In the Snake-Dragon’s Claws – previously published as Thin Time.

In the Shropshire village of Tong a bad tempered dog called Fymm who is many centuries old, makes a mistake and chooses the wrong girl to be Task Bearer.

At Halloween, in the Shropshire village of Tong, a bad tempered dog called Fymm, who is many centuries old, makes a mistake and chooses Alice, the wrong girl to be Task Bearer. Chased by gargoyles, Alice reaches the Green Lady’s cottage, receives the first of her three gifts, and learns that she must enter the Other World at Thin Time. Her task is to bring back the New Year seeds before midnight, and prevent the world from dying. With her small stepbrother Thomas, Ratatosk the squirrel who can’t be trusted, and Fymm by her side, she sets out on her dangerous quest. Using the skipping rhyme password to enter the door into the Tree of Life, she travels into the Other World. With the help of the singing cockerel from Tong’s church tower, and armed only with a stone and a gargoyle’s shield, she must face the three terrible Sisters at the Well of Wyrd and the fury of Nidhogg the Snake-Dragon. But does she possess the one thing that will protect her – a loving heart? For without that, she will never be able to return to her own time, and the treasure, whatever it may be, will never be hers.

Book Reviews

The life changes that we all face as we grow into our mature selves, often bring the pain of loss before the joy of understanding, and Alice’s journey in the story In the Snake-Dragon’s Claws, with her many friends and helpers, and her meeting with the Green Man of All-Knowing, are growth experiences that are both fearful and welcome. As parents know, the stages of a child’s development can be fraught with tensions and testing behaviours, but they are necessary to enable the child to grow into an adult. Human effort and angst, leading to adult maturity, are accompanied by vulnerability and inner reflection: who will help me and why is this happening to me!  Such developmental milestones are described in mythology, fiction, poetry, and endless, ‘if-only I had done so and so’, tales, and in Alice’s quest to find the seeds that will bring life back to the world. The author has captured human yearning in the real life struggles of Alice, as she comes to understand the confusion that has up-ended her world.  The loss of her mother, and her gradual acceptance of her father’s marriage to a new ‘mother’, leads to a healing process that brings about her progress and reflection.  These life changes, though sometimes unpleasant, are part of the family’s shared experience. As Alice and her friends grapple with the Snake-Dragon in the Cave of Mists, she also comes to embrace her new family who help her grow into the young adult she is becoming. Surrounded by a circle of both human and spiritual helpers, Alice reaches out to embrace divine intervention at ‘thin time’, and in doing so is able to take steps towards becoming what she is intended to be.

Patricia (Paddy) Kennington - TSSFPh.D., LPC, NCC, Certified EMDR Therapist.

Ludlow author Carole Anne Car truly understands children. Her fourth book, In the Snake-Dragon’s Claws, previously published as Thin Time, makes it quite clear as she explores relationships between step-families, and emotions such as honesty, truth, courage and love. She certainly knows how to tell a great tale. Thin Time, which is set in the famous Shropshire village church of Tong near Shifnal, with its life sized effigies of knights in armour, is no exception. In her latest publication, she weaves a fantastic adventure incorporating enchantment, fantasy, local history and Norse mythology.Alice may seem like an unlikely heroine, for she is rebellious and does not want to accept the task the four hundred year old dog Fymm has given her, but she is a child that youngsters can truly identify with. Passing through the Tree of Life with her small step-brother Thomas, Fymm the grumpy dog, Ratatosk the squirrel that can’t be trusted, and Bridd the cockerel from the church tower, she must face Niddhogg the snake-dragon armed only with a stone and a gargoyle’s shield. Inspired by her years as a primary school teacher, Carole is a master storyteller and her fans, old and young, will be looking forward to the sequel when once again Alice must set off on her quest. And both children and parents will enjoy visiting Tong church and searching for the four hundred year old dog Fymm!

Sophie Bignall

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