Anti-Bullying Week with Demons and Thieves by Lynda Berger

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With the start of Anti-Bullying week tomorrow – 17th November 2014 – I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to a new YA Fantasy-Adventure Book by Lynda Berger.

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SYNOPSIS 
TAD, aged 14, thinks he is cursed. It has been three years since the stupid argument during which he wished that his brother, Nick, were dead. He never realised his wish would come true and that minutes later, Nick and his grandfather would be involved in a fatal road accident. Since then, everything has gone wrong: Tad is bullied at school, his parents are divorcing and his dog has mysteriously disappeared. Unable to cope any more, Tad runs away and takes refuge in a deserted cottage where a strange stone transports him to the Gate. Here he learns that his life is being controlled by dark forces called ‘The Shadows.’ To banish them, he must enter a deadly challenge in the world beyond the Gate and win seven unusual keys. But if he fails to find the first  three keys within twelve  hours, the  stone  (and  his ticket  home)  will expire leaving him trapped there forever.
The GATEKEEPER directs Tad through a door, beyond which lies the School of No Returns.  Accompanied by two dysfunctional dwarf HELPERS, Tad arrives late for class where the students are learning to ward off demons which inhabit the land. There he befriends LUCY, another lost child, who has failed the challenge and can never return homeAttracted to her and to life at the school, Tad is torn between his quest and the friendships that the school can offer him. However, determined to win the keys, Tad promises to return and continues on with his mission.
As part of the challenge, Tad is sent back into the Past with strict instructions not to change events. Attacked by demons, he is rescued by a mysterious boy, STORM, whose intentions are unclear. Irritated by Storm’s continual interference, Tad defies him and the laws of the land and changes the course of history in a bid to save his parents’ marriage.
Pursued by the BARONS for the crime against time, the boys flee to the home of the mad magician, DEUCE, who reveals Storm’s true identity. He is Tad’s brother, Nick, who hadn’t died in the accident at all but had been transported to the parallel world, just like Tad. Having failed the challenge once, the only way Storm can return home now, is to use Tad’s stone – a ticket for one. And Tad is convinced that his brother will steal it.
Deuce offers them a solution:   together with two thieves, FINGERS and MORTO, they are to enter a dangerous region called The Pit, retrieve a powerful gem that is hidden there, and bring it to him.  The one who succeeds will win a set of keys locked away in the magician’s safe and can return home with the stone.
The Pit, a prison for demons and enemies of Deuce, presents many dangers.   After many adventures, Tad finally finds the gem, only to lose it to Morto in a surprise attack.  With the help of a shape-shifter known as KITSUNI, Tad and Storm hatch a plan to recover it and steal the keys from the magician’s safe. Although they are successful in their raid, the two brothers have a falling-out and are captured by the Barons, who confiscate the gem.
Tad and Storm stand trial for the crime of altering history.  When Storm unexpectedly takes the blame, Tad tries to save his brother from execution but fails.  Devastated, but with time running out, Tad discovers that the keys from the magician’s safe are fake.  In a desperate race against Fingers and Morto he wins enough keys to open the Gate home and, with Kitsuni’s help, takes Lucy and her friends with him. However, Tad’s escape has allowed Deuce and Fingers to flee into another world next door.
Back in his own world, Tad discovers that although he has only won three keys, his life  is already changing.  When  his dog  mysteriously returns  home,  he catches a glimpse of Storm hovering ghost-like in his room.  A flash reveals that another door exists beyond the original portal.  And it is clear that Tad’s journey is far from over.
From Press Release:
British Schools Introduce YA Novel Which Reaches Out to Troubled Students.
Demons and Thieves goes on sale during Anti-Bullying Week.
According to shocking research, victims of bullying are more likely to suffer from depression, have lower levels of education, earn less, and even struggle with relationships later in life.
Demons and Thieves, a new Young-Adult novel by Lynda Berger, contains empowering messages for young people, is being introduced into curriculum reading lists.
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Rising star, Emily Burns, recorded ‘Take a Look At Yourself’, a pop song jointly written by author  Lynda Berger, at Abbey Road Studios in London.
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Victims of bullying are statistically more likely to suffer from depression, have lower levels of education and earn less. There is, sadly, no single or miracle ‘cure’.
But a growing number of British schools are now tackling the problem at its core by incorporating anti-bullying ‘fiction’ into their Key Stage 3 curriculum. Schools across England have introduced Demons and Thieves, a fantasy-adventure Young-Adult novel, into their reading lists. Other schools, including those in Dorset, Bristol and the Midlands, look set to follow suit in coming months.
Aimed at children aged 10 to 14, Demons and Thieves tackles some of the most difficult aspects of childhood, including the effects of bullying. It includes positive messages about  how to deal with common teenage issues, which the lead character  and hero, Tad Bailey, discovers on his adventures.
Demons and Thieves has already won acclaim from schools and education professionals following a limited release last year. The 272-page title, which features accompanying illustrations on the Demons and Thieves website by award-winning artist Steve Crisp, goes on sale to the public today in paperbook and ebook formats – to mark Anti-Bullying Week.
Author Lynda Berger, herself a victim of childhood bullies, has also co-written a pop song, ‘Take a Look at Yourself’, which hits the digital download shelves today. The track has been produced at Abbey Road Studios by Rob Cass, whose clients include Robbie Williams, Estelle and Will Young.
Berger, whose daughter was also plagued  by bullies, said: “Writing the book and releasing the record isn’t about  getting my own back, but rather about giving youngsters the courage to do what I didn’t – to stand up to bullies and never, ever, let them affect your life.”
Demons and Thieves goes on sale today priced £6.99 (paperback) and £3.99 (Kindle & Ebook versions). The accompanying song ‘Take a Look at Yourself’, is being released as a free download. Visit http://www.demonsandthieves.com
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