The White Mountains
|Title:||The White Mountains|
|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Genre:||Christian, Scifi, Survival, Adventure|
|Series:||The Offworld Chronicles|
|Publication Date:||February 2020|
|Media Types:||Print (paperback) and Ebook|
|Preceded By:||Gold Rush|
|Followed By:||Dark Wanderings|
The White Mountains is the forth book in The Offworld Chronicles series and picks up on the events following Gold Rush as Simon's team try to escape with their wounded leader from the lands of Venodor into the White Mountains, and the start of the 4th Hextant. The story will also cover the continuing exploits and troubles of Arthur Holland and his team of intrepid travelers as they follow in the steps of Simon and team.
Back Cover Blurb
Battling against vicious wolves, blood thirsty demons, merciless wilderness, severe injuries and impending starvation, Simon's team begins their journey through the White Mountains, and the fourth hextant of the race. But, with so many enemies and obstacles standing in their way, will Simon's intrepid team survive their fiery trials and conquer the White Mountains, or will the White Mountains conquer them?
The book opens with Simon riding in the back of the cart that'd taken him out of Forlorian along with the rest of Narcella's prisoners. The soldiers escorting them bring Simon and the others to a farm far outside the city where they're handed over to a group of nurses who begin seeing to their care. Seeing that Simon is no longer in danger, Fallon calls Garloond and asks for assistance in rescuing Simon. Meanwhile, Narcella and her men continue tracking the soldiers as they try to catch up to them. As they do, Targ watches them from the shadows. Back at Esther's place, Birash helps Yurg with everything he needs as he struggles with the injuries he sustained in Forlorian. Over at the farm where Simon has been taken, Fallon and Garloond sneak inside and rescue a still unconscious Simon, and whisk him away to Esther's farm where he's taken into the care of Simon's team, who are devastated to see the condition he's in.
Garloond and Fallon return to Kestrel Weyr where they're greeted by Akhur who proceeds to dress them down for what they did. Fallon assures him that everything is fine, but Akhur is still angry about it. Meanwhile, Narcella continues her search for Simon and the others, and eventually reaches the borders of the White Mountains where she crosses the border marker, and is subsequently attacked and killed by The Wolves of Ratinar, along with all her men, save one, who is sent back to Forlorian with a warning to never again trend on the lands of the White Mountains. Back at Esther's place, Esther gifts Bellimeir to Birash, who needs a better horse than his current mount, Tiny, who is too small for him. Caleb later appears and tells Trevor that God wants him to take Simon and the others and head out towards the White Mountains, injuries or not. So Trevor, taking leadership of the team, takes Esther's wagon, loads up Simon and Yurg, and the entire team resume their journey west. As they do, Sheobaal returns to his master Azazel and declares victory, but is quickly rebuffed when Bathremel reveals that he has actually failed. Sheobaal then leaves to finish what he failed to do before.
Meanwhile, Charles Lundy meets with Zek to discuss the Weyr Master's unusual moves of late. But Zek, who dislikes Lundy, stonewalls him. Back at Simon's team, Trevor struggles to lead the team, while doing his best to ensure that Simon and Yurg have the softest ride possible, so as not to exacerbate their already significant injuries. They travel for several days along a series of side roads, to avoid the main trail, and any solders from Forlorian who might be on it, and soon reach the border of the White Mountains. After reading the warning sign there, they continue on their journey as Maul Ratinar and Angus watch them from the shadows. Angus is interested in killing them right away, simply for intruding on their lands. But Maul restrains him, telling him merely to watch and observe.
Further back on the trail, Arthur Holland and team continue their journey west. They take note of the newly minted forest around them that was once the land of The Four Kingdoms, and also discuss what lies ahead of them. The team also begins to grow together, as Arthur and Dexter begin to fully integrate into the team. Back in the mountains, Trevor continues their journey before, doing an excellent job leading the team, while at the same time heavily decrying his lack of proper skills, which was due to his own laziness in assuming that Simon would always be with them in a usable capacity. However, in the midst of this, God, through Yurg, and the animals of the planet, encourage Trevor and teach him a lesson of Trust, and that God is always by their side, and will take care of them, no matter what. As they continue their journey through the mountains, Sheobaal continues his hunt for them, while Angus shadows them quietly from a distance.
However, try as he might, he finds nothing in them detestable, or worthy of death. If anything, he's pleased with how they behave. But that doesn't mean he's ready to give them a pass just yet. Eventually Angus decides to put Simon's team to the ultimate test, and calls all five of his largest brothers to his aid. The six wolves then race down the mountain and surround Simon's team. However, wisely knowing when he is in a fight he couldn't win, Trevor lays down his weapons, and orders the others to do so as well. Angus is impressed. He then confronts the team about their plans in the mountains, and even reveals to Trevor, who was one of only two, Aria being the second, who still didn't know Yurg's true identity. This revelation, however, not only does not hurt their friendship, but instead strengthens it, given all Yurg could've done to them, being who he is, and yet did not. Maul then confronts them briefly before ordering his wolves to leave them alone, and allow them to continue as they have been. As he does, Sheobaal watches them from nearby, having finally reacquired Simon's team.
Back at Kestrel, Fallon approaches Akhur and requests the use of Garloond, Maggy and Pehkek for a secret mission, which Akhur reluctantly agrees to. Fallon then goes and collects the three dragons and explains to them their new mission. Meanwhile, Sheobaal, who continues to follow Simon's team, decides to attempt another assassination of them by using the still periodically snowy and cold weather of the White Mountains against them. So he first shatters a wheel on the team's wagon, and then stirs up a blizzard that descends on them, and buries the team under feet of snow. However, before the storm has a chance to gain any strength, Trevor and the others setup camp, unload the wagon, then strip it of all wood to be used to keep a fire lit that will keep them warm through the worst of it. The blizzard then comes and goes, burying the team in snow. However, they weather this miraculously with no issues. Seeing his plan failed, Sheobaal directly attacks the team, even grabbing Trevor by the throat with the intention of killing him. However the Chief Director intervenes and stops Sheobaal's rampage, then banishes him to Hell for his insubordination.
Afterwards, in consolation for allowing Sheobaal's rampage against them, the director grants them one wish, which Trevor immediately fills by requesting Simon and Yurg's healing. The director grants this request, then leaves. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Susan's team loses its first member, and Azazel discusses his betrayal of Sheobaal, and Bathremel reveals his questionable loyalty to Azazel. Back at camp, Simon, now healed, talked with Trevor and uses their recent experiences as a teaching moment to strengthen and mature the young man. The team then moves on and enters the Clement Valley where they meet a young boy on the road who sends them over to his grandfather, Emmett Brownstone, who gives lodging to the team at his farm. Inside the house they're introduced to Emily Brownstone, Emmett's wife, as well as a distressed, shy young woman named Abby Delt (aka, Ms. Abby). Emmett then invites everyone to church, of which Trevor and Aria have never been to, both of whom become excited at the offer. Emmett then drives all of them across the valley to another local farm where services are being held Amish style, in a barn, as they have no formal church house in the valley. Thus each family shares in the duty of hosting the church services in rotation.
However, shortly after arriving, Bartholomew Wickham arrives, acting extremely haughty and self righteous, and belittles Ms. Abby vihemently, which leads to Emmett boldly rebuking him. After their brief confrontation with him, Simon and the others realize that Bart might be their reason for being there in the first place, sorta as a temporary assignment for them while they're in the valley. They then discuss what to do with him on their way back to Emmett's farm. Meanwhile, Maul talks briefly with the Chief Director about Maul's interest in Simon's team, then returns to the White Mountains, alongside Angus, to see how Simon's team is doing. As they watch and observe, Emmett sends Abby on an errand, of which she's hesitant to due, given Bart's hatred of her. So Birash and Trevor agree to go with her as protection. They return from their errand with no issues. Meanwhile, Bathremel speaks with the local demons in the area, of whom Anzumalala is chief, and uses them to set a trap for Simon's team. Back at the farm, Emmett and Simon's team discuss the situation with Bart, and try to get up to speed on him before deciding to set a trap to draw him out, in hopes that Maul's wolves will do the rest of the work for them.
As they do this, Fallon and his team sit quietly by and observe all that's happening, ready to jump in whenever needed. Back at the farm, Simon joins Emmett's men and helps with farm work while Aria helps Emily with Emmett's grandmother, who has dementia. Trevor and Birash, meanwhile, go out again with Abby on errands. But this time Bart springs a trap on them to destroy Abby and her two protectors. However, it doesn't go well for Bart's men who are each wounded by Birash and Trevor in a brief but effective shootout that severely wounds Bart's men, and sends them running. Bart soon learns of the defeat of his men, which drives him to rage, after which he feeds his wounded men to his hounds, and then gathers his men in an assault party to go after Trevor's group, as well as attack the Brownstone farmstead. Angus soon learns of Bart's intent to harm Emmett and the others, and then summons Brolly to his aid. The two then split up to deal with the two teams from Bart's farm. Angus heads north and rescues Abby's group, while Brolly goes to the Brownstone farmstead to protect it.
After Angus brings Trevor and the others back to the farm, the two wolves then stand ready to face Bart and his men. Seeing the wolves standing at the farm, Garloond and Pehkek appear and put themselves between the wolves and Simon's team. However, they soon discover that the wolves aren't there to hurt them. They're there to confront Bart and his men. Maggy and Fallon remain aloft to get a bird's eye view of what's happening, and call out details as needed. Bart then arrives at the farm and confronts Angus, who warns him off. But Bart remains defiant, drawing Angus and Brolly's wrath down upon him. and his men. After exterminating them, the two wolves head north to take care of the other part of Bart's men. After this, Simon's team wrap things up in the valley, say their goodbyes and departs the valley. Meanwhile, Bart's farm, now abandoned, is stripped, ransacked and then burned to the ground in retribution by a number of jilted residents of the Clement Valley. As Simon's team again resumes their journey, Maul and Angus watch them from a distance as the dragons once more depart and then follow the team from a distance.
As the team continues deeper into the mountains, Trevor, Aria and Birash waste no opportunities improving their pathfinding, wayfinding, and survival skills so that, should something happen to Simon again, they'll be ready and better skilled to take over the job than they were the last time. Along the way, Bathremel works from the shadows to kill Simon's team, but repeatedly fails to do so. Back at Kestrel, the Chief Director confronts Akhur about the activities of Fallon's team. This causes Akhur to call off Fallon's mission for their own safety, and recall them to the Weyr. Meanwhile an Earthquake happens in the mountain that sets off an inferno in a nearby village that burns it to the ground. Simon's team stumbles onto this burnt out village the next day, and offers to help. At first they're buffed. But eventually the village chief accepts. They then stay there a full month helping the villagers survive and rebuild. However, this nearly depletes all of the supplies, credits and resource slots of Simon's team. They then continue on with a bare minimum of supplies, with Trevor struggling heavily in his faith as he faces this shortfall with great trepidation and fear.
However, Simon faces their dilemma with great faith and courage. They struggle forward again through the mountains, dealing with rapidly dwindling supplies and numerous other hazards. Seeing that they have no chance of surviving, given that they are headed into The Deadly Slues, he abandons his pursuit and attempted extermination of them, content to let the swamp do the work for him, and returns to Azazel to take up new missions for his current master. Back at the swamp, and with no supplies remaining, Trevor has a large conflict of faith. After arguing about the situation for a bit, and fighting briefly among themselves, Trevor finally admits his fear of what's ahead, and all that he might lose if they continue on. Simon understands this and addresses this with Trevor, who regains the courage to go on, no matter how tough it may be. Meanwhile, Arthur and the others advance down the trail into Renata and are met by several of Chester Westman's employees who direct Arthur, Susan, Dexter and Fredrick over to speak with Chester who directs them to the quartermaster's office for supplies. However, after going there, they decide to look elsewhere for supplies, only going to the quartermaster if needed.
Back at the swamp, Simon's team struggle with finding a safe path through the watery, dangerous, gas filled swamp. Shortly after entering, they awake to discover that someone has left breakfast for them on the patch of swamp grass they're camping on. The Chief Director confronts him about this, but Maul denies giving them any favoritism. It's only payback for what they did for his people. Meanwhile, Arthur and team scout the city looking for bargains, but soon realize that the seemingly benevolent Chester isn't quite so generous, and is really a despot and an autocrat in disguise, having taken over Renata and all that is in it, controlling everything that happens in the city with an iron fist. Back at the swamp, a storm descends on Simon's team, from which a lightning bolt erupts and detonates a pocket of gas. The team soon race away across the swamp as fast as they can until they find dry ground, on which they setup camp. Fallon, Garloond, Maggy and Pehkek then appear elsewhere on the course where it's revealed that they have been given a new assignment to protect yet another team traveling the course. Simon's team then briefly discuss Birash and the seeming disparity between who he is, and his gifting of mercy.
Elsewhere, Azazel discusses their efforts to disrupt the Brotherhood and seize control of it. However, such efforts have failed for the moment. Chester Westman, having learned of Arthur's team's efforts to go around his iron fisted control of the city, bans anyone and everyone from helping them until they've spoken with him. As these other events continue to unfold, Simon and his team continue their progress through the swamp. However, one night, while resting in camp, they're confronted by a mysterious, mutant creature who approaches them in camp, causing the entire team to raise their weapons in fear as it approaches.
Awards and Reviews
Presently there are none.