From sunken Atlantis in the Mediterranean to Hy Brasil off the coast of Ireland, from King Kong’s Skull Island to Jules Verne’s mysterious Lincoln Island, the notion of an undiscovered land mass lurking just beyond the perception of ordinary humanity has fired the imaginations of storytellers and readers across the centuries.

With The Five Stones Trilogy, Portland writer Genevieve Morgan, author of “Undecided: Navigating Life and Learning After High School” and writing under the pen name G.A. Morgan, brings a modern sensibility to her tale of a hidden, magical island.

With “The Kinfolk,” she concludes the fantasy saga begun two years ago in “The Fog of Forgetting” and continued in “Chantarelle.” Readers age 10 and up who have been eagerly awaiting the final volume won’t be disappointed by its eventful ending.

Set initially in the fictional coastal Maine town of Fells Landing, the trilogy follows the three rambunctious Thompson brothers – 14-year-old Chase, 12-year-old Knox and 6-year-old Teddy – as they embark on an action-packed journey into the unknown. Accompanied by Evelyn and Frankie Boudreaux, two young Haitian refugees, the Thompsons break a cardinal family rule and take their sailboat for an unsupervised outing.

Although the day is bright and clear, the children soon find themselves engulfed by a fog bank and end up stranded on Ayda, an island that by all rights shouldn’t exist but from which they can’t escape.

As if their plight weren’t difficult enough, the children find themselves embroiled in a war among the four regions of Ayda: Melor, Metria, Exor and Varuna. Dankar, the vengeful and cruel leader of the Exorians, intends to conquer the other realms, even if he has burn them down to do so. If he gains possession of five mystical stones, one of which is still missing, Dankar will be able not only to rule over Ayda but also to threaten the world that lies beyond the fog.

By allying themselves with warriors, demigods and “outliers” brought to the island during other time periods, the kids from Fells Harbor are ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of Ayda. By the time “The Kinfolk” begins, all have been tested and strengthened by their experiences, guided by the power of his or her “daylights,” the energy that “flows between and around all living things and binds them together.”

One’s daylights define where one is most at home, and the Thompsons in particular need to learn to heed their message if they are to survive as a family.

In her acknowledgments, Morgan tips her hat to J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Frank Baum, Ursula K. Le Guin, Enid Blyton and Frank Herbert. Her authorial voice is distinctively her own, but Morgan shares with her literary influences a gift for world-building, a knack for choreographing battle and fight scenes, and an understanding of why epic fantasy, done right, is so compelling for middle-schoolers.

The history, religion and geography of Ayda have been meticulously worked out, and if the dialogue sometimes grows thick with exposition, many among the novel’s target audience are likely to be captivated by the sense of immersion the well-detailed setting provides.

The best scenes in “The Kinfolk” focus on the Thompsons and the Boudreauxs as they use their physical, mental and spiritual gifts to defend Ayda against Dankar and his minions. The chapters told from the perspectives of Chase, Knox and Evelyn are especially compelling, as the separated kids fight for their families, each other, and the future of their native and adopted homes.

When the spotlight shifts solely to the adult characters, however, the narrative tends to bog down. The chapters are short, though, so the pace of the plot is never impeded for very long.

“The Kinfolk” wraps up the complicated narrative with grace and skill. Favorite characters achieve their quests or meet their fates, and there are surprises until the very end.

The Five Stones Trilogy is a heartfelt tribute to classic fantasy, given a modern-day, multicultural spin. Adventurous young readers will be glad to find themselves transported to a hidden world where bravery, loyalty and empathy are the strongest weapons against evil.

Berkeley writer Michael Berry is a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, native who has contributed to Salon, the San Francisco Chronicle, New Hampshire Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books and many other publications. He can be contacted at:

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