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Guardian Of The Dark School [Kindle Edition]

Michelle MillerAllen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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  • Length: 614 pages
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Book Description

Michelle MillerAllen’s fascinating Guardian of the Dark School is a big book, an epic weave of archetypes that come to life in the Southwest desert, powered by revelations of mystery and sexual experience, all the while poking sly fun at the foibles and pretensions of the literary establishment. You can hear the coyotes howl as you turn the pages.
Sharon Niederman, New Mexico Author of Return to Abo and Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico

Michelle MillerAllen sets her cast of poets and artists in a New
Mexican hacienda, and weaves together murder mystery, sexual tension and
Green Man folklore into a Celtic knotwork plot. Gripping!

~Mandy Haggith, Scottish Author of The Last Bear and Bear Witness

Set in the dark woods of a remote mountain estate in Northern New Mexico, it is the 14th year of the annual Liam Fagan Residency Prize for Emerging Poets. Fiona, a young MFA poet from Baltimore, is this year's winner. She arrives at the Fagans' rambling hacienda, the hallways of which are filled with eerie carved Green Man masks, to find an ambiguous host and hostess and surly groundskeeper, who are reluctant to discuss the history of a poet who disappeared there 14 years ago.
Fiona decides not to stay, sensing trouble...but in the local village meets last year's prize winner, Raven, who bears a dark anger toward the Fagans, and describes some disturbing ritualistic experiences. Fiona, now intrigued and feeling braver in Raven's feisty company, reluctantly agrees to stay and team up to find out what happened to the missing poet. With the help of Hank, an aging and cantankerous gumshoe from Boulder, the two poets find themselves led deeper and deeper into the dark woods and some dangerous goings on. The presence of the mythological Green Man and a spell of eros form the compelling backdrop to their adventures.
And then...things get decidedly darker.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1920 KB
  • Print Length: 614 pages
  • Publisher: Green Phoenix Productions; 1 edition (7 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #707,580 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is not quite like anything you will have read before and for that alone is worth reading. Michelle MillerAllen (MMA) loved mixing genres in her approach to writing and she certainly did it here. With hints to the paranormal this isn't a straightforward detective/thriller/crime novel. It also has elements of satire as it pokes fun at the literary set, with some piercing observations of how English Literature is taught and promoted in America (and the UK too to be honest) - relevant and entertaining as the plot hinges on an annual Poetry Prize.

MMA obviously drew on real life experiences to give this book the colour and detail it has, combined with a vivid imagination and a gift for fluid writing I can best describe Guardian of the Dark School as a grown up Enid Blyton story - and that is genuinely meant as a compliment. There's a sense of adventure and genuine mystery here you will not get in a typical novel. Her love for the state of New Mexico and many of the colourful characters drawn to it comes through. So despite the book's central dark theme it is actually in many ways a heartening book which contributes to it being a very pleasant surprise - you'll feel you've encountered something new, not quite like anything read before.

I would also recommend MMA's 'Hunger in the First Person Singular', a collection of her short stories. The book is named after its first and longest story which is also set in New Mexico, the story is surreal and hypnotic - interesting to compare with Guardian of the Dark School - differing styles, but similarly skirt the paranormal (and subconscious?).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I could smell the New Mexico heat and found myself captivated by the strong characters painted into the plot weaving together the mythology of the Green Man and the lives of the inhabitants of the hacienda.
I found the book flowed very easily and produced a vivid visual world full of intrigue and innuendo.

I have been fascinated to find Green Man carvings on buildings I have visited often without appreciating they were there. I will be doing some follow up reading to find out more about the variety of origins and manifestations of this ancient and modern figure.
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