Zed, a bright but troubled fifteen-year-old orphan subject to disturbing but revealing dream-visions, along with a small group of dissident families, must contend with the oppressive, prophecy-driven ways of their clan, as they attempt to overcome long odds to achieve his murdered parents' dream: a world without cruelty, ignorance, or greed.
The three-part saga tracks multidimensional characters as they navigate their primitive environment, searching for the twelve magnificent emeralds needed to fulfill the prophecy at the heart of the clan's ritual-bound culture. At the helm is Lunix, the cunning shaman, and Lerk, the headman, a woman-hater who jumps at Lunix's command. Zed's enemies also include Atur, a deeply disturbed man, who is the leader of Lunix's goon squad, and Atok, Atur's son, a bully who walks with anger rather than pride because he fathered a female child.
Buela, the medicine woman, is at the center of the progressive group that began with Zed's parents, along with Sani, Buela's daughter and medicine woman-in-training, who possesses sharp wit and astounding sensory acuity. Paramount among Zed's supporters is Zhiaban, an altruistic yet enigmatic, music-loving tree-goddess, whose magical powers come to his aid, as he and his friends first must flee and then find a way to return to their homeland and share their new ways with the clan.
Rife with adventure, intrigue, magic, love, humor, triumph, revelation, and disappointment, THE ZEDLAND CHRONICLES/ORPHAN RUNNING examines, with no apologies, controversial subjects such as faith, patricide, parenting, and altered consciousness.
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
In 1962, at age sixteen, Ed Rubin failed Freshman English at Queens College, in New York City. He had felt overwhelmed, a child among young adults, and he succumbed to the hostile environment. But his creativity and vivid imagination were destined to emerge. Fast-forward to 1993, when Ed, now a Vietnam-era veteran and certified hypnotherapist, invented and crafted the LSX, which holds the Guinness world's record for the longest spinning top. Fast-forward again to 2002/2003, when Ed, burned twice by bankruptcies in the toy industry, began writing a story that had been brewing in his mind for many years. The result is THE ZEDLAND CHRONICLES, subtitled, ORPHAN RUNNING.
Ed has two grown children who are no longer living at home, an 1813 farmhouse in upstate New York that he shares with his wife, Eileen, three cats, whose names are too embarrassing to disclose, and two huskies, Onemutch and Toomutch, whose names accurately depict their demeanor. He is currently working on the sequel to ORPHAN RUNNING, tentatively titled, ONE, TWO, TREE.
Read an Excerpt
They stood naked on a flat rock at the edge of a basin. The river fell from a wide, smooth ledge twenty feet above. From their perspective, the falls appeared to be a shimmering, white drapery, and, in good humor, they speculated on what might lie behind it.
“A world without cruelty,” she said, looking into his eyes, as they embraced.
“A world without ignorance and greed,” he replied earnestly, kissing her.
The heavy spear caught him in the back, severing his spine. It ripped through his heart and breastbone then lodged in her chest, barely piercing her heart, too. Impaled together, they toppled into the basin. He died before they hit the water. She drowned.
Zed bolted upright in his sleeping fur, sweating. He sucked air into his lungs repeatedly. The sharp pain in his chest subsided to a dull ache, as the nightmarish images of his parents' murder faded. Buela, the medicine woman, came right over.
“Same nightmares, Zed?” She supported his upper chest with one hand, as she pressed two points in his back with the thumb and forefinger of the other. Zed melted into the comforting support. The tension in his neck and shoulders began to drain down through the relaxed pressure points. “Zed?”
“Well, pretty much the same,” he whispered.
Variations of the nightmare had plagued him for thirteen years, ever since his parents left him in Buela's care for the day, when he was two, and had never returned. She cared for him ever since, occasionally farming him out to other families because of overcrowded conditions in her quarters, a well-appointed, rectangular space that was separated from the main room of the cavern by a hanging cave-bear hide.
The alcove offered privacy and had a natural chimney. Niches carved into the walls held flasks and sacks that contained Buela's concoctions and raw materials. Various plants lay drying on nets suspended ten feet above the fur-covered limestone floor, creating a leafy ceiling that made it feel like an aromatic forest. Along with a small dish of burning sage, colorful wild flowers graced the flat, circular stone that served as a table, and in addition to the hearth, the gentle glow from one small candle lent a warmth to the space that spoke of the medicine woman’s character.
Buela continued to rub his back.
“The other boys have been taunting me, saying cruel things about my parents. They say Feda and Zule hated it here more than they loved me, and that they caused trouble. They say—”
“Cruel monkeys aping their ignorant parents’ words,” Buela assured him. “I grew up with your parents. We were best of friends. They did hate the ways of the clan, but they loved you fiercely. Your mother and I went through our pregnancies together, Zed. I delivered you only seven days before I had Sani. No mother could be more devoted to her child than Feda was to you. No two parents could be more inspirational in their child-raising than yours. They were bold, vocal people whose innovative ideas angered and threatened that old idiot, Lunix.”
Zed chuckled at the disparaging remark about the shaman. “His brother is a complete ass, too,” he said.
“They are powerful men, Zed,” Buela warned, putting her finger to her lips, “with one the shaman and the other the headman’s father, and both honored elders with a vote on the council.” She walked to her hearth and poured some hot tea for Zed and Sani, also fifteen, who had just awakened. Buela handed them the steaming clay cups and sweetened the tea with a bit of honey. “Good morning, dear.”
“Morning, Mom. Morning, Zed.” Sani smiled cheerfully.
“Morning, Sani,” Zed said, without looking up from his tea, his mood still shaken by the dream. “In most of my nightmares, my parents get killed. I wake up feeling the pain that was theirs, but when I dream that they abandoned me it’s even worse,” he admitted.
“If you let the monkey-chatter undermine your feeling of well-being, you are playing their game. Never doubt your parents’ love,” Buela said.
“Or ours,” Sani declared, looking Zed in the eye.
Buela smiled at her and confirmed, “Or ours.”
Zed was glad for their love, but he wondered whose game he was playing if he never even had a feeling of well-being.
“Sani and I will be foraging in the upper fields today. I must replenish some supplies, and Sani must continue her education. Would you like to come with us, Zed? We should be back by noon.”
Whenever Buela and Sani went off somewhere together, Zed experienced high anxiety. He desperately wanted to go with them but, stoic and determined not to interfere or be a burden, he rarely accepted. Sani needed to internalize her mother’s skills and knowledge by her sixteenth summer. She had expressed her self-doubt to Zed many times.
“Thanks for asking, but a bunch of the boys are going down to the river to fish and search for emeralds this morning.”
“And who’s watching you and this group of monkeys as you fish and fetch?” Sani asked, with her hands on her hips.
“Atok and Zorg,” Zed told her.
She did a mock faint onto her sleeping platform. It was hard to resist her lighthearted enthusiasm, hard not to jump onto her chariot—a ride through life powered by sharp wit and caustic humor, and guided by astounding sensory acuity.
Zed chuckled. “Yeah, they’re worse than the boys they watch, always punching, shoving, and threatening. Atok is a vicious bully. He encourages aggressive behavior, laughs at our suffering, and humiliates us whenever he can.”
“Sadly, Atok is an extreme example of the form taught to males since time beyond beginning, Zed. There are the bullies and the bullied,” Buela told him.