PERSONAL: Female. Hobbies and other interests: Interior decoration and house restoration.
FANTASY NOVELS; FOR CHILDREN
First Truth, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Hidden Truth, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Forgotten Truth, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Lost Truth, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Decoy Princess, the first book of a second fantasy series.
SIDELIGHTS: Dawn Cook is the author of a fantasy series featuring young Alissa, a heroine with magical powers living in a world rife with danger and magic.
In First Truth Alissa, who does not believe in the stories of magic once told to her by her father, is nevertheless forced by her mother to go on a quest to the distant Hold, where "Keepers" are trained in magical arts by "Masters". Melissa's father, who has been missing for many years, believed she was a Keeper. Along the way to the Hold, Alissa teams up with a minstrel named Strell who has a map that can help lead her to her destination. Melissa's father had been in possession of a magic book called First Truth, which the evil Bailic wants. In fact, Bailic has already murdered all the Keepers in his attempt to find this book. When Alissa and Strell arrive at the Hold, Bailic is lurking, hoping to use them to find the book. In a review for Booklist, Paula Luedtke called the book "a beautifully told, simple story that looks unblinkingly at how prejudice unnecessarily reinforces misconceptions, misunderstandings, and hatred." T.M. Wagner, writing on SF Reviews.net, noted that, "having tossed a good chunk of her plot's credibility to the four winds early on, Cook's story is left to coast on the appeal of its characters." Ginger Armstrong commented in Kliatt that "the author excels at demonstrating the tension between the farmers and plainsmen" and called First Truth "an entertaining read."
In Hidden Truth Alissa has discovered her magical powers, which include shape shifting. She sets out with Strell to steal First Truth from Bailic before he can use it to bring the dead back to life and employ them as an army to conquer the world. In this pursuit, they are aided indirectly by one of the Masters, Useless, who will, for some reason, not directly harm Bailic. Michael M. Jones, writing on the Greenman Review Online, was impressed by "how effective a novel Dawn Cook has created with such a minimal cast." Jones also noted, "Cook's use of mood and atmosphere really shines here."
The third book in the series, Forgotten Truth, finds Alissa transported back to the Hold 400 years earlier. As Alissa and a young teacher at the Hold try to find a way to send her back to her own time, they are also battling time as the shape-shifting Alissa appears to be heading toward a permanent change into a beast-like creature. Paula Luedtke, writing in Booklist, called the book a "solid third novel" and also noted that it "stands very well alone."
Cook ends her four-part fantasy series with Lost Truth. Alissa and Strell travel to a group of islands inhabited by Masters and Keepers who were long thought to be dead. Instead of being welcomed, however, Alissa is viewed as a threat by Kerbidis, who wants to take over Alissa's teachings in the magical arts in order to control her. In the process, Alissa's life is placed in danger. Writing for Baryon Online, Harriet Klausner called Cook "a talented fantasist who is a creative world builder and a genius on creating complex characters," while Booklist contributor Luedtke noted of Lost Truth that, "like its predecessors, this is delightful reading."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2002, Paula Luedtke, review of First Truth, p. 1583; December 1, 2003, Paula Luedtke, review of Forgotten Truth, p. 654; December 15, 2004, Paula Luedtke, review of Lost Truth, p. 715.
Kliatt, November, 2002, Ginger Armstrong, review of First Truth, p. 23.
Allscifi.com, http://www.allscifi.com/ (March, 24, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Lost Truth.
Baryon Online, http://www.baryon-online.com/ (March 24, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Lost Truth.
Dawn Cook Home Page, http://www.dawncook.com (March 24, 2005).
Greenman Review Online, http://www.greenmanreview.com/ (March 24, 2005), Michael M. Jones, reviews of First Truth and Hidden Truth.
SFReviews.net, http://www.sfreviews.net/ (March 24, 2005), T.M. Wagner, review of First Truth.