FeaturedMiddle Grade

Heart of the Island

By

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A neatly crafted adventure story apt for the young thrillseekers who are looking for a quick escapade.

Synopsis

Two friends go on the greatest adventure to find a lost diamond, called The Heart of the Island. They must overcome their fears, and face spooky bat-filled caves, as they take on the quest to find the treasure.

Ethan and Matt are staying at a lakeside cabin over a summer weekend when they meet Ms. Davenport, the owner of the cabin. She tells the boys about the legend of Dead-end Island, a place where something of great value was hidden by her family many years ago in the caves found there... caves that are dangerous and possibly deadly.

After a showdown with two local bullies, the boys are helped by Ms. Davenport's grand-daughter, Karen, who later tells them that she found a mysterious key and a clue which talks about a map to the diamond's location.

After the trio finds the map, they set off on this adventure truly believing they might actually find something of great value. Their adventure leads them to Dead-end Island and into the caves, with the two bullies not far behind. Can Ethan and Matt conquer their fears, escape the bullies, and finally find The Heart of the Island?

Matt, Ethan, and Karen embark on a daring trip to Dead-end Island in an attempt to retrieve a family heirloom that was once hidden by Karen's great-grandmother's father. But things don't go as planned and they find themselves trapped in a maze of caves with no one to help but themselves. 'Heart of Island' is a light-hearted adventure story that has its own share of thrills and chills to keep you hooked.


Ethan and Matt are exemplary of how brothers should be. Despite their obvious differences, they share an envious bonding between them. Even under tense situations, they stood united and braved what was being thrown at their path. They were the sort who would always be on the lookout for mystery, and no sooner did they hear about the legend of Dead-end Island, they jumped into action in a bid to get under the thick of it.


The twist towards the end was something that I did not expect and it actually caught me off guard. It was one of those 'Holy Cow' moments that stopped me in my tracks. It did take a while for the sudden turn of events to sink in, but then I realized that it was something ingenious. That twist alone sets the book apart from the other books of this genre. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and it took me just an hour to finish it. Not bad for a debut. Like Matt and Ethan, I'm now on the lookout for the second Project Adventure.

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Pursuing a degree in Library & Information Science. I've read more than 750 books to date and lately, I shifted my focus to Indie books in a bid to expose them to the greater audience.

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Synopsis

Two friends go on the greatest adventure to find a lost diamond, called The Heart of the Island. They must overcome their fears, and face spooky bat-filled caves, as they take on the quest to find the treasure.

Ethan and Matt are staying at a lakeside cabin over a summer weekend when they meet Ms. Davenport, the owner of the cabin. She tells the boys about the legend of Dead-end Island, a place where something of great value was hidden by her family many years ago in the caves found there... caves that are dangerous and possibly deadly.

After a showdown with two local bullies, the boys are helped by Ms. Davenport's grand-daughter, Karen, who later tells them that she found a mysterious key and a clue which talks about a map to the diamond's location.

After the trio finds the map, they set off on this adventure truly believing they might actually find something of great value. Their adventure leads them to Dead-end Island and into the caves, with the two bullies not far behind. Can Ethan and Matt conquer their fears, escape the bullies, and finally find The Heart of the Island?

Prologue

SOME YEARS AGO


Jacob Davenport was staring into the eyes of a man who was about to make his family much less rich. Gambling was his biggest vice, and even though his wife and his daughter Luisa begged him to stop, he had gotten himself into a tight situation, yet again.

“You’re just bluffing,” he muttered.

The face of the man sitting across the table from him opened in a wide grin, showing a missing front tooth.

“Maybe. Or maybe not. Your call, my friend!” the man snickered.

The room they were sitting in wasn’t too small, but it was very crowded. The amount of money at stake in the poker game had brought many spectators. They all shuffled on the wooden floor as close as they could get to see the action. The air was thick with smoke. All the lights in the room were dimmed, except the one hanging directly above the poker table. Five players were sitting around it, three of them out of this pot already.

Jacob was holding great cards in his hand. Great cards. But not the best possible cards. No. There was a chance, although small, that he might lose this one. He didn’t

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need the money. His family was rich — they’d been rich for centuries. But he was a gambler, and sometimes he just couldn’t help himself.

“I think I should call your bluff,” he said in a very calm and confident voice, but feeling very differently inside.

“I don’t think you have enough money on the table to call me,” the man said, narrowing his eyes. “I think you should reconsider it,” he taunted Jacob.

“Maybe I don’t have the money right now, but you know I’m good for it.”

“Now how would I know that? All I see is a guy with a small stack of cash in front of him.”

“Well, maybe we could work something out. I do have other valuables at my house, and more cash in the bank.”

The man sat there for a while, studying Jacob’s face. Finally, he said, “You know what I want. It’s what I’ve always wanted. I want the Heart.”

Jacob knew that he did. Everybody did — the Heart of the Island was one of the biggest diamonds that had ever been found in the rich mines around the town of Lakeview, and the Davenport family had owned it ever since.

“You know that’s not going to happen,” Jacob said, unsure of himself. “I know you’re bluffing, but I can’t — no, I won’t call your bluff with that. Not the Heart.”

“Suit yourself,” the man said, and reached for the pile of cash in the middle of the table.

“Wait!” Jacob cried. He could not believe what he was doing. Was he really about to bet his family’s most valuable possession?

“Just wait, will you? Let me think for a second...”

***

On the way back to the Davenport Island Mansion, Jacob’s mind raced despite the overwhelming roar of his small outboard motor.

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Oh my god, what have I done? he kept thinking. He felt like the dark waters of the lake were closing in on him. As if he was driving the boat deeper and deeper beneath the surface. He had done a terrible thing, and now he had only a week to come up with a ridiculous amount of money, or he’d have to give up the Heart of the Island. That was the deal he made, and there was no way of escaping it — there had been far too many witnesses, including the town’s mayor. No. He had to pay his debt. But he couldn’t give up the diamond — it was too precious, and his family would never forgive him, especially his daughter.

I have to hide that diamond, he thought, I can’t be the one to lose it!

He knew that he could get the money by selling some of the other jewelry from the big safe in the house, but he was still worried about the Heart. The man to whom he’d lost the poker game appeared to be very keen on getting his hands on it. Jacob didn’t trust that man. He seemed like he wanted the Heart more than anything. And Jacob knew about the man and his criminal past, and the dark stories people told about him.

So, maybe it was the reassuring image of the beautiful Davenport Island Mansion looming in the darkness, or just the fresh, cool night air that helped him come up with an idea. Jacob didn’t know, but he thought that it might actually work. He allowed himself a small grin, as he pondered more on the idea.

The boat quickly reached the small dock, and Jacob jumped off confidently. Strength returned to his legs, his back straightened up, and he marched toward the house feeling like a man with a plan.

***

The next day Jacob made sure everybody in Lakeview knew he was going to the city to take care of some urgent business. The news about Jacob losing the game, and possibly the diamond, had spread like wild fire since early in the morning. Even the mayor

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came down to the dock to see and talk to Jacob, while Jacob’s driver was packing the car and getting it ready for the long drive to the city.

“Well, Mr. Davenport, I assume you’re going to the bank in the city to get the cash you owe to the gentleman from last night’s game?” the mayor asked.

“You assume correctly, Mr. Mayor,” Jacob said as clearly as he could, and as loudly as he dared. “But that’s not all — I’m going to put the Heart of the Island diamond in the safe in my bank in the city. I believe it will be safer there than it is on our small island, if you know what I mean.”

Jacob was satisfied with the reaction he got from the mayor, and other people listening in to the conversation. They seemed to believe him. The gossip will spread as quickly as the news about the last night’s game — he was sure of that. He signaled to the driver that he was ready, and he let himself onto the back seat. The drive would be a few hours long, and he still had things to work out in his head.

Later that evening, when he returned from the bank with the cash to pay his debt, there were far fewer people interested in him as his driver dropped him off at the dock. He jumped in his boat, and started the motor. He liked the idea of ‘hiding in plain sight,’ and he felt pretty good about the cover story with the bank. Still, he wasn’t entirely sure where to hide the diamond. It has to be hidden on the island. It just has to the island is it’s home, Jacob thought to himself, staring forward at the fast-approaching island. But where on the island to hide it, exactly? 

About the author

David is a stay-home dad and an author of middle grade adventure books and for anyone who still feels like a kid. In his quest to entertain the young audience, David aims to take his readers on an action-packed, fun-filled and mysterious ride in the world created for his thrill-seeking characters. view profile

Published on May 08, 2020

Published by

30000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Middle Grade

Reviewed by

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