A novel by Terry Heller



Part 1: Arm's Journey Through the Waste Land

Part 2: In the Land of Marsh River

Part 3: Among the Hills

Part 4: The Festival of Midsummer

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copyright © 1991 - 2001



A Chronicle of IS is a "G-rated" short, fantasy novel appropriate for readers from about age 12 through adult. Set on an Earth-like world in pre-industrial cultures, it follows the story of Arm, a young man who receives a mysterious message that sends him on a complicated quest into the unknown. First, he must cross a desert, carrying a pail of water that he dare not drink. Then, in the land of Marsh River, he faces the even more difficult task of persuading the people of that region to forgo their dreams of prosperity in order to save the habitat and the lives of distant strangers, depending on his word alone that this sacrifice is necessary. Among the hills of Marsh River, his arrival stirs up trouble and hope. The community leaders do not believe his story and are reluctant to give up projects that promise growth and wealth. But Arm finds allies among people who, like the family of Rye Grass, Peachtree and their daughters, value a rich communal life. To them, Arm brings a gift that touches their hearts - the gift of songs that connect them with each other, with their environment, and ultimately with the cosmos.

It may be helpful for readers to understand before beginning that the novel consists of a set of documents with several narrators. The documents are labeled at the beginning of each chapter, so the reader should not have too much difficulty noticing who is talking. Sometimes it is important to know which point of view a text represents.

- The first chapter and several later chapters are narrated by an anonymous historian who recounts parts of this story from a distant past.

- The second chapter is the first of several told by Arm himself, coming from his own account of his journey.

- Most other chapters are from cultural documents of the religions of the Marsh River culture: the Cult of Song, the Cult of the Martyr, the Church of Carlo and others. These include legends, creation stories, moral dialogues.

- There are a few chapters from other texts, such as The Life of Rye Grass.

Reprint permission.

- You may print out the novel for personal use.

- If you are preparing multiple copies for non-commercial group use, I would appreciate the courtesy of being notified.

- You must gain permission to use any part of this text for commercial purposes. Contact theller at coe dot edu.


Many people have had a hand in my work on this novel.  Foremost are Linda and Gabe who inspired me and who have read and commented on it over the years Iíve worked on it.  Also, students from my Introduction to Creative Writing classes since 1991 have read and commented on sections, offering very helpful responses.

Three stories from the novel have been published:

"The Wake-up Bird," Lime Green Bulldozers #13, 1991.
"Rye Grass Dancing," Philae 2:8 (Fall 1991).
"Throat of Flame," Coe Review 25 (1995), 146-150.