BOOK INFO PAGE
EDITIONS & VERSIONS
Trailer (Extended transcript from the front page intro box): In dealing with previous eerie cases, Dr‧ Barton was the one who always managed to keep a poker face. But suddenly, everything is different! His precious tobacco pipe lays on the carpet, the self-propelled armchair is overturned, Grandma Estela pales with fear. What could have possibly happened on 5 Misty Road, Apt‧ #43? Yet just last night the relaxed Dr‧ Barton joked about roadworks after their diesel digger had cut some sort of a secret cable. Today, however, his workroom door is locked, and it will take the unbelievable three days to finally reopen. Only one word comes out of his mouth, and Grandma Estela faints as she looks at the thing in his hands. The fifth-grader Bruno immediately comprehends what the attentive reader must have guessed, too: that in the past three years, our heroes have not yet experienced an adventure of this magnitude. A forest full of peculiar mysteries is already waiting...
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The story of Cursed Forest begins with an unforeseen incident: Road workers have damaged some underground cable. They don't know what they did because the wire was disguised in a false water pipe. But Doctor Barton gets immediately activated. It turns out the severed wiring was his secret dataline illegally connected to prohibited broadcasts from Western countries. He had to use inventive trickery to catch the diggers' attention and prevent further excavations. Together with one of his similarly secretive friends, they set to immediate repair. Doctor Barton seems otherwise unconcerned - even joking about the mishap. That's when Grandma Estela calls Bruno Bolek's mum to pick up her son and bring him back tomorrow for the unexpectedly postponed English lesson.
Everything goes somewhat wrongish the next day. Forget summer language schooling - Doctor Barton is locked in his study and does not respond to knocking, pounding or loud callings. Grandma Estela's pallor raises fear and foreboding feelings. The Boleks cannot understand this overnight change in the hosts' attitudes. Grandma Estela grew utmostly upset, not capable of a coherent recount. Her fragmented responses add up to the following fuzzy outline of the yesternight events: The mended subsoil cabling was successfully repaired and transmitted some signal. It was supposedly an outreach of a certain troublesome monster known as Green Death. After being tricked out of the apartment by Grandma's dirty feint, the visitors learned the last bits of the inconsistent tale. They are all supposedly going to die soon in this place. If their lives are dear to them, The Boleks should never come anywhere near here again.
Then followed Grandma's goodbye letter accompanying a package with hers and Doctor Barton's precious things. They had no time to write testaments at the moment. A direct giveaway will also save attorney fees. Also Doctor Barton himself wrote to the Boleks. His short notice asked them to prepare black clothing.
There was no imminent funeral, though. Sorting apart the facts from Grandma's superstitious conjectures reveals his true plans for the nearest future: Indeed, there was a cabled transmission last evening. And yes, it was rather disturbing. However, the Doctor considers all mentions of viridescent Grim Reapers and similar things to be mere folk myths. No one is gonna die any soon in his household. The black outfits will be needed as a nighttime camouflage during their upcoming trip. There is a place called Cursed Forest on ancient maps. That's what the wire-transferred message was about. Not only did Doctor Barton's parents mysteriously disappear there decades ago, but, as he informs the shocked Boleks, their grandfather had probably vanished in the same mountain range. Mr· Bolek confirms that his dad was a mining engineer. He reportedly died in a shaft cave-in. His body was never recovered, and only a closed coffin was displayed during the burial ceremony. It all fitted together...
The decision was made, and they all travelled to a small foothill village in the Cursed Forest's vicinity. They swear to not enter the deadly woodlands. Their only goal is to perform an initial nearby research. Still, one by one, they all end up dragged into the worrisome thickets for one reason or another. Meeting a greenish monstrosity in flesh scares the hell out of them - not knowing this unearthly encounter will soon be the leastest source of their anxieties.
Sound it as it may at the present point, this forestal narrative is not any kind of bestial horror or so. Our protagonists will soon return unharmed to one of the coziest places in the world - Dr· Barton's townhouse flat. Here they solve several closely related cozy mysteries and devise strategies for further revisits of those unfathomable woods.
Everything in Okram stories will sooner or later have a scientific explanation. Often, this will be more surprising than fantasy books, Hollywood thrillers and obscure archaic legends combined. Let's better stop now - before this spoiler becomes a reader's joy ruiner... Hooray to reading the full idyllic adventure!
For older schoolers, grown-ups, and the elderly alike. Those who remember the era of communism - the middle and older generation of today - will surely be amused by the joyful and serious troubles of children and adult heroes, whose great story had begun in this in this tragicomic period. All age categories can find their own enjoyable aspects in this loosely adjoining continuation. Supervision and approval of an adult parent or guardian is needed during the selection and usage of books for / by underage readers.
Language readability was comprehensively assessed, and the average group of readers was set at a level from 12 years upwards. However, there are also much younger child protagonists in the book. On the other hand, there are also intellectually above-average children among the readers. The comprehensibility of the text can therefore be divided into several zones:
1. Gifted younger schoolchildren ● The youngest of the main characters in this story is 11 years old (8 years at the beginning of the book series). Since he is one of the frontal characters, a considerable part of the book contains childhood adventures. These are close to the schoolkids' soulset, but they won't bore the adults either (who will often have to deal mentally and practically with the antics of the fifth-grader Bruno and his friends). It's safe to say that if your child is already enjoying books by Verne, May, Doyle, Rowling, or Dumas, they will probably be entertained by Okram's novels as well. However, second-graders and younger elementary school students will find the book too difficult. Parent-and-child reading works well for younger pupils: The parent reads and explains, the child listens and asks questions.
2. Youth ● Pupils and students of eight-year grammar schools form an average group of beginners for cases from 5 Misty Road.
3. Adults ● The intermediately positioned hero among the main characters is middle-aged: The university-educated Doctor Barton works in a local speech therapy clinic. The clientele there is diverse, but his practice is inherently dominated by pediatric patients. During diagnostic and treatment sessions, the speech therapist learns much gossip about the family lives of Bruno's fellow schoolmates and their peripeteia with some problematic teachers - including the school principal himself. The Doctor has to maintain professional secrecy about these and many other things he hears, but the impact on his decisions and the plot of the story is undeniable - to the point of taking literally comical turns. Dr· Barton is the mastermind behind a group of adults brought together by a reader-engaging chain of fateful coincidences. Along with Bruno's parents (Engr· Bolek and his wife Linda), mathematical associate professor Alivieri, security agent Hubert, and occasionally other helpers, the speech therapist finds himself in more than one dilemmatic situation. The logopaedist turns into a tireless enigmatologist after work. Together, they work collectively to solve weirdish cases from the neighbourhood, which are then worked into individual books. The archivist and writer of the stories is a gifted young lawyer whom the Boleks and Dr· Barton found half-dead in bushes and saved his bare life. At the outset of their assorted searches, no one suspects that many of the mysteries unravelled will later coalesce into an unheard-of background mega-mystery. For a full understanding of some of the criminal, psychological, social and philosophical aspects, the reader's age is assumed to be over 40. However, anyone can read these books without deep intellectual dives, as the main axis is developed in a light adventurous-romantic style with sparks of winsome humour.
4. Seniors ● The oldest of the core group of main protagonists is Grandma Estela. An old "seamstress underschooled", as she describes herself, she is the soul of Dr· Barton's household. Thanks to the occasional antics of this action-prone pensioner, and judging by her old-worldish vocabulary to the point of total obsolescence, she is considered by many to be a mere naive grandam. Connoisseurs of mystery stories set in the mysterious suburb, however, have already had the opportunity to become acquainted not only with her exquisite cuisine but also with her deep compassion, warm empathy, and eager helpfulness. Add to this the not infrequent glimmering of antediluvian moral principles and the seepage of values inculcated in the "Real Reformated Schoolhouse Signorinal in Gr· Rotterville". You can probably already imagine the old woman's humorous collisions with the present-day authorities, the delight of Bruno's parents at her meddling in the educational affairs of a contemporary schoolboy, or Dr· Barton's exultation at the results of her often overenthusiastic impromptu missions. The poor Grandma is already troubled by the first signs of dementia, which she resolutely fights. Despite all the adversities of health and fate, she remains a rich source of life knowledge and historical context. It is not infrequently that it's she who catches a critical detail in the tangle of convoluted evidence. They simply cannot do without Grandma Estela. The most mature readers among Grandma's peers (or near-peers) will surely agree.
The first commercial English Edition is under preparation, with no specified time frame defined. The related preprint* is already available for free full-text reading.
It is possible to place a non-binding pre-order for the 1st edition (now in preparation). Registered readers will be informed about the opening of the retail ordering system by e-mail.
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