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Fantasy novel: Dance the Shadows
Dance the Shadows (ca. 64K words)

A "young adult" fantasy novel; that is, one with teenage protagonists but not dumbed down because of it. In the story world, there has traditionally been a truce between Light, the prevailing force of stability, and Shadow, a force of change and dynamism and possibly even chaos—but not in the clichéd sense of "evil" (pronounced with a dramatically drawn out initial "eeeeee"). Light predominates where humans live; at some distance from these areas lie regions of Shadow. Powerful and poorly understood forces cause humans who enter Shadow to change as fluidly as shadows seem to transform in a campfire's dancing light. Those who have acquired some understanding of Shadow can harness that energy; for example, a hunter might choose to become a wolf, at the risk of forgetting their humanity if they retain that form too long. Amodai, our protagonist,is one of a small group of Rangers who have been trained to safely enter areas of Shadow, retaining their humanity or taking on the form of any forest animal without losing that humanity. Their responsibility is to watch for and deal with any creatures of Shadow that might threaten their isolated village. The freedom of Shadow is intoxicating, and spending time in Shadow is far more interesting than mundane duties such as retrieving strayed livestock and hunting for food. As the story begins, travelers between villages have grown few, and Shadow seems to be encroaching on the areas of Light. Can Amodai and his fellow Rangers cope with this potential threat to their way of life?

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