The Gemstone Chronicles
Quite frankly, the whole thing didn’t make sense. “It doesn’t make sense that a fairy tale can be real,” Nana says to their Elvan guide Elf Finecano. How can elves be real, magic be bestowed on her, her husband and her two grandchildren? How can they be moved through the shimmery veil between parallel worlds?
Findecano explained “Magic leaves a trail for those who know how to follow it,”… I believe our fate is to complete this journey together…So I ask for the four of you to join me in my quest.”
While quests for young people abound in fantasy novels, usually without the protection or knowledge of their parents, rarely are grandparents included. Nana and Beebop, a pet name for “grandpa”, are both brave and cautious and with their grandchildren, Aiden and Maggie, learn to use the magical tools given to them. Including grandparents in the quest is an unusual and interesting technique, which the author makes work.
There are many dangers along the way for our four questers and for the human world, when evil from Celahir, the Elvin kingdom, breaks through boundaries, causing dissension and chaos. They met foes from fairy tales—trolls, elves, (list a few more), elves who betray their community and, like the real world, those who will do anything for power and control.
William Stuart, author and real life gem hunter includes gems in his series as a source of power, which is rarely absorbed by humans. How to control these powers and how to work together is part of the quest, which continues in future books in this series.
Our foursome camp out with the elves and eat from their hunting, fishing and foraging. They cook on the campfire, sleep in caves and hike for miles, more difficult for them than their Elvan friends. They end their quest tougher, wiser and more powerful—and in keeping with most quest fantasies—in secret from Aiden and Maggie’s parents!
The purpose of the quest, as in most children and young adult novels is expressed by Beebop, who says to Aiden. “I can’t protect you forever. I can only hope to teach you how to make good decisions and hope when the time comes, you will remember what I taught you so you will make the right decisions.”
And that is a quest we all follow.
William’s wife, Lana, is the real Nana, and their grandchildren are actually Aiden and Maggie. Fortunately for them, Lana is an accomplished cook who has her own Food Blog. She has offered to share her recipe, Nana’s Chicken Fingers, which we know the ficitonal grandchildren, Beebop and elves would totally enjoy!
Nana’s Chicken Fingers
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
For the Honey-Mustard Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tblsp. mustard (yellow or Dijon)
Pinch garlic powder
1 tblsp. vinegar
2 tblsp. honey
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Spicy Catsup:
1/2 cup catsup
1-2 tblsp. prepared horseradish
- Cut the breasts lengthwise into approximately 1” thick strips.
- Generously season all sides with salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg whites. Add the seasoned chicken strips and stir so that each is well coated with egg white.
- In a small pan, combine all the remaining ingredients except the peanut oil.
- Place 3 or 4 chicken strips at a time into the coating mixture turning until each is coated. Place the coated strips on a plate or wire rack while heating the oil.
- In a deep frying pan, heat 1” of peanut oil over medium high heat.
- Fry the chicken strips in batches if necessary taking care not to crowd the pan. Turn the chicken strips halfway through frying.
- Remove from the oil to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Keep warm in a low oven until all the chicken strips are cooked.
- For the dipping sauces, add the ingredients to two small bowls stirring until thoroughly combined
Find this and other great recipes at: Never Enough Thyme
Find out more about William L. Stuart and his books on his website: The Gemstone Chronicles