When Travis Russell finds an old axe the might have belonged to Jesse James, who is thought to have buried some of his treasure near the Russell homestead in Colorado, the whole Russell family, and their friends, the Davis family, become immersed in a treasure hunt that includes adventure, fun, and no small amount of danger as the kids must weather a snowstorm in a cave whose owner has big paws and long whiskers. The hunt for Jesse James’ treasure leaves some issues resolved,but some still to be investigated in the next volume of the series.
The Secret of Singing Springs is a story inside a story that is inside still another story. The book opens with the discovery of an old axe, leading geologist Morgan Russell and his three children on a treasure hunt and transporting them back into local outlaw history starring Jesse James. But the hunt is only the beginning of what becomes an ever deepening mystery, eventually leading to the discovery of something lost that holds the promise of something waiting to be found in the Front Range of the Colorado Mountains.
The Secret of Singing Springs is written to capture for children and their parents the spirit of the hunt – the hunt for treasure as in God’s Truth, which is the objective of walking the Way of Wisdom that is described in Proverbs.
An intriguing Prologue that gave the history from the 1860’s until 1878 of the area where The Russell’s story took place is where my reading began. The Eagle Rock Toll Stop rested deep in the foothills of the Front Range west of Denver. The year was 1860 and this was the only stop between Denver and Central City along the Bradford toll road. Robert Bradford did well with his toll road until 1878, when a forest fire took out several thousand acres of trees, plus his toll station, stables, and boarding house.
At first, because I’ve not read stories for children for many years, my interest waned a bit. When the story began, I felt myself gritting my teeth and tensing up as I rode along with The Russell family in their Blazer as it cautiously drove over rocks, causing their vehicle to pitch side to side. They were exploring their newly purchased Colorado ranch land, actually climbing steadily up an old overgrown Jeep trail searching for the perfect site to build a home. My memory brought to mind all the trips my own family had taken through those breath taking Colorado mountains , being entertained by God’s awesome artistic perfection in the scenery as seen from the four lane Interstate – until….I developed a fear of heights in my older age. So – how does that explain our taking airplane trips high above those mountains….well, let’s not go into that!
Finally, the Russell family reached the top that overlooked a gorgeous valley and excitedly all agreed this was their home site. Honestly, I could wonder with Mrs. Lynn Russell how she would grow a garden above 8,000 feet…. (gulp)… frankly, I wondered how one could live in that kind of high wilderness. Lynn Russell was excited as she had genealogical connections with this area through her great-grandfather Robert Bradford who had built a toll road and station somewhere in this area. Mr. Morgan Russell was a geologist and had done a study of the topographic maps of the area. He had been drawn to a valley on the map which was this exact location. So – The Russell family, dad, mom, Travis, Heather and Dawson hiked down the old Jeep trail and stopped at a pool of water fed by several springs. They quietly listened to dripping water echoing through the hollow. The musical tones sang a song to their ears and they named it “Singing Springs.” The Russell family had discovered their special place. And that is how the story, “The Secret of Singing Springs,” began.
My interest had now been captured, but you won’t hear any more giveaways about the story except that it is exceptionally written, extremely imaginative, and highly interesting in numerous ways. I enjoyed the creative artist’s renderings at the beginning of each chapter and appreciated the historic prologue. Monte Swan’s characters came alive in their adventures and discoveries. Mr. Swan’s acumen for countless enlightenment in other areas of his writings includes child development and tips for raising happy and creative families. This is a wonderful book for imaginative children in the pre-teen years, as well as aging great-grandparent like me; and I urge you to purchase a copy and read it with the kids in your life. There is no end to God’s wisdom and teaching, and I marvel at Monte Swan’s intuitive spirit that listens to our Heavenly Father and brings to light His Word through Monte’s pen.
MEET AUTHOR MONTE SWAN
Monte Swan is a scientist and co-founder of MagmaChem, a research and exploration company that has developed a layered earth model in its international search for gold, copper, and oil. He is also an adjunct professor, author, recording artist and archer. Living in the Rocky Mountains, he pursues his passion for the out-of-doors (nature) through mountaineering and geology.
Monte and his wife, Karey, have three grown children and speak at educational conferences.
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