Marcus and the Amazons by Geoffrey Philp (Excerpt)

 Marcus by Patrick Pollack

Released in August 2011, Marcus and the Amazons (Mabrak Books) is Geoffrey Philps' first ebook for children. It follows the adventures of Marcus, a courageous ant who must rally his people when the evil Amazons enslave his colony and kidnap Princess Amy, his bride-to-be.

Chapter 1: The Abduction

Perched on a blade of grass, Princess Amy and her friend Jenncomifer looked up at the star-filled sky and whispered their wishes to the moon. A firefly hovered over their heads and blinked away the darkness that surrounded them.

“I wish Marcus were here,” said Amy wistfully, as she looked across the field that smelled of jasmine and gardenias.

“I wish I could fly like that firefly,” said Jennifer, admiring the lazy loops of the firefly in the summer air.

“Not me,” said Amy. She shook her head. “I’m afraid of heights. But I do like its light.”

The firefly landed on a nearby fern and continued blinking. The fern’s tips were wet with moonlight.

“But you’re already a light,” Jennifer teased.

“What do you mean?” asked Amy. She came closer to Jennifer and stretched her arms, slender as blades of bluegrass, over her head.

“For Marcus, silly,” said Jennifer. She patted Amy on her arm. “Has he told you when he’s coming back from the forest?”

“In about three months,” Amy sighed. She looked up at the stars again.

“I still don’t know why he had to go into the forest now.”

“Jeremiah, his teacher—”

Jennifer interrupted Amy. “Jeremiah was his teacher?”

“Yes. Before he died, Jeremiah told Marcus to go into the forest to find ways to help our brothers and sisters.”

“But why now? And especially when there are so many rumors about the Amazons coming our way.”

Jennifer and Princess Amy by Patrick Pollack
“Marcus says if I became the queen of our colony, I would always need someone to tell me the truth. He wants to be that someone. That’s why he had to go into the forest.”

“But there are so many outlaws in the forest,” said Jennifer. “Isn’t he afraid of them?”

“Marcus said we shouldn’t be afraid of the outlaws.”

“Why not?”

“Because they’re just trying to find a different way from everyone else. Marcus’s father taught him never to be afraid of anyone. Formica or Amazon."

“Well, there’s someone who he should be afraid of,” Jennifer laughed. She smacked her arms together.

“Who?” asked Amy, her eyes widening.

“Me,” said Jennifer, and she laughed. “He will have to answer to me if he doesn’t come back soon to help you pick out your wedding dress. Have you started looking?”

“No, I’ve been busy with the preparations for the summer festivals. I completely forgot,” Amy admitted.

“Well, you better hurry. It’s the biggest day of your life,” said Jennifer. “Those spiders are always late when you ask them to make anything and the aphids are always stingy with their honeydew.”

“I didn’t know you were so prejudiced! But, I'll begin tomorrow,” Amy reassured her. “I promise you.”

Just then, an army of Amazons, led by Captain Bull O’Grady, burst through the thorny brush. One of the soldiers knocked Jennifer out of the way and grabbed Amy.

“I’ve got her!” the soldier screamed. He dragged Amy toward the captain, who rubbed his antennae together.

“Help!” cried Amy. She tried to hold on to the blade of grass, but it was no use. The soldier was too strong and the grass was too slippery. Amy fell to the ground.

Captain O’Grady, lean and as cruel as his wasp bodyguard, pulled out his bullhorn.

“You are all prisoners of war,” he bellowed into the bullhorn. The firefly lifted off the edge of the fern and disappeared into the night.

Jennifer ran toward Amy, but some other soldiers cut her off. Their eyes looked as if they were on fire.

“Look out, Jenny!” shouted Amy. A soldier pinned Jennifer, but at the sound of Amy’s voice, she got up quickly and dodged the other soldiers.

The Abduction by Patrick Pollack
“Run, Jenny, run,” screamed Amy. She waved her arms frantically in the air.

“No!” cried Jennifer. “You are my friend. I won’t leave you.”

“Do it for me,” pleaded Amy. The Amazons pulled at Amy’s arms. “Get word to Marcus. Tell him what has happened.”

The soldiers, wielding spears, surrounded Jennifer. They closed in on her like wasps around a wounded enemy.

“Please do it for me,” Amy cried. “Marcus is the only hope for our colony.”

“I will,” said Jennifer. One of the soldiers tried again to grab Jennifer, but she was too quick. She moved in the opposite direction and darted under the dark side of the grass.

As she ran through the field, Jennifer could still hear Amy’s voice ringing in her ears.

“Tell Marcus that I love him!”


About the Author...

Geoffrey Philp is a poet and fiction writer who teaches English and Creative Writing at Miami Dade College. A critically acclaimed author, his work been published in the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and the Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. He has won many awards for his poetry and fiction, including a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, Sauza "Stay Pure" Award, James Michener Fellowships from the University of Miami, and in 2008, he won the coveted "Outstanding Writer" prize from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. Philp is the author of number of books published by Peepal Tree Press including Dub Wise, Benjamin, My Son and Who's Your Daddy?: And Other Stories. His children's books include Grandpa Sydney's Anancy Stories and his recently published children's ebook, Marcus and the Amazons.


About the Illustrator...

Patrick Pollack is a senior at Dr. Michael Krop High School. In the fall of 2011, he will be attending Miami Dade College to major in art. Marcus and the Amazons is the first project that Patrick has worked on as an illustrator.

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About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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  1. Nice idea for the story. I would certainly buy this book. I want to know what happens and that is what a first chapter is supposed to entice.