by Tif Sweeney
In 2005, local author Ridley Pearson published the first in his series Kingdom Keepers, taking his readers behind the gates of Disney after the crowds have cleared the park. Pearson is known for his variety of work from the young adult, Peter and the Starcatchers co-written with Dave Barry, to his latest adult novel, Risk Agent, but his work with this latest series has opened a whole new world to him. Working closely with Disney, he has been able to personally experience the parks behind the scenes without the chaos of the crowds, bringing an action adventure story featuring characters we all know on a new platform.
In the first book, Disney After Dark, we are introduced to five young teens: Finn, Charlene, Maybeck, Willa, and Philby. These ordinary teens from different backgrounds are chosen to be the models for the new Disney park program known as DHI — Disney Host Interactive or Daylight Hologram Imaging. During the day, these holographic images are used as interactive guides to the park. At night, the teens find themselves waking up as their holograms inside the park, fighting Disney villains that are scheming to take over — a group the DHI’s refer to as the Overtakers.
The adventure continues in Disney at Dawn, expanding the fight against the Overtakers into Animal Kingdom. New teens are introduced to the team and new challenges are faced as the Overtakers learn how to capture the DHI’s in their sleep.
In Disney in Shadow, the DHI team face even more complicated issues: a friend goes missing, they fight for the Park and their lives as the Overtakers grow, all while living their daytime lives as everyday teenagers.
Power Play highlights an even greater struggle for the now team of seven Keepers. The depth of the Overtakers truly becomes evident when more villains appear during the daylight, in more parks, and now as an army of school peers. To complicate the fight further, loyalty to the cause creates internal strife for the good guys, leaving them struggling to determine friend from foe.
In Shell Game, the fighting is taken to the new Disney cruise line and intensifies more than ever before. Allies turn into enemies, lives are on the line, and the Overtakers infiltrate the Disney crew. The Kingdom Keepers may be on the last cruise of their life.
Pearson’s series brings action and adventure into a modern, high tech fairy tale that is for more than just Disney fans. It introduces a team of teens so different from each other that unite to serve a single mission that is near and dear to their hearts. It features villains that we have all had some exposure to, but creates a team of ultimate terror when united. It is a fight between good and evil, set in a magical reality that has readers coming back for more again and again. Sadly, there is only one more book for readers to continue the DHI adventures — Dark Passage set to be released in April 2013.
For more information on the research behind the Kingdom Keepers series, check out the exclusive Walrus coverage in Bringing Disney Alive with Ridley Pearson. You can also find out more information on Ridley Pearson’s website, by liking him on Facebook, or by following him on Twitter.