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September 22, 2006

St. Mary-of-the-Woods prof releases second book

TERRE HAUTE — St. Mary-of-the-Woods College professor Chris (C.S.) Marks has delved into the art of fantasy fiction again with the release of the book “Fire-heart,” the second novel in the “Tales of Alterra, the World that Is” series.

Marks, a professor of equine studies, has been a writer of short stories and fantasy fiction for years, making “Fire-heart” her second published novel with an anticipated third on its way.

“The story has just taken off,” Marks said, “It is a long book, but it is a good story about grief, shame and redemption. I tried editing and shortening it to little avail. One of my readers came up with the perfect comparison of “Fire-heart” to a tapestry; pulling one thread out weakens and compromises the story.”

The adventure continues where the first book in the series,“Elfhunter,” left off.

The journey begins as Orogond, a man, travels to the great southern desert lands in search of his brother, Hallagond, who has forsaken the Way of the Light.

The principal female character, an Elf named Gaelen, accompanies him, all the while summoning the recurring villain, Gorgon Elfhunter, to follow her into lands where elves do not venture.

Characters from the first book return in the second to face new challenges.

Because the majority of the story takes place in an unfamiliar desert environment, the characters are forced to adapt to a new culture and way of life just to survive.

“‘Fire-heart’ has a more universal appeal than many fantasy fiction books,” Marks said, “Readers loved ‘Elfhunter’ because the characters are like people they know. They want to feel that they are on the journey with them. In ‘Fire-heart,’ the characters get to explore the ways of other people, and they learn that there are both good and bad people in all cultures and situations. Most of their prejudices are broken down; they learn quickly that the differences between people are superficial. This story has a lot more to do with men and less to do with elves, but our favorite elves are still there, and the Elfhunter is following after them.”

Marks will appear at a book-signing event in Waldenbooks in Terre Haute’s Honey Creek Mall from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Those interested in picking up a copy of “Fire-heart” can find it at Waldenbooks, or online at www.elfhunter.net.

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