Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark
Norah Lukens needs to uncover the truth about the fabled lost city of Cobbogoth. After her archaeologist uncle’s murder, Norah is asked to translate his old research journal for evidence and discovers that his murder was a cover-up for something far more sinister.
When she turns to neighbor and only friend James Riley for help, she realizes that not only is their bitter-sweet past haunting her every step, but James is keeping dangerous secrets. Can Norah discover what they are before its too late to share her own.
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Praise for Uncovering Cobbogoth
- "With a fascinating protagonist in Norah Lukens, a fully realized, never before seen fantasy world, and a fast paced, compelling story, Uncovering Cobbogoth establishes Hannah L. Clark as a major new voice in American fiction. The richness of the story and the scope of the world she's created screams for a film adaptation. This is a fantasy novel for everyone, even readers not usually drawn to the genre. Highly, highly recommended!" -Bryce Clark, author of Red Shirt Kids
- "This book takes you on a wonderful ride, bringing myth and legend to life. The characters are full and flawed, with a sweet romance woven through the adventure." - Annette K. Larsen, author of Just Ella
- "Uncovering Cobbogoth is an Icelandic tale that will appeal to many Harry Potter series fans […] For those who’ve missed the Harry Potter world, here’s a pretty good alternative!"- Sharon Haddock, For the Deseret News
- "This isn't a typical YA fantasy/scifi/para story like the multitude of vampire or witch or werewolf or mermaid themes that fill bookshelves in stores currently. When after a couple of chapters it became apparent that this wasn't yet another entry into the aforementioned themes, I was downright giddy. And then to find out there wasn't a standard issue love triangle? I wanted to find the author and buy her dinner." -Radar626, Amazon reviewer
- "A friend of mine recommended this book […] I checked it out and I was so pleased! I love this book. I can't wait to read the next one [...] and I am encouraging my daughter to read it as well. If you like fantasy with a little mix of science this book is perfect. I had such a hard time putting this book down just so I could deal with real life and working on promoting my own book. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book." -Pamela Hall, author
Excerpt 0.1The Legend of the Cobbogothians is really where Uncovering Cobbogoth begins. For as long as Norah can remember, her Uncle Jack has been obsessed with the mythical people. He became an archeologist and world famous Myth-chaser because of the Cobbogothian legends he heard while visiting his Granddad Aegissida’s farm in Iceland.
The Legend of the CobbogothiansLong ago, at the beginning of time, a peculiar race ruled the earth. They found favor in the eyes of the gods and received great gifts of knowledge and power at their hands. These gifts made them elementalists—masters of earth, wind, fire, water, metal, wood and space. The elementalists thenceforth became rulers of the earth and sky.
With this power came corruption, and the elementalists soon forgot their patron gods. Instead, they turned to worshipping themselves and their own creations. This angered the gods, and in their wrath, the vowed to bring an icy end to the prideful race.
Rumors of the looming destruction were heralded throughout the land, and a final invitation was issued to the elementalists to renounce their fallen ways. Yet only a few heard and heeded. Among them was a man named Cobbogoth. Being a wise and humble servant of the gods, he believed the warnings and led all who would listen deep into the bowels of the earth to wait out the approaching storm.
When the day of destruction was come and the wrath of the gods rained down, the race of elementalists was wiped away, and then came the dawning of a violent and frigid ide age.
It is said that Cobbogoth’s posterity still lives beneath our feet, waiting to rise and rule the earth and sky once more.
Icelandic Bard, 1045 AD
*Translated from the original Old Norse by Dr. Jack A. Lukens of Harvard University, April 1975
Excerpts 1: (For tour)For the past several months, Norah has been having strange dreams. She initially believes they are part of the hallucinations that have been plaguing her since Gram’s death. However, as time goes on, Norah begins to wonder if her peculiar visions aren’t something more prophetic.
Standing before me was a woman with tangled, waist-length hair—hair the color of blood. Her eyes shone like amethysts. She reminded me of a painting Uncle Jack gave me when I asked him yet again for a mother—a painting of the prophetess known as the Opalian Eye in the Cobbogothian legends. As her eyes shone down upon me, I remembered her name—Totherma. She watched me carefully. Then, lifting her arm, she pointed to my right. I looked and saw a woman covering her face and crying.
Turning back to Totherma, I watched her enter a doorway, walk down a corridor, and stop in front of another doorway. I went to follow, but something made me look down. My hands were covered in blood, and the floor sparkled with shards of glass. I smelled something pungent and musty, something burning.
Looking up, I saw Totherma pointing into the doorway where she stood. I hurried to meet her, but my path was suddenly blocked by people dressed in white.
Angels? I wondered.
They were huddled around something , and I knew that whatever it was had caused that salty, burning smell.
I struggled to get by them, trying to see what Totherma wanted me to see. I stood as tall as I could, but it wasn’t enough. I looked for Totherma until our eyes met. Understanding, she lifted her arm, and with the motion of her hand, I rose up off the ground. I could see over the group of people into the center of the circle.
What I saw made me scream . . .
Excerpt 2 :After nine months of being away, Norah returns to her home in Belmont, MA. She is welcomed home by James Riley. James was once Norah’s only friend—perhaps even something more—but has become estranged from her since his Gram’s death. Almost the moment she steps off the bus that brings her home, Norah is bombarded with memories of their past. The following excerpt is the first of many.
“You ready?” James asked.
We stood side by side in the driveway of his house. There was a car parked there. It belonged to the hospice nurse who came last summer, Tuesday through Thursday, to help Gram. James wanted to care for his grandmother by himself, but Gram insisted on hiring help to give him a few nights off each week.
James motioned for me to go ahead of him up the winding drive to my own house. I was wearing my hair long and straight that night—something I’d started doing since James mentioned he liked it that way. Subconsciously—or perhaps consciously—I hoped he’d find a chance to run his fingers through it like he had once before.
James stayed behind me for the first leg of the path. I was still in the beginning stages of discovering my feelings for him and consequently felt shy.
From the side, I saw a pensive smile hitch up the corners of his mouth, exposing my favorite dimple.
We were by the hydrangeas, on the way up to my porch when I felt something tug at my head. I turned. James was there, holding up a strand of my hair. He shrugged. “You got snagged on some flowers.”
My face felt hot, and I fumbled for something to say. “Y-you know, you didn’t need to walk me home,” I said. “I’m sure there’re a million things you’d like to do tonight.” We were just reaching the top of the stairs leading to the porch.
“A million things? Like what?”
“I don’t know. Hang out with your friends, go see a Sox game, go play a game . . . ,” I offered.
James just shrugged, fiddling with his baseball cap; we were at my door now. “I could do all of those things, sure, but I’d rather be with you.”
“Y-you would?” I was facing the door, my hands trembling to get the key in the lock. But I could see the reflection of his face above mine in the window. He was still smiling. Why hadn’t I noticed the effect he had on me until recently?
James reached up and placed his hand on my shoulder, turning me to face him. I was so terrified, yet excited at the same time. None of it made sense to me.
“Didn’t you know that, Nor?”
I shook my head. His hand was still on my shoulder, and he took a step closer to me.
“How could I not, when you’re the only person who’s ever made me feel this way?”
I gripped the doorknob. “Um, what—what way’s that?”
James chuckled, completely bewildered. “You’re the only girl I’ve ever liked and not known what to do about it.”
I leaned back against the door. “Don’t know what to do? What do you mean?”
He took another step closer, letting his hand slide down my arm till it gripped my hand. “I know what I want to do, but I’m not sure if I should.”
I swallowed. “Oh?”
“And yet . . .” James leaned forward.
But then the door gave way.
I stumbled back, my only anchor being James, who tightened his grip on my hand. Then I spun around.
Uncle Jack stood in the doorway, a smile that didn’t reach his eyes plastered on his face.
“Nilla. James.” He let his gaze slide from one of us to the other until it lingered on our joined hands.
Mortified, I quickly dropped James’s hand and moved past Uncle Jack into the house. “I’ll see you later, James,” I called just before darting up the stairs.
Hannah L. Clark lives with her husband and their son in the Rocky Mountains. She has always known she would be a storyteller. In 2006 she graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in English and immediately began writing Uncovering Cobbogoth, the first book in a seven book series based on Clark's mythological brain-child, the Icelandic Legend of the Cobbogothians.
Clark loves her family, running, mythology, laughing, soulful bluegrass music, road-trips, studying alternative medicine, retro hairdos, and growing things. Like her heroine Norah, she also kind of believes trees have souls, but must clarify (for her parents' sakes) that she was not raised by hippies. ;-)
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Excerpt 3:James Riley was Norah’s only friend. Their friendship began to blossom when James’ Gram got sick, and Norah started making daily visits to help him care for her. Just when their friendship was on the verge of becoming something more, however, Norah’s Uncle Jack intervened, telling her she could no longer spend time with James unless it was to help with Gram.
Norah was devastated.
Nor? ” James rubbed the sleep from his eyes with the heel of his hand. One look at me, however, and he was wide awake. “What is it? Is it Gram?”
“No. No, not that,” I croaked, guilt rushing through me for causing him more worry.
The panic left his eyes, and he squinted at me.
I shuffled self-consciously. I knew I looked terrible. I’d been up crying half the night after my argument with Uncle Jack about James breaking my heart. Finally, I snuck out my window, climbed down my cherry tree, and headed to the fire station to see James.
“Hey, Riley! Cut the lights, man!”
James glanced back into the dark, communal bedroom where the rest of the night shift firefighters slept.
“Come here.” He took my hand, closed the bedroom door and, in stockinged feet, led me down the hall. A moment later, we were sitting side by side on the stairs. James still held my hand, and I hoped he’d never let go. I watched as he reached into his shirt pocket, fishing around until he found a piece of peppermint gum.
He offered me half. I shook my head, so he stuffed the whole thing in his mouth. Then he turned those kind, piercing eyes on me.
Growing warm under his gaze, I cleared my throat. “I-I’m so sorry to wake you up,” I started. “I hoped you’d still be awake. It’s just . . .”
James mindlessly ran his thumb in circles over my knuckles. I lost my train of thought. Blinking, I took a deep breath and plunged on. “My uncle . . . he wants me to stop spending time with you. I mean, I can still help with Gram and everything, he just doesn’t want us hanging out any other time.” I sucked in another unsteady breath. “But I—I can’t let that happen, James. You’re my only friend.”
James was quiet for what seemed like forever. I prayed he wouldn’t just shrug his broad shoulders and shuffle back to bed.
To my relief, he reached up, rumpling his chocolate curls with his free hand. “Did he give you a reason why?” he asked, avoiding my eyes. I shook my head. “I think he’s afraid you’ll end up hurting me—that you’ll break my heart. You know how protective he is.”
He was silent again, this time longer.
Stupid, Norah! Why had I come here? Why did I think James would even care about this—that it would upset him at all?
Finally, James let out his breath. And the next moment, he was pressing the back of my hand to his lips.
I swallowed my shock. I’d never imagined that his lips could be so warm and soft. The contact sent a shock straight to my heart.
“What do you think?” James mumbled a moment later, still contemplating my hand. “Do you think I could hurt you?”
I wanted to burst into tears all over again. “I don’t think, James, I know. But it would be worth it.”
James chuckled this time, resting his forehead against my temple. “Now that’s a compliment.”
I smiled. Having him so close—smelling the fresh peppermint on his breath—was a fierce mixture of agony and ecstasy. They were feelings I’d never imagined I could feel.
“I’d never hurt you, Nor,” James whispered at last, and his breath tickled my neck. “Not really.”