New review for The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts

[Following is an official review of “The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts” by Hank Ellis.]

Two years ago, I read and reviewed a copy of Hank Ellis’ new book, The Promise. When I saw that he had a sequel, The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts, I was excited to have the opportunity to review it. I remembered the first book being intriguing, and I am happy that the story continued.

In the previous story, Peter and David Wilson, two young brothers, discover a mysterious and magical cave when exploring near their home. They meet interesting people and make amazing discoveries. At the end of the book, the reader finds out more about the meaning of these findings. In the second book, more adventures and new characters await Peter and David, as they begin to discover exciting supernatural abilities that they possess. Throughout the book, they are taken on even more adventures than they had in the first story.

As I said when I reviewed the first book, this story has very strong Narnia vibes. It definitely has its own uniqueness, but it has many of the same aspects of the supernatural mixed with reality and life lessons, along with symbolism. I would not call this a religious story, but like Narnia, it has some Christian symbolism, such as referring to a Maker, and lessons learned that have deep value.

I really like the characters of Peter and David. I feel like their characters have strongly developed throughout the two books. There is definitely a coming-of-age theme woven throughout the story, and I think the author has done a great job of developing their characters and personalities. Peter and David seem very genuine and relatable. I love the balance that is created between their normal life at home and the supernatural experiences that they encounter. Just as in the first book, I loved that they portrayed kids who were adventurous and not just engrossed in electronics, as many are in today’s world.

Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the different cultures that it involved. Many of the boys’ adventures involved being in various countries. There was a particular emphasis on Brazil in this book. There were several new characters that were connected to South America, and I enjoyed the many references to their culture, as well as other places that were visited throughout the two books.

As I got near the end, I could not stop reading. I was engrossed in the story to the very end. The character development was very heartwarming, and I definitely feel like there is reason for another installment in this series. I don’t know if it is the author’s intention, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the series continue, and I am hopeful that it does.

This is an amazing series that deserves recognition. It is probably geared toward the pre-teen age group, but I believe anyone who is a kid at heart will enjoy these books, especially those who love stories with magical realism and coming-of-age themes. The books definitely need to be read in order. I would not read the second book until reading the first. In my last review, I made a comment that there were a few parts that dragged in the first story, but the plot definitely picks up in the second book. The first story has a lot of background information and discoveries being made, though, so it is very important in order to understand the development of the characters.

I highly recommend this book and series. I am rating it 4 out of 4 stars. I can’t find anything negative to say about it. If you love adventure and supernatural, check out this series!

The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts
View: on BookshelvesLatest Review:The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts by Hank Ellis Top

The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts

My new book The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts is at Amazon and Stillwater Publishing. It’s the second in a series (it helps to read my first book The Promise: A Perilous Journey before this one).


Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were an adolescent boy or girl and you were given the incredible gift of invisibility? And suppose you could heal animals and people but you couldn’t tell anyone? In this second book of The Promise series, two ordinary brothers, Peter and David Wilson, from a rural town in New England, and eventually a beautiful young girl from Brazil, are given these gifts and more. But special gifts often require extraordinary sacrifice. No one—friends, school mates, even Mom and Dad—can know of these remarkable abilities. For if they do, their gifts will vanish in an instant.
Is the cost of this secrecy too high? Can they juggle everyday life with their newfound talents? Travel with these special youngsters and learn from their mysterious mentors in a magical adventure as they use their amazing powers to help save the beleaguered earth.

“The tale has a timely environmental message made more exciting by the theme of developing special powers”. —Kirkus Reviews

Hank Ellis is no stranger to environmental issues. Gaining his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in natural science and wildlife management and working for an environmental agency for thirty-two years has made him aware of the many problems faced by all people living on this planet. His desire to help young people awaken to the mystery of creation and find their own special gifts is his motivation for writing this book.

Joseph Zarek has been drawing and painting for over fifty years. Since graduating from Rhode Island School of Design in 1996 he has been passionate to use his art to make a difference in people’s lives. He says his motivation to become part of this story was the story itself—a desire to open young minds to the precious beauty all around us and the urgent need to protect it.

Book one — The Promise: A Perilous Journey
A branch of a crashing tree pierces the ground and leaves a hole to a void below. This is all it takes for brothers Peter and David Wilson to explore the unknown—a cavern hidden from the world for millennia. The boys’ dreams, persistence, and determination will solve many riddles, but their carelessness may be their ending. The adventure to meet the man called Eli is perilous indeed, but the gifts they are offered may be the opportunity of a lifetime.




My new book “The Promise: a perilous journey” is available at Archway Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Googlebooks, ebay, Goodreads, and other sites. It is also available directly from me via the payment button below.

Archway publishing

Please let me know what you think of the book. Good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. No matter how you feel, thanks for your support.

Listen to my radio interview


Purchase The Promise: a perilous journey

Paperback 337 pages: Regular price $21.99: Cost $19.00 (includes free shipping). Contact me with your name and address for shipping. Thanks.




Please check out the following reviews of my recent book!

What a difference a reviewer makes.

But you decide – let me know which is more accurate.

Official Review: The Promise: a perilous journey
Unread post by Mindi » Yesterday, 04:56
[Following is an official review of “The Promise: a perilous journey” by Hank Ellis.]
Book Cover 4 out of 4 stars Share This Review
Share to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to LinkedInShare to Google+Share to Pinterest

It is not every book that can portray the true essence of childhood adventure, but Hank Ellis’ The Promise: A Perilous Journey does just that. It is a story that will keep both younger and older readers intrigued even though it appears to be written for a preteen level.

This story is about two brothers, Peter and Dave, who love nature and adventure. They explore a lot in the woods close to their home and discover a hidden cave which leads them to more extraordinary discoveries and adventures. Readers are kept on the edge of their seats while they wonder about the meaning of the boys’ findings.

I would define this book as a type of magical realism. I enjoyed the mix of magical elements and real-life situations that were intertwined throughout the story. There appeared to be a slight coming-of-age theme and various moral life lessons to be learned. It has a weird mix of similarities to Bridge to Terabithia, Chronicles of Narnia and an Amazon video series called Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. Those stories are all among my favorites which is why I was drawn into this story so much.

One of the aspects of this book that I loved was that it portrayed childhood adventure as it used to be, before cell phones and other technology. There was no indication that the story was set in the past, so it sets a good example of modern-day kids having true childhood experiences without the use of devices. The book also seemed to promote respect for parents and kindness to others. There was also some religious symbolism which is one of the reasons I detected some similarities to works by C.S. Lewis.

This book had very good grammar and appeared to be professionally edited. If there is anything negative to say, I can think of a few times that the brothers’ exploring tended to drag out a bit and get a bit wordy. However, it may have been necessary to lead up to the extent of their discoveries. It definitely is not something that I will take off points for. It’s just a note for those who may read and feel like the storyline is dragging at times. It really does all come together in the end.

I feel like the ending leaves enough questions for a sequel. However, it is also just enough balance of questions and answers for it to be the end, if that is what the author intends. If there is a sequel, I will definitely read it.

I am giving this book 4 out of 4 stars. While I noted a few imperfections, I was very intrigued by Ellis’ writing, and the storyline was very interesting and appealing for all ages. It is a must-read for those with a love for the magic of childhood.

The Promise: a perilous journey
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon




Two brothers discover a subterranean complex full of puzzles, riddles—and maybe their destiny—in Ellis’ debut middle-grade novel.

It’s June, and 12-year-old Peter Wilson and his 10-year-old brother, Dave, are looking forward to another summer in a forest that borders their backyard. They can’t resist exploring an unusually deep hole and are awed to find themselves in a huge underground room with candle-lined walls and an oversized table and chairs. That night, Peter dreams of the room: a man is sitting at the table, 7 feet tall and “radiating…gentleness and kindness.” The giant speaks a single sentence before Peter wakes up: “The secret is important, but your promise is everything.” Guided by dreams and their own ingenuity, the boys work together to explore the caverns, learning that different combinations of lit and unlit candles open doors to different rooms. Eventually, the man from their dreams reveals himself as Eli, “part of a long line of guardians of the earth” charged by God to “reestablish forest areas, cure plant diseases, and correct other imbalances.” Eli and his fellow caretakers invite the boys to become part of their brotherhood, praising them for being “loving, trustworthy, responsible, and capable of carrying out special tasks.” But there’s a catch: they can never tell anyone. The book’s themes of friendship, responsibility, and curiosity are worthwhile, and the boys’ old-fashioned, outdoorsy childhood is anachronistic (the boys use a two-way radio to keep in touch with their parents rather than a cellphone) but pleasantly nostalgic. Occasional illustrations by Winburn (The Five Colors of Our Nature Walk, 2016, etc.) are a nice touch. But the novel’s biggest weakness is simply that the boys don’t meet Eli in the flesh until late in the book. Far too much of the preceding narrative is taken up by descriptions of cautious rock climbing and solving the candle combinations—both more interesting to do than read about. Besides the boys’ mother, who has no name, only two female characters appear, in single scenes completely unnecessary to the narrative; the ancient, holy guardians are all men.

An underground adventure that takes too long to get going.