Local author Robert Oakes publishes first novel, ‘Black Crystal’

When a young warrior woman, Chen, inherits her aunt’s dark sword, a sentient creature, she struggles to break free of a dangerous and abusive warlord. Chen is aided by Aerylln, heir to her own magic sword which is also a sentient being. But Chen’s situation becomes even more precarious upon learning that the two swords are “half sisters” locked in a blood feud that is centuries old.

R. A. Oakes has been deeply influenced by “warrior women,” women who possess the wisdom and strength to survive life’s challenges. His novels, of which “Black Crystal” is the first in a series, are a tribute to such women. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and makes his home in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Quote on the book project from Robert Oakes:

“Some years ago, a female friend with a black belt in martial arts, Ronna Rothenberger, asked me if I’d ever considered writing warrior-women books. Ronna was a great fan of Xena Warrior Princess, and she knew how I feel about female leadership. After I began writing ‘Black Crystal,’ I was surprised to find that another good friend of mine, Dawn Rogers, had ended up as the basis for the main female protagonist. In real life, I had repeatedly witnessed Dawn make difficult personal decisions, ones that would require her to take actions involving considerable risk.  And she never chose the path of least resistance. So once I began writing “Black Crystal”, it became obvious to me that such a true-life warrior woman had to become my lead character. Dawn’s character is named Chen, and she is the leader of a band of elite warrior women. Chen, first and foremost, is a dark knight fighting for the right of women to be free.

“Black Crystal” is book one of the Black Scarlet Saga, a nine-novel series. It’s available on Amazon.com. Reviews can be found there and on Goodreads.com.

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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