The Amulet of Athlone

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Who is Jack McCool? He’s a regular wise-cracking school boy, expert multiple biscuit eater and dodger of homework who likes nothing better than chilling out on his bed with his dog, Fergus. It’s no wonder Jack’s bedroom is his refuge, considering his crazy family and the daily onslaught he faces at school from his arch enemies: Miss Medusa, his lip-curling teacher, and Oscar the sneaky school bully. And oh yeah, Jack’s just discovered he holds the key to breaking an ancient curse. What’s more, the clock’s ticking and all eyes are on him. That’s where the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Travelling back in time thanks to prising open a dusty old trunk he finds in the attic, Jack joins forces with a warrior from the past, takes on a vengeful king and travels the world to solve the secrets of the magical Amulet of Athlone by retrieving its six enchanted gemstones from the clutches of some seriously devious and dangerous characters.
Jack’s quest means he has to learn to live by his wits and find the courage, strength and confidence he never knew he possessed in order to meet the greatest challenge of his life.
With more adventures, puzzles and plot twists to excite any young reader, Jack proves that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, including ones with sticky-up hair, a stock of one-liners and an ADHD brain.
The Chronicles of Jack McCool are inspired by the legends of Irish folk hero, Finn McCool, and woven throughout with threads of the colourful folklore that binds cultures the world over and will especially appeal to anyone who has ever wondered, ‘What’s special about me?’

The Amulet of Athlone is an exciting adventure about a special boy. It is full of twists and turns, extraordinary characters and has a fantastic plot. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put the book down. I can’t wait to read the whole series.”

– Joshua Evans, aged 11


The Tomb of the Emerald Scarab

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Jack McCool, a school boy who goes from ordinary to extraordinary when he discovers he holds the key as Prince of Tara to breaking a wicked curse, is feeling pretty pleased with himself.

He’s outwitted one of the High King Goll’s evil banshees to retrieve the first of the six enchanted gemstones missing from the magical Amulet of Athlone and won the respect of Finn McCool and his men, brave warriors from the past – all before teatime.

Back home, thanks to the mysterious time travelling trunk in the family attic, the reluctant hero settles down to normal life where he can plan his return to Eireann and plot where to continue his quest to find the next precious gemstone.

But his plans go seriously awry when a school excursion to the museum led by his arch enemy (of the modern world, at least) Miss Medusa, sees a priceless artifact go missing from an age-old Egyptian tomb and it seems that his best mate Rory, is to blame.

Determined to clear his friend’s name and fulfill his destiny as Prince of Tara, Jack begs Finn for help. A lyrical clue leads the unlikely pair to race to the early Egyptian land of Kemet where a pharaoh rules in tumultuous times. The crops have failed yet again and the country is under attack by the warring tribes of the north. What’s more, the pharaoh’s seer seems to wield a lot more power than perhaps he should. Jack and Finn are on the case but first they have to face shipwreck, being kidnapped by slave traders and confronted by a masked warrior with a seriously scary sword, before they can make their escape and continue the race against time to find the second magical gemstone and free the friend they are convinced is innocent.

Join Jack for this second installment of The Chronicles of Jack McCool; A series that entwines centuries’ old folklore and legend from both Celtic and Egyptian tradition to produce a colourful, challenging adventure boasting more plot twists and excitement than any (former) reluctant reader could wish for.

“I really like The Chronicles of Jack McCool because the story starts in Australia and goes back to ancient Ireland. I have lots of cousins in Ireland so next time I visit I’ll be able to tell them all about it. Jack has such an amazing adventure…I wish I could go too!”

– Rory Hermann, aged 11


The Crown of Burning Ice

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Weird things just seem to happen to Jack McCool. Right now being one of them. He doesn’t intend to return to ancient Eireann so soon after his last adventure but an unfortunate incident with his mysterious time travelling trunk and a forgotten chocolate crackle cake, means he ends up back with Finn McCool and his band of warrior clansmen at their forest encampment.

Despite leaving Nan in the lurch at home (let’s just say it involves a none-too-friendly guard dog who isn’t put off by Nan’s knitting needles), Jack’s excited to be back. The clans are gathering in the mountain kingdom of Kazakh and as the Prince of Tara, Jack is invited along with Finn.

Putting aside the um, ‘interesting’ experiences he’s shared with the chieftain at sea, Jack can’t wait to sail to meet his brother clansmen who are coming from far and wide to join in the celebrations.

With a hunch as to the whereabouts of the third enchanted gemstone from the magical Amulet of Athlone, (it’s Jack’s mission to recover all six stones in order to break an evil curse) Jack and Finn set off to join the throngs of clansmen. Before too long they are battling for their lives – just when they least expect it.

Once on dry land they throw themselves into the festivities but events soon start to turn sour. There’s the spectre of the Faceless Foe that haunts the kingdom for one. Imprisoned by the everlasting flames surrounding the Prison of Fire, the Faceless Foe still has supporters determined to free him and wreak havoc.

For another there’s the fiery gypsy with the familiar face whose motives Jack suspects when it comes to Finn – and who makes it clear that she doesn’t want Jack around.

When Jack overhears a chance remark that puts his life in danger, he is forced to continue his quest alone. Facing vicious mountain beasts, ruthless bandits, icy blizzards and a water nymph intent on stealing the very breath from Jack’s lungs, the school boy prince is forced to live by his wits to ensure his survival. In doing so, he finds out more than he could ever have hoped to imagine.

The third in The Jack McCool Chronicles, Jack’s latest exploits weave a rich tapestry combining the colourful legends of Irish folk hero, Finn McCool with age-old tales from the Ural mountains of Russia to create an adventure like no other that is as spectacular as it is thrilling.

“So exciting and really funny too. There are lots of plot twists so I was always on the edge of my seat when I was reading it. Jack McCool is really cool. He has a lot of adventures so I’m glad the author has written more books about him because I can’t wait to read them.”

– Barnaby Merrill, aged 11

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The Lost Well of Wisdom

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Jack McCool has made a mistake. A pretty big one at that. The future of the clan is in peril; Finn, the clan chieftain is furious and as for Jack? Well, Jack could kick himself.

It’s harvest time in Eireann and Jack, a seemingly ordinary school boy who travels back and forth through time as the Prince of Tara, thanks to a mysterious trunk found in the family attic, is tasked with arranging the Pookah’s Share.

He’s supposed to leave out some stalks of wheat for the pookah – a goblin with a nasty sense of humour who will happily ruin crops if he is not given his share. But hunger is a powerful force in Jack’s world and when his rumbling stomach distracts him from the job at hand, all thoughts of the Pookah’s Share disappear leaving one seriously put out pookah.

Determined to make amends, Jack goes against all Finn’s warnings and risks his life to track down the illusive creature.

But in a twist of fate, it is the pookah that is suddenly in desperate need of Jack’s help and when the school boy prince shows courage beyond his years, he is granted one wish in gratitude. Only thing is, Jack speaks before he thinks and is angry with himself for wasting the wish that would see the fourth enchanted gemstone back in the magical Amulet of Athlone – and him one step closer to breaking a wicked curse. Oh, and it would have put him back in Finn’s good books too.

All hope seems lost but a chance remark leads Jack to realise the true meaning behind the pookah’s words and prompts him in the direction of the missing gemstone. This time, he must make his way to ancient China on a search for the Lost Well of Wisdom, not realising that what it holds for him is what he already possesses – he just needs the confidence to recognise it.

This fourth installment of The Jack McCool Chronicles enchantingly entwines the magic of Irish folk hero Finn McCool, with the age-old legends of China on a thrilling adventure that sees Jack and Finn continue their quest. They’ll face danger and intrigue at every turn as they battle to outdo a banshee who tries every trick in the book to thwart Jack. Until, that is, Jack understands that everyone has a secret fear – banshees included.

“This is the type of book I have been looking for as it combines magical, Medieval and everyday life. It was fantastic! I loved Jack McCool’s character so much I am going to dress up as him at my book parade.”

– Joshua Pryor, aged 11


The Chronicles of jack McCool: Book 4 - The Lost Well of Wisdom

Books five and six in The Chronicles of Jack McCool are coming soon! The Curse of the Golden Idol and The Orb of Eternal Fire are due for release in early 2018. Watch this space or follow Ruth Devine Writer on Facebook  to hear the latest news.