Caution: This page contains spoilers from The Road To Dendura
Book One of The Creed Griffon Series – By C. L. Lewis
What is The Road To Dendura about?
Whether at a book signing event or in Wal-Mart, I always get asked the question – “So what is your book about?” It’s not an outrageous question. As a matter of fact it’s quite appropriate. However, most short stories you will find have one central theme or goal that is easily summarized. But when you delve into the larger stories, you will discover that often times they have more than one theme/more than one goal. The Road to Dendura falls into the latter of the two.
The Road to Dendura is an introductory book. Most initial books in a series are. Here, the reader is introduced to the main characters Creed, Burton, Isabelle, Clancey and Progerious. They also become familiar with their personalities and backgrounds. Book one introduces two core mysteries. The first being; why are kids disappearing around the private school Devonshire and other parts of the city?
The second is – Creed Griffon, my main character, learns that his current childhood is not his first. And, through a series of unfortunate happenings, he discovers that he can do magic. He begins to realize that he doesn’t know anything about his past or family and sets out to find the answers.
Aside from introductory themes, book one, The Road to Dendura, deals with laughter, bullying, facing fears, not giving up, friendship, and betrayal.
Facing Your Fears
The Road to Dendura focuses on facing fears. Who doesn’t have one or two of those right? For example, my main character, Creed Griffon, is hydrophobic. Hydrophobia is the fear of water.
He abhors it! He cannot swim and has no plans to learn how. Nonetheless, he will have to face his fear of the water long before he learns where the cause of it comes from.
What I like about Creed, is that when faced with a scary situation – he doesn’t run from it. He faces it head on…Maybe not perfectly, but he still does it. During his journey, he learns there are worse things to fear than water. However, as he faces each obstacle he discovers that he is capable of doing whatever he puts his mind to – scared or not. He openly admits that fear doesn’t always just go away – and so sometimes we have to do whatever it is while we’re still afraid.
Little by little the tasks get somewhat easier. He makes progress. What’s interesting is at each new book signing, we always have actors dressed as Giests. (Black robed soul snatchers from my book) They look scary! They act scary! However, I love watching people (both young and old – yes) that aren’t so sure – gain the courage to slowly make their way toward them, and gingerly touch them or ask for a gold coin.
The funny thing is, by doing so, they’ve just faced a fear. I’ve been asked why I made Creed hydrophobic in the first place? The answer is simple. Like real people, every character should have a flaw/s. It makes them more human. It makes them more relatable. However, if the truth be known, I have a very close friend of mine who was paralyzed anytime they came near the water.
After a little progress, this person was somewhat okay if they went ankle deep in a pool of the stuff, but any farther and it was a – turn, run, and hightail it out of there! I grew up in and around the ocean and am an avid scuba diver. Hence my visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium on the book signing tour in California.
At first it was hard for me to understand such a mindset, but in reality it was not so much for me to understand this person’s fear – as it was to NOT make them feel bad for it. As I spent more time with him/her, I realized that the fear of water was very real to them, regardless if I could understand it or not. This individual’s story does have a happy ending. They learned to swim with their children!
Laughter and Humor
Some say laughter is like marrow to the bones. It has healing powers in it. I believe this. Life is not easy. Often times we struggle through trials and hardships. Stress is a stranger to no one… Our kids experience it just as much as we do. It may be at levels quite different than our own, but nonetheless – it’s still stress and they need to learn how to handle it.
Laughter in one form or another can help fight against the negativeness brought on by life circumstances. You may say how can this be? First of all, laughter comes in many different forms; from seeing a funny movie, to remembering good times with friends. Though temporary, laughter lifts the heavy burdens off of us so we can breathe for a while, possibly see things in a different light. It makes us take our mind off of ourselves and our problems. Researchers have even found that laughter lowers blood pressure!
However, since laughter is temporary, I believe we need some form of it every day. Laughter is like an added boost of energy or vitamins for the soul.
It doesn’t have to be a gut buster, sometimes; it may take slowing down to appreciate something you didn’t see before, something that makes you smile. Although The Road to Dendura is filled with tense moments, I was sure to add humorous moments as well.
This theory is purposefully illustrated when Creed fights the Spellback. The Spellback is a negative repercussion he receives if he uses too much magic or if he uses a spell of which he’s not trained for. In order to counter its negativeness, he has to laugh or remember something good that has happened to him. By doing so, it fights the weakness he feels after expelling his powers. Similarly, sometimes life’s circumstances can leave us feeling weak. We need to find a way to re-energize ourselves. I believe laughter can help refresh and rejuvenate us!
Creed Griffon Never Gives Up!
Creed Griffon, my main character, is a young boy who comes from a single parent family. His father died when he was very young. In similar circumstances is his best friend, Burton Woods. Both boys are attending an upscale private school on sheer merit and hard work. Many of their classmates know that neither boy can afford to do so without financial assistance, and consequently they are teased because of it. Another central theme The Road to Dendura touches on is the life of single parent families as well as their struggles.
From this approach the concept is introduced – that although our start in life may not be perfect, (whose is?) it’s our finish that truly counts. It’s our finish that often times, we have a say in. What is really important to remember, is that Creed is a normal kid, just like the millions of kids around the world. He is set to do great things but many times falls back on the fact that he, himself is not great. However, Creed learns that just because he may not feel special doesn’t mean that he isn’t! Everyone has the opportunity to be great. The chance to do so is wide and varied. For example, greatness does not come from our situation, but how we react in the midst of it.
Likewise, Creed struggles in the face of adversity but never quits because he knows his friends are depending on him. Furthermore, he discovers he has magical powers, but this is not truly what makes him special either. I like to believe that everyone has a special talent whether it is drawing, singing, or simply having a smile that brightens up a room! Similarly, another thing that makes a person ‘great’ is when they use their gift to help someone. Correspondingly, one of the things that makes Creed so special is what he does with his magic, what he will do with his magic…
Unfortunately, it’s a common practice, and not just among school age kids. I included it in the book because I like the way Creed handles it. He doesn’t believe what the kids say about him, and he always has a comeback for their put downs. He doesn’t necessarily fight back with his fists, but does so with his mouth – often successfully I might add. As I mentioned earlier, Creed and Burton are bullied because they attend a rather upscale private school of which neither can afford to attend. They do so only by free financial assistance or plain hard work.
Burton’s mom works in Devonshire’s cafeteria and he is sorely teased for it. As a result, both boys are looked down on for just about everything they do, from the clothes they wear to where they live. Creed’s main adversary happens to be a girl, Isabelle Polanski…and yes, she goes missing and Creed is blamed for it! I respect Isabelle because she’s tough! She doesn’t take much guff from Creed or anyone else for that matter. I won’t spoil it – She does get abducted but proves once again, that she is no weakling!!
Tenacity (Not giving up)
The Road to Dendura is filled with numerous examples of tenacity, especially where Creed is concerned. I have to admit, I put him through trial after trial, facing unheard of situations, and often providing him with many avenues to just throw in the towel – but he doesn’t. Like life, we have many opportunities to just give in and give up – over the simplest of things. We make excuses or get lazy… It’s too hard; I don’t have enough time, I don’t know how, I’ve never done it before etcetera… Creed does none of the above. He does get frustrated at times, like we all do, but he doesn’t quit! He pushes ahead at all costs because he is not satisfied with not knowing the answers to the mysteries he faces. Furthermore, he knows his friends are depending on him.
Friendship and Betrayal
Friendship and betrayal are a part of life. Creed’s best friend Burton Woods is truly his only friend. And during the course of the book, they become even closer. However, at one point, Creed no longer has Burton by his side and has to trust and rely on new friends to help him on his journey. Making new friends is not always easy, especially when one is a shape shifter, and the other is a sarcastic ferret. However, Creed manages to do so. He even begins to see his nemesis, Isabelle, in a new light. As far as betrayal goes…
We’ve all had a Judas kiss more than once I’m sure. No one likes this, but it happens every day. And in The Road to Dendura, Creed is violently betrayed by someone he never ever thought would do so. The reader will see over the series that Creed has a choice in how to handle this situation of betrayal. He can choose to get the best of it, or he can let it get the best of him.