‘The Red City’: A Teen Novel With Hidden Values – Hope 103.2

‘The Red City’: A Teen Novel With Hidden Values

Mark Hadley's sci-fi-fantasy novel for teens touches on themes like individualism and belonging, all set in the ghostly, blood-red city of Vennolandua.

By Clare BruceWednesday 23 Dec 2015Hope BreakfastCultureReading Time: 2 minutes

Listen: Mark Hadley chats about his new book ‘The Red City’.

Mark Hadley’s a communicator with a lot of strings to his bow: journalist, producer, movie critic, podcaster—and now, author of sci-fi-fantasy novels.

This week, on December 18, he released his first book, The Red City.

It’s the first in a trilogy called Saga Of The Sundering Sea, aimed at young people from early to late teens. The novel mixes science-fiction with fantasy, and subtlely laced with Christian values.

“It’s a story of a boy who wakes up and finds himself living in a vast city where there is no-one but shadows,” Mark said.

“This is the life he knows, until one day, a body washes up on the beach, and somebody else has joined him in his world.”

According to Mark, if you liked Harry Potter, you’ll like The Red City trilogy. The story touches on issues of belonging, individualism, and community.

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“I want to take an axe to individualism, to be honest,” said Mark about the book’s message.

“I’m a parent, and we don’t want our boys to grow up in a world that values just individualism. Because if a kid grows up thinking that they’re all about themselves and what they can achieve – which is pretty much what society will tell them today – then they are setting themselves up for a lonely world.

“And in this world, The Red City, I wanted my boys to understand that community is something that you develop and grow into and are better for.

“Jesus was calling us into community with each other. But how do you communicate that to a 12-to-16-year old? Well I write fantasy stories where the stuff that we love, shines.”

Mark said that when people ask him if his book is “a Christian book”, his answer is a mixture of “yes and no”.

“It’s saturated with Christianity, but it’s written for people who wouldn’t recognise it.”

Here’s A Sneak Peek

Caspa is alone, In a city that has died. From his twenty-story perch, he watches the buildings emerge from darkness as the sun rises behind him. The buildings of Vennolandua are a deep red, the colour of dried blood. It is a city that lost all vibrancy, longer than long ago…

More Info

You can buy copies of the book online, or read more on Mark’s website.