Readers may enjoy following Kief and his friends as they travel through grand adventures to find Kief's father in David R. Smith's new book "The Dark Eagles: Wells in Desolation."

"THE DARK EAGLES: Wells in Desolation," by David R. Smith, Fundautum Publishing, $16.99, 315 pages (f) (ages 10 and up) In "The Dark Eagles: First Flight" Kief's world is turned upside down when his home is overrun by the Gars, an enemy nation. When Kief's father refuses to pay the Gars' exorbitant taxes, he is taken by the army to be used as a slave. Using a mysterious map and stone which his deceased grandfather left him, Kief and his friends are left to fight the soldiers who have occupied their home to regain freedom for their people. "The Dark Eagles: Wells in Desolation" begins with what should have been the culminating attack in "First Flight" and then abruptly shifts focus from fighting the Gars in Kief's homeland to finding Kief's father. Kief and his friends travel through grand adventures including pirates, gladiator-style imprisonment and the perils of completing a cross-continent quest to find his father. "Wells in Desolation" has good momentum, and author David R. Smith keeps the action going. Younger teenagers or older gradeschoolers will likely be highly entertained by the book which is free from profanity and contains only one brief sexual innuendo. Unexpectedly, "Wells in Desolation" contains no brief reminder of the first book leaving readers to stumble through this new installment. In trying to create mystery surrounding Kief's stone, it's significance isn't clear. It's obvious that other people want the stone, but the stone's powers are left generally unused and readers are left generally unmoved. This failure in the sub-plot may leave older readers somewhat dissatisfied. While the female characters were a main asset in his first book, they dissappear after the first 25 pages of this story and no new female protagonists are introduced. Overall, the main plot is engaging, but Smith's book has definite aspects of being self-published and could use the touch of an editor's pen. Readers willing to overlook these aspects will find a fun, easy-to-read novel.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//