January 30, 2009
‘The Harrowing Escape’ continues Catholic adventure series
By John Gleason *

By John Gleason *

Book written by T.J. Smith


A year ago in August, Colorado author T.J. Smith introduced readers to the Catholic adventure “A World Away: The Quest of Dan Clay.” The book is the first in a trilogy featuring a band of adventurers who enter a portal to a parallel world that is home to the Reclaimers—half-man, half-lizard creatures condemned to their condition for committing unspeakable acts.


In “A World Away” Dan Clay and his friends set off in search of Clay’s brother, who has mysteriously disappeared.  In a world where the unimaginable becomes reality, the band makes their way to a centuries-old castle, a creepy looking place where they hope to find who they came for.


As book two, “The Harrowing Escape,” opens, the group is about to enter the fortress.


“It’s been quite an adventure for them so far,” Smith said. “They’re about to enter the castle and they don’t even know for sure that he’s in there.”



Like its forerunner, Smith said “The Harrowing Escape” is a classic adventure, but one in which the characters are virtuous. Part of the quest is doing the right thing.


 “There are moral lessons in the text,” Smith said.  “I wanted this to be a book that parents didn’t have to worry about their children reading. They won’t have to screen it. It’s a wholesome adventure that will hold a youngster’s attention—it’s good Catholic reading for anyone.”


Even so, Smith said that in book two the lead character, Dan Clay, undergoes some change.


 “In the first book, Dan came across as the perfect son,” he said.  “But he’s not that perfect in the second.  That was intentional because we’re all like that; we’re human and we occasionally fall down.  What’s important is that we get up and move on.”


Action is the watchword of book two as there is much more of it than in the first installment.  Smith said he enjoys a lot of adventure in his own reading and wanted the Dan Clay trilogy to have the same.



“In book one, I emphasized character development and laid out the story line,” he said.  “You have to do that, it’s part of the process.  In the second volume, we just take off.”                     


And what about the third book?



“It’s called ‘The Sinister Realm,’” Smith said.  “I’m in the editing process right now.  Hopefully, we’ll see a publication date sometime next summer.”


Smith started writing the Dan Clay series four years ago. He said when the final installment is published he may just take a break—but sooner or later, he’ll return to the keyboard.  He muses about writing a children’s book. For now, however, Smith is going to let Dan Clay and his companions enter the castle in search of his brother.  If they find him, will they be able to find their way home?  T.J. Smith wouldn’t say. You’ll just have to read “The Harrowing Escape” to find out.



Dan Clay Series


“A World Away” is available in print and audio versions online at tatepublishing.com, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com. 


“The Harrowing Escape” is available in print online at tatepublishing.com, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com.


Printed with permission from the Denver Catholic Register.

John Gleason writes for the Denver Catholic Register.
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