Set in a small city in Texas in the present, this is the story of two resourceful and courageous teenagers who must deal with unbelievable and wondrous forces in their quest to solve a mystery involving an ancient artifact.
It is summer vacation. And thirteen year-old Marya has come to Coronado Springs from San Francisco to visit her grandmother, Arthur’s beloved neighbor, Mrs. Flores. Though Arthur has never met her, they quickly become friends when they visit a mysterious old man who draws them into a search for an ancient relic once owned by King Arthur. It is a search in which they will encounter strange and wondrous creatures, some helpful, others evil and dangerous, as they unravel the clues. It is a search that will test their courage and their trust in each other, and will make them question long-held beliefs.
The book is a mystery, to be sure, with many twists and turns. But it is also the story of how these two teenagers, at first skeptical, finally come to believe that, just as the old man told them, magic and wonder surround them every day.
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Tom Blanton is a life-long Texan residing with his family in Austin. The first in the Arthur and Marya series, this book was written for his grandson. It has received awards and many positive reviews:
Distinguished Favorite 2019 NYC Big Book Awards
Pencraft Award for Literary Excellence, 2020: Second Place in Y/A Fantasy; Sci-Fi
“With its realistic, engaging characters, fast-paced plot, and engrossing mystery, The Message in
the Painted Rock is a satisfying novel for readers of all ages.” –IndieReader
“A fun commingling of Arthurian legend, Spanish conquistadors, and small-town Texas that
encourages young readers to overcome their fears and to see the wonder that’s all around
them.” –Sublime Book Review
“The story, the writing, the characters… There is nothing that I thought should be different.” –My
“I truly enjoyed how the author dipped our toes into a tiny bit of fun history with King Arthur and
dazzled our imaginations with a wee bit of whimsy with subtle magics.” –Once Upon a Book