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Some say it fell from the stars, from the warrior's cluster.
Whitson Mariner, The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner, p. 165
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The Green Ember is a series of books authored by S. D. Smith, illustrated by Zach Franzen (with maps by Will Smith), and published by Andrew Mackay of Story Warren, LLC.

The series is a succession of middle-grade noblebright fantasy books set in the land of Natalia, where rabbits with swords battle for their freedom against evil characters such as Lord of Prey Morbin Blackhawk and wolf Redeye Garlackson.

As of 2020, the series is composed of four books in the main series which were released in chronological order, The Green Ember, Ember Falls, Ember Rising, and Ember's End; five anthology books that differ from the main storyline, The Black Star of Kingston, The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner, and Prince Lander and the Dragon War[1] (in progress) being prequels to the main Green Ember series, and two others, The Last Archer and The First Fowler (not including the not-yet-published Potter's War, containing happenings during and shortly after the events of The Green Ember).

To date, eight books in The Green Ember series have been published since 2015.

About

I feel like I’m not sharing Sam Smith’s book. I feel like I’m sharing our family’s story and we’re sharing it with other families.
 
The Green Ember series really began a long while before the publication of the initial book, The Green Ember, when Smith and his children watched rabbits hop around in their front yard in West Virginia. Smith, would, for the amusement of his children, make up stories about how these rabbits had become caught up in these great adventures; and that is how the series was born. Smith decided to turn those stories into books by publishing them via Story Warren, LLC.[3]

Smith says that he wrote The Green Ember to "delight [his] children",[4] who believe it can be summarized in three words: "Rabbits with Swords".[5] He calls the stories he writes "New Stories with an Old Soul", in order to implicate that his "new" stories retain the morality that most of the books known as "classics" do.[4]

Smith recommends the books for middle-grade readers, although he believes the books to be readable by anyone of any age.[6]

Series overview

General

The main series (The Green Ember, Ember Falls, Ember Rising, and Ember's End) follows the adventures of rabbit siblings Heather and Picket Longtreader as they find that their world is at war and join the fight for good against overwhelming odds.

The prequel series Tales of Old Natalia (The Black Star of Kingston, The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner, and Prince Lander and the Dragon War[1]) is set a century before the happenings of the main series, and accounts the tales of characters such as King Whitson Mariner, Lord Fleck Blackstar, and Prince Lander as they battle struggle, betrayal, dragons, and evil from on high in their newly discovered land of Natalia.

The A Green Ember Story anthology books (The Last Archer, Potter's War, and The First Fowler) tell of the lives and backstories of various side characters of the main series such as archer Jo Shanks and Eefaw Potter, and are written from their perspectives.

Books

Main series

  1. The Green Ember (December 15, 2014)
  2. Ember Falls: The Green Ember Book II (September 13, 2016)
  3. Ember Rising: The Green Ember Book III (March 8, 2018)
  4. Ember's End: The Green Ember Book IV (April 14, 2020)

Prequel series

  1. The Black Star of Kingston: Tales of Old Natalia 1 (July 13, 2015)
  2. The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner: Tales of Old Natalia 2 (December 3, 2018)
  3. Prince Lander and the Dragon War: Tales of Old Natalia 3 (TBA)

Anthology books

Recommended reading order

S. D. Smith recommends that the whole series be read in the following order (main series books are in bold):[7]

  1. The Green Ember
  2. The Black Star of Kingston
  3. Ember Falls
  4. The Last Archer
  5. Ember Rising
  6. The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner
  7. The First Fowler
  8. Ember's End

Official synopses

Main article: The Green Ember (book)

The Green Ember:

"Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?"[8]


Main article: Ember Falls: The Green Ember Book II

Ember Falls:

"The stage is set. It's war. Morbin Blackhawk, slaver and tyrant, threatens to destroy the rabbit resistance forever. Heather and Picket are two young rabbits improbably thrust into pivotal roles. The fragile alliance forged around the young heir seems certain to fail. Can Heather and Picket help rescue the cause from a certain, sudden defeat?

My Place Beside You

My Blood For Yours

Till The Green... Ember Falls[8]


Main article: Ember Rising: The Green Ember Book III

Ember Rising:

"A harrowing adventure inside enemy territory. Heather and Picket are plunged into the darkness of Morbin’s shadow, fighting to bear the flame of the cause and light the way for rabbitkind’s upright insurrection.

Hope for a Healing

Work for the Mending

Fight for the Rising"[8]


Main article: Ember's End: The Green Ember Book IV

Ember's End:

""The end is here. Heather and Picket face off for the last time with their tyrannical foes in this final installment of the main Green Ember Series. The Mended Wood flickers dimly in the vision of the rabbits of Natalia, as they battle bravely for their survival and a hopeful future beyond.

My place beside you,

my blood for yours,

till the Green Ember...ends."[9]

Reception and popularity

The Green Ember series was positively received by readers, and has enjoyed particular popularity with Christians and homeschooling families. The publication of each of the three initial main series books was aided through Kickstarter projects, with each book receiving more backing than the last: $21.9K for The Green Ember,[10] $55.5K for Ember Falls,[11] and $81.4K for Ember Rising.[12] Ember's End is the only main series book to date that has not been funded via Kickstarter.

The series has featured prominently in many of Amazon's Bestsellers Lists, including Christian Fantasy,[13] Children's Christian Action & Adventure Fiction,[14] Religious Science Fiction & Fantasy,[15] and Children's American Folk Tales & Myths.[16] The Green Ember has been nominated for multiple awards, including World Magazine's Children's Book of the Year 2015,[17] and the West Virginia Fiction Award.

As of June 2019, the series (including the prequels and anthology books) has an average rating of 4.46/5 on the book review website Goodreads, based on 10,419 total user ratings and reviews, and a 4.87/5 average rating on Amazon based on 2,855 user reviews.

S. D. Smith initially feared that the first 1,500 copies printed wouldn't sell. As of 2020, over half a million copies of the series have sold since 2015 after passing the 500,000 mark sometime in 2019. The Green Ember series has virtually never been out of print since the first book's publication.[18]

Distribution

While the books are available directly from Story Warren, LLC in the U. S., in Canada, they are distributed by Classical Education Books. In Australia, they are available through The Wandering Bookseller.[19]

Future

Regarding the series' future, S. D. Smith said the following:

I imagine the world of Natalia as [a] massive castle, with some big main rooms most of us (who care) have visited. The side-doors and the ancient part of the place have been explored too, in a few brief adventures, but there is much more to be discovered. I know a lot about it, but I’m not sure how much will ever make it into tales. I have several series brewing in my mind, but I’m not sure which might be the next place to uncover and explore. In short, I at least want to write another in the Tales of Old Natalia series and I’d love to write one more Jo Shanks adventure. And there are other adventures, in series and solo form, I’d love to tell. But I have other stories, outside Natalia, that I also want to share.
 
— Smith in a February 26, 2020 interview with James D. Witmer[20]

Trivia

  • The series is named after an emerald gem which was passed down from each king to his successor to signify the successor's future kingship. After the defeat of King Jupiter and Morbin Blackhawk's rise to power, The Green Ember became to The Resistance a symbol of the freedom they fought for, as they rested in the hope that King Jupiter's heir would someday arise to defeat Morbin and bring to being the Mended Wood.
  • The series is written from a third-person perspective in the past tense.
  • The Green Ember was the first book S. D. Smith had ever written.[21]
  • S. D. Smith told his children the stories that became The Green Ember series eight to ten years before the publication of The Green Ember. The stories were inspired by the rabbits in their own yard. Smith also based the main characters, Heather Longtreader and Picket Longtreader, on his oldest children, Anne and Josiah, respectively.[22]
  • The Green Ember series resides in physical form on all seven continents, even Antarctica, which received the series via a donation made by a friend of Story Warren, LLC, to a library which is used by researchers.[19]
  • In late 2016, Carrie Hodousek of West Virginia MetroNews reported how S. D. Smith had related that he had spoken with Hollywood filmmakers about a possible "movie version" of The Green Ember: “[i]t’s a little bit surreal, but it’s also what people do every day. Meeting all these people, I’m hopeful that at some point down the line we’ll have a movie[.]”[23]

Media

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ember's End, page 12
  2. [1]
  3. YouTube | The Green Ember Video
  4. 4.0 4.1 What Do I Mean By “A New Story With An Old Soul?” | SDSmith.net
  5. YouTube | The Green Ember Video
  6. Rabbit Room | Top Eleventy Reasons You Should Back The Green Ember
  7. SDSmith.net | FAQ: Green Ember & S. D. Smith
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 [2]
  9. [3]
  10. The Green Ember by S. D. Smith, illustrated by Zach Franzen - project by Story Warren on Kickstarter.com
  11. Ember Falls by S. D. Smith, Author of The Green Ember - project by Story Warren, on Kickstarter.com
  12. Ember Rising: S. D. Smith's Green Ember Series Forges Ahead - project by Story Warren on Kickstarter.com
  13. Bestsellers in Christian Fantasy | Amazon.com
  14. Best Sellers in Children's Christian Action & Adventure Fiction | Amazon.com
  15. Best Sellers in Religious Science Fiction & Fantasy | Amazon.com
  16. Best Sellers in Children's American Folk Tales & Myths | Amazon.com
  17. Children's Books of the Year | World News Group
  18. The Green Ember is Five Years Old | SDSmith.net Newsletter - January 16, 2020
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Green Ember is Spreading Worldwide! (Canada and Australia Now Stocking The Green Ember...UK Next?) | SDSmith.net
  20. Ember's End: An Interview with S. D. Smith | Story Warren, LLC
  21. Rabbit Room | Isn't The Green Ember Like Watership Down
  22. S.D. Smith Local author works to foster imagination in young readers | Michelle James, The Register Herald in Beckley, WV
  23. WV MetroNews | Best selling author has roots to West Virginia



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