Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tens List with Barry Wolverton

Photo Content from Barry Wolverton

I have been writing for children for 20 years, helping create books, documentary television, and online content for Discovery Networks, National Geographic, the Library of Congress, Scholastic, and Time-Life Books, among others. Inspired by authors such as Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain, as well as folk tales and mythology from around the world, I love to combine wordplay and humor with dramatic plots to create rich narrative worlds for readers.

My debut novel, NEVERSINK, was named the Children’s Book of Choice by Literacy Mid-South for their Read Across America program in 2014. The first book in THE VANISHING ISLAND trilogy is available now.


Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: Chronicles of the Black Tulip (Book 2)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062221930
ISBN-13: 978-0062221933


"In his signature style, Wolverton cleverly overlays intricate plotting with ancient Chinese legends and history (including the Dragon Boat Festival and the Terracotta Warriors) and creates a thrilling, fast-paced story that flies by. Fans will wait with bated breath for the third book in the trilogy." -Kirkus

"More mystical artifacts, wild things, and mysteries more puzzling than ever. This second installment picks up right where The Vanishing Island left off, and fills in enough blanks to remind readers of Bren's last perilous adventure. Pick this up to keep readers on the hook for the upcoming third book." Booklist


1. It takes place in an alternate Seafaring Age, c. 1600

2. The main character, Bren, was inspired partly by Jules Verne, who tried to run away from home at age 12 by stowing away on a ship.

3. Several of the characters and their personalities are based on characters from Dutch folklore, which, as folklore goes, is fairly weird (in a good way).

4. My research for this book turned up two really interesting historical figures: Lady Hester Stanhope and Jeanne Baré. Stanhope was a British socialite-turned-adventurer who is credited with the first modern archaeological excavation of the Holy Land. Baré is the first woman to be part of a sailing voyage around the world (1766-69), and she did it disguised as a man. I encourage you to read more about both these fascinating women.

5. Bren and Mouse try to find and explore the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of unified China, who died in 210 B.C. In reality, the tomb wasn’t discovered until 1974 (!), by accident, when farmers unearthed an army of clay soldiers beneath an ordinary looking hill.

6. The people who made old maps often just made stuff up. One of the most famous world maps of the 16th century, by Matteo Ricci, describes Russia as a country of dwarves, where both men and women are about a foot high and are constantly devoured by cranes. Which, of course, is why they live in caves and ride goats. Canada, he believed, was populated by mountain people who ate only snakes, ants, and spiders, and people living in the Arctic had mouths on top of their heads to catch food and rainwater.

7. The Forest Above the Clouds is a real place — and it looks terrifying!

8. In THE VANISHING ISLAND (Book 1), Bren, as punishment for trying to run away from home, gets the worst after-school job ever.

9. The book contains a mix of real and made-up Asian mythology. Good luck figuring out which is which (muahahaha!)

10. An important character dies.
From Chapter 14: The Rotterdam Straits

Bren’s friend Sean, the one who rescued him, isn’t used to assertive women like Lady Jean Barrett. Just a brief scene to give a sense of how their relationship gets off to a bit of a rocky start.

“And you’re in luck, having a proper British captain on board,” said Sean.

“You mean me, of course,” said Barrett.


“You did know I’m British, didn’t you? Or did the accent slip past you?’

Sean had to keep from laughing. “You’re a lady!”

Barrett marched over to where Sean was standing. He stood his ground, and she punched him in the face.

“Come on, you big red dope,” she said as Sean rubbed his chin and tried to blink the water out of his eyes. “Hit me back, if you’re man enough.”

Sean made a fist over and over again with his right hand, but he couldn’t bring himself to hit her. Instead he gave her a good shove, sending her tumbling backwards into the chair and desk. She didn’t hit the floor, though.

“Stop it!” screamed Mouse, jumping between them and pushing Sean against the wall. He held up his hands to let her know he was done.

“I just meant, you hired me to take you to China,” said Sean. “I assumed you meant me to captain the ship.”

“Then you should’ve said what you meant,” said Barrett.

An engrossing fantasy, a high-seas adventure, an alternate history epic—this is the richly imagined and gorgeously realized second book in acclaimed author Barry Wolverton’s Chronicles of the Black Tulip, perfect for fans of The Glass Sentence and the Books of Beginning series.

A magical white jade stone and a map inscribed in bone that may be the key to an even greater mystery—this is the treasure Bren and Mouse have found buried on the Vanishing Island.

Mouse is determined to follow the map to a place called the Dragon’s Gate, convinced it will explain who she really is and the powers she possesses. Bren has had enough adventure for one lifetime and would like nothing more than to return to his father in Map. But nothing goes according to plan when the survivors of the Albatross are rescued by Lady Jean Barrett, a charismatic archaeologist with a sense of destiny.

Barrett is on a quest for the Eight Immortals, ancient artifacts she believes are buried in the tomb of China’s first emperor—the location of which has been hidden for nearly two thousand years. The only way for Bren, Mouse, and Barrett to all get what they want is to work together on a dangerous journey into the heart of China, a kingdom long closed to outsiders, where the greatest secrets about Mouse and Bren are waiting to be unveiled.

We first learned of the friendship between 12-year-old Bren and his young companion, Mouse, in Barry Wolverton’s The Vanishing Island. The follow-up sequel, The Dragon’s Gate, continues to tell the story between friends who wrestle to merge their differing ambitions.

After washing up ashore on an abandoned island with new confidants from a crew on the shipwrecked Albatross, a plan is quickly determined to sail home. However, two of the new companions set their plan in another direction. Instead of sailing towards the East Netherlands, they find themselves heading to China where they must quickly accept an apprehensive partnership. Trusting on each other for survival in unknown territories with uncertain life and death situations at every step of their course, Bren is taught life lessons in trusting others, the meaning of devotion and what it takes for a team to work efficiently.

Wolverton takes his reader on another unforgettable journey through his unmatched and unique writing style. Joining his plot with ancient Chinese legends and history provides a pleasant touch and builds a stimulating fast-paced story that will resonate with its readers.

You can purchase The Dragon’s Gate at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you BARRY WOLVERTON for making this giveaway possible.
7 Winner's will Receive a Copy of The Dragon’s Gate  
(The Chronicles of the Black Tulip #2) by Barry Wolverton.

January 23rd Monday The Avid Book Collector EXCERPT
January 24th Tuesday JeanBookNerd REVIEW & VLOG POST
January 25th Wednesday Books, Dreams Life REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS 
January 25th Wednesday BookHounds YA INTERVIEW 
January 26th Thursday Mythical Books GUEST POST 
January 27th Friday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & FAVORITE BOOKS 
January 28th Saturday The Silver Dagger Scriptorium RANDOM THINGS 
January 29th Sunday Rose's Book Corner MUSIC PLAYLIST 
January 30th Monday Mama Reads Blog REVIEW &RANDOM THINGS 
January 30th Monday Book Lover's Life RANDOM THINGS 
January 31st Tuesday A Dream Within a Dream TENS LIST 
February 1st Wednesday CBY Book Club DREAM CAST & EXCERPT 
February 1st Wednesday Kara the Redhead EXCERPT


  1. Looks like a fun book! Thank you for the contest!

  2. I LOVE this book series, and I love this list!