ORPHANS IN ARCADIA
A children’s fantasy novel
St. Mary’s Orphanage, London, 1935 - William, Dorritt, Danny and Jack are four young orphans that nobody wants. William is a sullen but brilliant boy who finds it hard to make friends. Dorritt is a mixed-race tomboy who is a natural leader. Danny is small, bookish and tries to avoid adventures. Jack is mischievous, charming and is determined to somehow become a pirate.
The four friends first meet at the orphanage when they are ten years old. William is being attacked by bullies because he claims that a statue has been talking to him. Dorritt, Danny and Jack rescue him from the bullies and the friendship between them is established.
Later that night, William mysteriously disappears from the orphanage. Determined to find their new friend, Dorritt, Danny and Jack head to the statue garden but can find no trace of William. They are very, very surprised when one of the statues introduces himself as Hermes, messenger of the gods and tells them that they must travel through the door in the wall to save their friend.
Passing through the door, the three friends find themselves lost in a desert. They head towards a shining city which they can see on the horizon. This is Portrapolis – the place where all the doors meet and which is populated by all the rogues and undesirables from the Many Worlds. After several misadventures they are told that they should seek the advice of the Gods of Olympus.
Arriving at the Palace of Olympus they discover that the mythic Gods are powerless to leave Olympus because of a curse placed on them thousands of years ago. Dorritt, Danny and Jack are summoned to a council of the Gods where they learn that William has been abducted by his own father, Professor Ballion – a power-mad scientist who is determined to release the Titans and use them to gain mastery over the Many Worlds. The three friends must journey to Hades to stop him and save William, but first they must return to London and steal the Map of the Doors which will show them the entrance to Hades. They are slightly dismayed to discover that the Map of the Doors is held in the Tower of London. Cont...
After a daring raid they steal the map, find the door and descend into Hades. As they journey through the underworld they encounter many of the dead heroes of legend.
They arrive at Industrion - an kingdom – a subterranean kingdom which Professor Ballion rules alongside a mysterious queen. They are found by William who has escaped from his father’s clutches. He tells them that the evil queen is none other than Helen of Troy who has spent thousands of years plotting to become the ruler of the Many Worlds. Hermes appears to the reunited friends and tells them that the only way that Professor Ballion can be overthrown is by his own son.
After a dramatic confrontation, William realises he is unable to harm his own father. The Professor repents of his evil but is too late to stop a triumphant Helen from releasing the Titans.
The four friends and the Professor return to Portrapolis. They realise it is up to them to somehow stop the Titans from releasing chaos upon the Many Worlds. They devise a plan of action but before they can put it into effect the city is hit by a huge tidal wave caused by the release of the Titans. The four of them are swept away in different directions. It seems all is lost.
Jack is fished out of the sea by pirates who decide to throw him back overboard. Thinking quickly and playing on their sense of superstition he manages to manipulate them into electing him as their new leader.
William and the Professor journey to Olympus where they find a way of breaking the curse that has kept the Gods prisoners in their palace. Zeus decides to make one last stand against the Titans and his fellow Gods rally to him.
Dorritt reaches the land of the fierce Amazon warriors and convinces them to join her in the battle against the Titans. Overcoming his own terrible fears, Danny once again descends into Hades where he enlists the help of the heroes including Achilles, Hercules and Perseus.
William, Dorritt and Danny are reunited on the battlefield as the Titans escape from the depths of Tartarus led by Helen. The assembled armies clash and it seems the Titans are going to win. At the last minute the day is saved by the arrival of Jack who now leads a fleet of pirate ships. As the battle rages, Professor Ballion is killed by Helen whilst saving William. The Titans are finally vanquished and the four friends return to their own world.