I first came across this series when I was looking through reviews for the Big Sur Workshop. Jeff Stone was one of the Workshop’s best success stories and his own journey into authordom was what inspired me to go to the writing workshop. Of course, it also inspired me to check out his books.
The Five Ancestors Series is Jeff Stone’s first foray into the wonderful world of writing for children. One story line runs through all seven books in the series, but each book tells the story from a different main character’s point of view. Each book is packed with adventures, misadventures, humor, danger, and martial arts.
The series tells the story of five young orphan monks, each a master of a different Kung Fu Style, and each in search of his own history. As each monk learns about his past, he also learns to deal with his present, and plan his future. Jeff Stone is a master of twisting plots, weaving storylines and bringing out the best and worst in each character.
Here’s a summary of each book, taken from the author’s own website:
Cangzhen Temple is destroyed.
Its secret scrolls stolen.
Its warrior monks dead.
All except for the five youngest.
Before he dies, the grandmaster of Cangzhen Temple instructs his five youngest pupils–each a master of a different fighting style–to search out the secrets of their pasts. Only then, he tells them, will they be able to avenge their fallen brothers and retrieve the temple’s secret scrolls.
Fleeing the temple, the five young warrior monks go their separate ways. Their task is a difficult one, as each boy is an orphan and knows nothing of his origins. Fu, a master of the tiger arts, doesn’t even know where to start! Wounded and hungry, he stumbles through the forest until he hears a tiger roar in pain. Then instinct takes over…
With a fresh, imaginative concept, newcomer Jeff Stone introduces the first volume of an epic adventure tale told through the voice of a boy learning to temper his own strength.
The temple has been burned.
Grandmaster is dead.
The only five survivors have scattered like the wind.
Alone. For the first time. No brothers, no mentors, no teachers–just eleven-year-old Malao, the “monkey,” all by himself in the woods. Malao loves to make jokes and fool around, but now the only home he has ever known is burning and his four surviving temple brothers have disappeared. Suddenly nothing seems as funny as it used to.
Grandmaster told Malao to discover the secrets of his past, but for a monkey nothing is ever simple. He hasn’t traveled far when he stumbles into a battle between a group of bandits and an army of monkeys. One of the bandits looks strangely familiar, and the monkeys are led by a large, white, one-eyed male, who seems to know Malao.
In this second volume of the Five Ancestors series, Jeff Stone continues the exciting story of five youngsters destined for greatness–if they can only survive!
Shaolin Temple, like Cangzhen, has been destroyed.
Where can a young monk go to seek answers?
Secrets. Seh, a master of snake-style kung fu, knows that knowledge equals power. Close-lipped and ever-watchful, he uses his sharp senses to collect information about his brothers, the temple, and even Grandmaster. But now, with Grandmaster gone and the temple in ruins, everything Seh knows has been turned upside down.
Shedding his monk’s robe like an old skin, Seh meets his father and joins a powerful group of bandits. Together they journey deep into the mountains to the bandit’s secret stronghold. There Seh encounters a mysterious and beautiful woman whose name means “cobra” and learns that keeping secrets can sometimes hurt as much as it can help.
The exciting Five Ancestors series continues with this third volume as five young monks search out the secrets of their past–and their destiny.
A price on her head.
And that’s the good news.
Herself. For years, Hok has hidden her true identity from her brothers at Cangzhen. Now, at last, she can be herself. And yet, who is she? Calm and thoughtful, Hok is a crane-style kung fu master carefully attuned to others, but she has never spent much time looking inward. After barely surviving the destruction of two warrior monk strongholds, Hok realizes her old world is gone. She finds her way to the city of Kaifeng and beings a new life.
But her old life intervenes and she must join forces with Fu and Seh to pursue the captured Malao. Their quest takes them to the sinister underground world of fight clubs, where matches are fixed and rules don’t exist. Against incredible odds, the young monks must use their sharp wits to stay together and their formidable kung fu skills to survive.
The fourth book in Jeff Stone’s epic series continues at breakneck speed as four young monks rush headlong into unknown territory and untold danger.
Revenge at last.
Grandmaster is dead!
The bandits displaced!
And the reward is . . .
Beaten and dying in the Emperor’s prison, Ying is amazed to be saved by his younger sister, Hok. While recovering, Ying begins to realize the depth of Tonglong’s deception. Has he been a mere pawn? Ying needs time to figure out a plan to get back into the good graces of the Emperor. When his hideout, the Jinan Fight Club, is destroyed, Ying is once again on the run. He must find allies, and he realizes that those allies may have to be the five young monks he has so strenuously sought to kill. Can you trust your enemy? Can you be on the same side?
In the fifth installment of Jeff Stone’s epic series, old allegiances are questioned and new ones are made. Power and greed, with roots as deep as the military and as high as the palace, threaten to destroy China. The Five Ancestors can prevent it, but only if they work together.
With nowhere to turn,
the survivors of
Cangzhen must rely on
an unexpected ally.
But can a street rat
Kindness. No one has ever shown tiny ShaoShu kindness or trust. Living like his namesake the mouse, he survives using his wits and his ability to hide. Yet he is inexplicably drawn to Hok, the candid Crane girl, and to Ying, the fierce Eagle with the carved face. ShaoShu begs to join them on their travels. But soon he leans that his companions are wanted fugitives.
After ShaoShu sneaks off to gather some information, he hides out on the boat of Tonglong, the enemy. When trapped, the Mouse must pretend to be a harmless stowaway who might be useful to the devious Mantis. But who exactly is using whom? And how will the little Mouse get back to his new friends?
The sixth book in Jeff Stone’s thrilling series races toward the battle that will decide the future of China. And it will become clear that when the stakes are this high, a person’s size doesn’t matter at all!
It is a race to
the Forbidden City.
The winner will rule China.
Long, The young dragon kung fu master, has in a single evening become the Grand Champion of the Shanghai Fight Club and the number one enemy of the state. The Emperor has been kidnapped, and to stay alive must comply with Tonglong’s wishes. And the four other Cangzhen survivors are working with the bandits to cut off Tonglong’s army.
But Ying has disappeared into the mountains. It was his brutal attack on Cangzhen that started this conflict, but he seems to have had a change of heart. Will he assist the Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Crane, and Monkey to set things right, or will he follow the nature of his given name, Saulong–Vengeful Dragon?
Jeff Stone concludes his action-packed series with a rousing tale filled with intrigue and adventure. From the Great Wall to the Forbidden City, the fate of China depends on seven young heroes.
Here’s a video of Jeff Stone talking about himself and his books:
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