Your summer vacation in Slovenia can include history and culture, memorable food and wine, outdoor adventures and even learning the language. Or, you could just write a book — or three.
Andrew Anzur Clement might have seemed like any other tourist visiting Piran, the jewel on Slovenia’s Adriatic Sea coast. But when he wasn’t enjoying the sun, the food and the culture he was working on a period fantasy action-adventure trilogy, Keepers of the Stone.
As the author explains on his blog, the books recount the adventures of an international band of misfit teenagers in the late 1800s. Joining forces with mystical allies, they must battle the evil Urumi — Dark Warriors with superhuman abilities. They must stop at nothing to safeguard an all-powerful stone. The mission will take them to new lands and change their lives.
Keepers of the Stone is, in part, a sequel to a classic novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz. In Desert and In Wilderness is the only children’s book written by the Nobel Prize-winning author. It became an anthem for young Poles, during a time when their country was partitioned and did not even have a place on the map. The story has also been made into a movie twice. The main characters — a Polish boy named Stas and a younger British girl named Nell — survive a kidnapping in Africa and many other adventures. Keepers of the Stone takes place a few years later. As teenagers, Stas and Nell become caught up in the battle to protect the powerful jewel from the Dark Order.
You don’t have to be familiar with the classic Sienkiewicz novel to enjoy this new trilogy. Fans of strong heroines like Wonder Woman will be captivated by Malka, a girl raised by a Sect of Thieves and trained to kill in service to the Black Goddess she worships. Her story begins in a remote corner of the British Empire, in what is now India and Pakistan. I can’t say more about other new characters without spoiling it for you.
So what does this have to do with Slovenia? (Aside from Piran being an inspirational place for any visitor.) Anzur Clement has embraced his heritage from Poland on his grandmother’s side of the family and from Slovenia on his grandfather’s side. He has become a dual citizen of the USA and Slovenia, through ancestry. There are a few hints that one of his main characters may be of Slovene descent. He plans to explore this heritage further in his next series, Voyages of Fortune, inspired by a visit to the castle of Celje and its role in European history. (Read the prequel here, but you should read all three Keepers of the Stones books first to avoid spoilers.)
This blog is all about the kindness of strangers. And I hope you, dear readers, will be kind enough to check out Keepers of the Stone and give this new Slovene-American author a try. Visit Andrew’s blog and click on the link to download the first book to your e-reader for free!
Disclosure: he’s my son. Andrew holds a PhD in European Studies from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. He is currently living in Ljubljana. His stories also draw inspiration from Shakespeare and classic operas, as he explores real historical events and some fascinating Slavic myths that are less well known in the English-speaking world.
The future of the world in the hands of misfit teenagers and their mystical allies: What could go wrong? As Andrew himself might say, with a delicious smile, “Do you really want to find out?”