1926- Edinburgh, Scotland: Penelope Collins and her father are the only ones who remember the folk and fairy tales of the world. Lonely Penelope’s life changes for adventure after a vindictive teacher expels her for telling her schoolmates the tales she knows.
Fleeing from her soulless school, she returns home. An enchanted fox appears that night to tell her a wondrous truth: her mother is alive, and creates the tales forgotten by the world on a hidden isle just across the sea, but her mother's in danger and won't Penelope come to help?
Like Prometheus bringing fire to earth, Penelope must travel to the isle and bring the tales she loves back to the Realm of Men. Terrors lurk at each encounter with the fairy and folk tale inhabitants of the isle. None of whom are left the way Penelope remembers their stories ending.
A rogue sprite follows her journey and photographs her quest to find the Hob King who kidnapped her mother. The Hob King will do anything to change his story – even if it means resurrecting the ancient god of chaos and destruction to destroy the Realm of Men and the isle. Now it’s up to quiet, lonely Penelope to save her mother, save the stories, and save the world from looming destruction.
Penelope’s Perils combines the ancient myths of Mesopotamia and the fairy tales of Northern Europe to create a rebellious saga. Harrier's photos for the Story Weaver Series are crafted to show the beauty and spontaneity of her tale.
An Excerpt From The Story Weaver: Penelope's Perils
The sound of mud separating from water like the sound of her mud boots stepping from one puddle to another grew louder and louder. The fox heard it too, and fought against the heavy stew of the sea to reach the other side. The sound grew closer, and the thick head of a gigantic snake emerged from the brine in front of Penny and the fox. His tongue flicked from between his lips. His eyes gleamed with fire as he rose up to his full height, towering over them.
“Who comesss thissss way?” the snake sputtered. Gold flecks of fire flew through the air from his tongue. Penny shrunk into the fox’s fur.
“Let us pass, Methuselah,” the fox barked up at him. “I am a messenger to the Realm of Men, and you must stand aside.”
The snake paused, seeming to reflect on what the fox said. His bright red and gold scales flickered in the light, and Penny noticed as he drew nearer that he smoldered from the inside out. His eyes burned a deep orange. He stared at her intently; she felt exposed, like he was peering into her soul.
“You can passss…” the snake slithered around them. “But you mussst take the girl back to the Realm of Men.”
The fox laughed. “Old age has made you deaf; the girl is welcome to the island.” The snake sneered, reared his head back and released boiling, liquid, flames into the water between them. “Now sssee if you will ever reach the ssshore.” He smiled. “No one from Realm of Men can pass into the Isle of Scealta.” He sunk into the depths of the sea behind his wall of boiling fire. The fox swam away from the flame back towards the west. They watched as the flames grew higher, and higher, making an insurmountable barricade.
“What do we do now?” Penny asked. The now warm water soaked her up to her shoulders. Trapped, far from home, and with a strange creature, she shuddered at her foolishness. For the first time since she accepted the fox’s invitation, her throat closed tight and her heart shook her body with pulsating fear. What was she thinking by riding a fox into the sea?
“The snake is a fool. You are capable of commanding great forces of nature. Ask and you shall receive.” He threw back his head and howled a long, high note. As the howl faded away, the wind picked up behind her. A playful breeze picked up strands of her hair, and tickled her face. Penny giggled. The fox howled again, and with a loud, powerful gust the west wind picked up, and pushed the fire away from them. A light voice filled the air.
“You called for me Master Fox?”
“Yes, I did. I need you to take my young charge to the isle.”
“I will take her to Pan’s Cathedral.” The voice danced around them, impossible for Penny to pinpoint. The fox paused, still treading water.
“No, take her to the shoreline, I can meet her there,” he said. The wind roared, and the voice filled the air again.
“I will take her only to Pan. She will be safe with him.” The fox snapped at the air, but relented. He turned to her.
“Jump into the wind Penny, before the snake resurfaces,” he yelled, and the wind roared in delight. Penny looked into the thick sludge around them. The fox swam through it strong enough, but she feared falling in and sinking to the bottom in her wet, heavy clothes.
“I will not harm you,” the wind whispered around her. The water rolled thick and blue, under the strength of the wind. The fire moved towards the shore and dissipated as the water swelled around it. She inhaled a steadying breath, and pushed herself up; she crouched low trying to maintain her balance as the fox kicked in the water.
“Now Penelope!” the fox yelled over the wind. She unclenched her grasp on his fur, and leapt into the air. She fell towards the water, but the wind grabbed her in its sway and she soared into its arms. It cradled her above the fox.
“Where are you going?” She yelled down to him.
“I have a pest to eradicate.” His smile curved up, and he dove below the surface.