When fifteen year old Jeff Golden is troubled by a series of haunting nightmares soon after he moves to St.Augustine, he is confused and frightened by how real the nightmares seem to be, and how deeply they affect him.
After his father’s suicide, Jeff and his mother are forced to move from Orlando to St.Augustine, the oldest and most haunted city in the United States. Believing that he is responsible for his Father’s death, Jeff has been dealing with suppressed anger, self-pity and teenage angst by drinking, hanging out with juvenile delinquents and manipulating his mother and teachers to get his way. But the one person whom he cannot manipulate is his feisty friend Carla, who takes him to the crusty Shaman Lobo to help him deal with his nightmares.
The story starts when Carla takes Jeff to meet Lobo and takes place over the next twenty four hours as Jeff learns the story of his ancestor Walton who died fighting Major Dade’s battle with the Seminole Indians in 1835, discovers that Walton’s spirit has not left the place and is determined to connect to Jeff and is forced to slide beneath the surface of his existence into another dimension in order to save Walton’s spirit from eternal doom, as much as his own life. Guided by wise Lobo and supported by Carla, Jeff evolves from a tensed, scared teenager to a mature young man as he is forced to go through a fantastic journey that is marked by a number of unexpected twists and encounters with alternate realities, which help him realise that ultimately everyone has the power to create their reality.
This is one of those young adult books that transcend genre and can be read at various levels. It will appeal to all readers who are interested in the genres of paranormal fiction, history, spiritual / philosophic fiction, inspiration, coming of age or simply a well-written story. The rich descriptions take the reader on a tour through the city of St.Augustine with its museums, forts, ancient cemeteries and ghost tours.
The characters come alive in the places where they visit, whether it is an ancient cemetery of historical significance, or a battlefield in another dimension.
I expect that most readers would want to do two things on finishing this book, as I did – 1) plan to visit St.Augustine someday, and 2) check out the next book in the St. Augustine triology. Highly recommended.