at the shadows cast by my flickering taper. Now, they loom, large and menacing. Now, they flit and flutter in delicate dance. I see it all now, in the leap of light against dark. The shadows will tell me the story and I will write what I see. I will write until my fingers and beard are black with ink. I will write until the story is told.
Only then will I be free to continue my journey. Only then will my daughter, Q'nta, be free to continue hers. She is nearly ready. Ryolan O Garan taught her well, taught her the lessons of The MoonQuest. Soon she will live them through my words and will be free to assume the mantle of her birthright, according to the ancient orders of succession:
From father to daughter, mother to son
The mantle passes, the Balance is done
I was an exception to the Law of Balance, a law as old as the land itself. But those were exceptional times, the darkest of ages, in a land where "once upon a time" was a forbidden phrase and fact the only legal tender.
That was the land I was born into, a land of slaughtered bards, a land dulled and divided by fear. That was Q'ntana, and this is its story, and mine...a story that begins once upon a time. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It reminded me why I used to love fantasies once upon a time. The author managed to spin a quest tale that's true-to-form at its core, yet new and fresh in its imaginative spin on the details. Plus, the writing itself is stellar. What's not to love? This book may not be... old... but it's worthy of being called a classic.
The citizens soon become oppressed, and as every good story must have its heroes, Gerson creates some of the most likable, courageous protagonists I've ever met. I was so into this story that when the young Toshar sets off to "light" the moon and save the land, I "Woo-Hooed" so loud that Tigger leaped off the bed and ran for cover. My heart and soul joined him and his friends in their search ... as though it were my own world that needed illumination ... needed creativity to be restored.
Though fictional, this world became my world due to the author's excellent description and realistic characters ... characters that drew me to them as easily as if they were my next-door neighbors.
Who is the leader of the black-clad armies that terrorize the country? Why does Toshar, a young storyteller, risk his life to come out of hiding? What is an Elderbard and how does Toshar qualify? What is the prophecy about the MoonQuest? What do stories have to do with the quest, and why is the line between vision and reality so unclear? Why does Toshar take on the quest and how does he hope to reignite the moon to save the land? What personal truths must our hero discover?
Gerson's writing is so clear, he carried me through this exciting tale with ease. Through magic, music and universal truths masterfully woven into this gripping tale, I discovered some personal truths and other readers will too.
Yes, The MoonQuest spoke to my heart and will speak to it for many moons to come.
I heartily recommend this book for mid-teens to adults, and look forward to more tales from this fine wordsmith, Mark David Gerson.
Reviewed by Betty Dravis, 2008
Author of: Millennium Babe: The Prophecy
As I read "The MoonQuest," something extraordinary happened.
In a classic hero's tale, the protagonist of "The MoonQuest" Toshar is a bard--"youngest of the old and oldest of the young"--destined to inherit the premier Elderbard position of Q'ntana from his grandmother. First, however, it is said he must venture out of exile and set out on the quest to restore storytelling to the land that years earlier fell into the clutches of the dark king. Only he can lead "The Return."
"The MoonQuest" is obviously Toshar's story, the older bard reflecting on his youth and relating the adventure as it unfolds. As expected in any good hero's quest, I began to correlate Toshar's troubles and challenges to those of my own. Naturally, even smugly, I associated myself with the main character, knowing he was the hero of the tale. Then it happened.
Unlike most heroes I have encountered in literature--mythical heroes who confront all types of challenges without a second thought--Toshar began to demonstrate human frailties that I less than proudly identify with and avoid claiming. Toshar didn't want to go on the journey, to accept the undefined responsibility. "Do I have to decide now?" he tries to beg off. "I wouldn't know what to do, where to go."
Suddenly Toshar mirrored me more precisely than I had anticipated. Due to his vulnerability, I began to identify with him in unexpected personal ways and assimilate my own journey with Toshar's search. Almost every challenge Toshar confronted paralleled one of my own personal questions.
As new characters entered Toshar's story and aided him in furthering his quest, I began to recognize particular friends that serve me as well as other friends, relatives, acquaintances, even adversaries in my life that may only pass through yet contribute to my own evolution.
I then realized--with profound new insight--that every living being is weaving together a story. Beyond the moments, or years, that others may travel my road, their stories contain unrelated chapters that I know nothing about. A fresh awareness illuminated the meaning of "oneness"--the interconnected tapestry of all life.
As demonstrated in "The MoonQuest," our challenge is to allow or create a safe space where the complete story can be told. Most people claim that their own story is not interesting, too mundane, but dig deeper and those same people usually admit concealing the most consequential chapters in their biography because those chapters don't fit into "the norm" or are too painful to retell for fear of reprisal--criticism or judgment.
Imagine a world where everyone's most deeply concealed chapters were allowed an airing. Freed by truth, the world would enjoy no room for judgment of others, no space for arrogance, bigotry, hatred, resentment, bitterness, or any of the other less than positive aspects of human nature that prevent others, and ultimately ourselves, from progressing toward a more fruitful unfolding.
Toshar's friend Fynda's revelation near the end--one of the more difficult but most significant points in the novel--graphically demonstrates the need for permitting the hidden parts of our lives to be uncovered. As a result of Fynda's courage, her friends are given the space to free themselves from the burdens and bondage of their own secrets.
The author states that he didn't want to include this part of the journey but kept being compelled to do so, and in my estimation, Fynda's unveiling of her deepest pain is pivotal to the point of "The MoonQuest"--that the complete story must be told. As in Q'ntana, being allowed to tell all stories is the only means by which we can free ourselves and move upward.
Begun as pure entertainment, reading The MoonQuest turned into an unintended vehicle for personal growth: first, to recognize that I too am compelled to tell my own story and every decision determines the paths I travel; second, to help identify and be grateful for the other characters that play critical roles in my own enlightenment; and finally, to understand the powerful, positive impact of revealing our deepest, most closely held secrets and how such exposure frees not only us but all those around us.
In summary, I recommend "The MoonQuest" on two levels. One, it is simply a fantastical ride to another world, but more important, it is a phenomenal journey of self-discovery and personal growth--the kind of book the world should clamor for and read more of.
Although not a direct answer to my quandary, the words of The MoonQuest were reassuring enough to help me out of my funk and know that I am still connected to All That Is even though at times it may not feel that way. I have used The MoonQuest as a type of divination tool many times since them, and at the very least, I have always felt better after the experience. Thank you Mark David for your bringing these sacred words and messages through.