Jeff Wheeler is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He majored in History at the San Jose State University. He worked at Intel while attending college but retired early to write full time. Learn all about Jeff, his books, and his new projects on his website here.
The Hunted is the second installment of the Dawning of Muirwoodseries.
In the first book, The Druid, Eilean is a young woman who was raised at Tintern Abbey. She and a few others were chosen to travel to the swampy Bearden Buir and help establish the new Abbey: Muirwood. There, she is tasked with looking after the Druid Mordaunt; a prisoner within the abbey accused of heresy.
Slowly, Eilean learns from Mordaunt how to speak in different tongues, read different languages and how to control her hidden powers. The more she learns the more her eyes open to the injustice of his imprisonment.
In this installment of the Dawning of Muirwoord, Mordaunt tasks Eilean with recovering a sacred tome, translating it and delivering it to another Aldermaston. This tome is prized by the High Seer and the Aldermaston of Muirwood who will stop at nothing to obtain it. When Eilean leaves on her quest, she is hunted by Captain Hoel an inquisitor and loyal to the High Seer. He has been tasked with recovering the tome. The two play a cat and mouse game across the lands and through many dangers. Utilizing the power of the Medium, both characters duel throughout the chase. Will Eilean succeed or will Captain Hoel?
Jeff Wheeler has quickly become one of my favorite fantasy authors. This installment is in keeping with his exceptional story telling talents. As with his other books, the intrigue, mystery, suspense and fear is palatable. The constant “what comes next” kept me reading the first two books which I completed in just a couple of days. I can’t wait for book three, The Betrayed, to be released in February, 2023.
The story is well rounded and thought out, whilst the characters are both dynamic and compelling. The entire plot throughout the series is exceptional, and Jeff does a great job bringing the story to life in technocolor detail.
I really loved this book and the entire series so far. If you like fantasy, then you will love this series. Check out Jeff Wheelers other books; you will not be disappointed!
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I would like to thank Jeff Wheeler, 47North, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Hunted.
Kathleen Hale was born and raised in Wisconsin. She graduated from Harvard in 2010. She is now a TV writer and true crime author based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Vanity Fair and other outlets.
Just how did an Internet meme of a fictitious Boogeyman, and two pre-teens end up in the tale of an attempted murder? More importantly, why did it happen at all?
It was the crime that shocked the world; every bit as infamous as the first US thrill killers Leopold and Loeb. The two adolescent girls conspired together, to befriended, lure, and stab their mutual acquaintance in a secluded woodland. Morgan and Anissa intended to act as proxies in the crime in order to becalm the Slenderman and save their own lives. In a complex, planned and highly detailed scheme, Morgan and Anissa conspired to kill. Fortunately, fate intervened and whilst terribly injured Bella endured the ferocious attack, but only just; having come within a millimeter of death.
Morgan Geyser, Anissa Weier and Payton “Bella” Leutner all lived in the idyllic Midwestern town called Waukesha, Wisconsin. Back in 2014, the three were peers in the sixth grade at the same local school. Whilst Bella was considered to be a happy well adjusted child, Anissa and Morgan were considered to be a little “strange.”
Morgan had a serious unseen mental health condition that she inherited from her father. No one understood just how ill she was and although she was a highly intelligent girl, she had an uncontrollable dark side; complete with visual and auditory hallucinations. She also suffered periods of manic behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as paranoia and dissociation. Her multiple challenges, noted by her peer group, left her isolated, bullied and derided by her cohorts and marginalized by the school faculty. As a consequence, Morgan Geyser would look for solace and lose herself in literature and the internet. It was on the Web that she first discovered the fantasy character – Slenderman.
Slenderman was a fictional character originally created for a Creepypasta meme by Eric Kundsen in 2009. Morgan, the troubled and lonely 12 year old became obsessed, and so began the fascination that led to the events of 31 May 2014. Soon Anissa was also introduced to the Slenderman, and what had begun with an interest quickly became their shared mutual obsession.
On that fateful day in 2014, Morgan and Anissa led Bella to nearby woodlands on the pretext of playing a game of hide-and-seek. Morgan used this excuse to pursue and eventually stab Bella 19 times. Convinced that Bella was dead Anissa and Morgan followed their plan to travel the hundred miles to join the Slenderman at his reputed home in the Nicolet National Forest.
What followed was a criminal trial that stunned the world, and that decided the futures of two twelve-year old children. So serious was the crime they were tried as adults despite their tender years.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Hale has produced a sympathetic account of a horrific crime; the attempted stabbing murder of 12 year old Payton “Bella” Leutner by two of her classmates in order to appease the fictional character Slenderman. The seriousness of Morgan Geyser’s actions are in no way ignored. Hale acknowledges that illness was one feature of this crime obsession, and she also opines that perhaps there may have been an element of “folie a deux.”
The author does a great job detailing the chronological events and of the crime itself as well as the the lives of all those directly involved. She covers the length and the breadth of the children from their upbringing, family history, their social interactions, the crime and the punishment. There is a sense that Hale fells some sympathy as she pays special attention to the mental health of Morgan and the lack of treatment she received prior to the crime and afterwards. Morgan was diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia, also known as adolescent onset schizophrenia while in custody.
Despite the significant life long injuries suffered by Bella, Hale prompts us to consider if it was appropriate for children of twelve years to be tried as adults; especially as the children had documented mental health challenges that were not being adequately treated at the time of the offense.
According to Hale, the medical neglect of Morgan prior to the crime and the neglect and clinical mismanagement since she has been incarcerated increased her continuing dis-functionality.
Slenderman by Kathleen Hale was an exceptional work; detailed, concise, informative and respectful. The focus of this book is different from many other true crime books. The interplay between the various individuals was the primary focus, and it made for a more fulfilling and satisfying read.