M.L. Stainer

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Margaret's mother was American and her father was English. She grew up in the heart of London during the German Blitzkreig. She and her family came to America when she was ten. Her parents always valued education and thus, she attained numerous degrees from Queens College, New Paltz and Fordham University. She has two daughters and three beautiful granddaughters. Margaret has written her whole life. She has three published books of poetry and 3 children's color books: The Yellow Lion, Blue Frogs and The Green Giraffe. In addition, her Lyon Saga series of five books about the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, circa 1587, has been widely acclaimed. This young adult historical fiction led her to explore the earlier 1585 expedition to the New World, seeking copper for Elizabeth I's navy. War with Spain loomed on the horizon. This newest novel, Joachim's Magic, centers on Joachim Gans, the first documented Jew in the New World, who faced danger and extreme prejudice from his fellow explorers.

Margaret lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley area of New York with her husband, Frank, and a menagerie of beloved dogs and cats. She's a retired high school English teacher with many young adult novels to her credit. She writes under the pseudonym M. L. Stainer, to honor her father.



BY M.L. Stainer • POSTED ON March 23, 2017

This sequel to Stainer’s Joachim’s Magic has Joachim Gans back in Elizabethan England, where he is accused of heresy while his apprentice, Reis Courtney, works his way toward manhood.

The story opens at sea, where Joachim, Reis, Hans Altschmer, Thomas Hariot, and others from the failed Virginia enterprise are returning home. Reis, swept overboard, is rescued from drowning by Hans. Ashore, Reis is left with his Uncle Allyn and family at their hardscrabble farm in Surrey while Thomas and Joachim are summoned by the queen, who wants the master metallurgist to find a more efficient way of refining saltpeter for gunpowder due to the looming war with Spain. Rescued from Surrey, young Reis joins his two mentors in an audience with the queen, an exciting and intimidating experience. He also meets Robert Marchette, who will be an important and generous influence in his life. He accompanies Joachim to Bristol to help in the saltpeter venture under a royal grant. But Jews are not welcome in England, and soon Joachim is charged as a heretic (he has never tried to hide or deny his faith). This very delicate case goes to the queen’s Privy Council and is finally dismissed. But by then Joachim has had enough abuse from these English, and he returns to his native Prague. Sir Walter Raleigh tries to tempt Reis to join his planned expedition to “El Dorado” in South America. It is indeed tempting, but Reis declines and is hired by Marchette where, his foreshadowed talent emerging, he becomes the horse trainer on Marchette’s country estate. Characters and character carry this inspiring YA read. Some are historical. Joachim and Thomas have major roles, while Queen Elizabeth, Raleigh, and others are relatively minor but important to flesh things out. Others—Marchette, Hans, Hugh Salter (who finally stops whining and finds his vocation)—are fictional but no less real and admirable, each in his way. Change is a strong motif. Hans has become a changed man from the previous novel, now a stalwart friend of Joachim’s and a cheerful and indefatigable giant who teaches Reis and Hugh the value of work and the manly art of self-defense. It’s easy to lose patience with the jejune Hugh, but the adults keep the faith in him and are rewarded. Patience is indeed a virtue here. Joachim, Thomas, Hans, and others know instinctively that they have an important job—to make a man, a good man, out of Reis—and each does his job admirably, mostly by being an excellent male role model. And Stainer does a wonderful job of evoking the contrasts in a great city as an awestruck boy first encounters it: “The sounds of London Town assailed his ears, the hawkers, the street vendors, the bustle of many people moving about their business. The smells combined fresh baked bread and a sour smell of offal, sewage and something else quite indefinable.”

An excellent, comprehensive read for any serious student of the Elizabethan Age and anyone concerned with intolerance.

Pub Date: March 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4787-8644-3

Page count: 218pp

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Joachim's Magic Cover

Joachim's Magic

BY M.L. Stainer • POSTED ON July 18, 2015

An ambitious novel about the New World examines a complex historical figure, a master metallurgist.

Stainer (The Lyon’s Crown, 2004, etc.) embraces Tidewater Virginia/North Carolina 400 years ago as her special bailiwick. Here we have an expedition that Sir Walter Raleigh bankrolled in 1585, seeking to unearth copper in Virginia. Thus we find Joachim Gans (aka Dougham Gaunse), the foremost metallurgist of the age, among the Colonial party, along with his 12-year-old apprentice, Reis Courtney. The search for copper ultimately fails, but Reis, a tough kid and in awe of his master, still discovers plenty of adventure. Joachim becomes a kind, willing teacher to Reis. Others in the party, especially the Germans, express no love for Joachim because he is Jewish. The old canards surface: Jews killed Christ; they drink the blood of children; etc. Little Jeremie, another apprentice, believes these stories. Reis doesn’t, but he remains curious about this private man who prays in Hebrew, refuses to eat meat (because it’s not kosher), and wears a silver Magen David. The diverse characters include Erhart Greutter, a bigot who continuously taunts Joachim; the renowned mathematician Thomas Hariot, who tries valiantly to keep the peace; and the Native American chief Pemisapan, who turns against the colonists. At one point, the chief’s forces capture a group of colonists, including Joachim and his apprentice—can the metallurgist save himself and Reis? A fierce battle ultimately ensues, but the real story concerns the gruff affection between Joachim and Reis and the apprentice’s maturation in a world that encourages age-old hatreds. This smoothly written, well-paced novel deftly handles the historical and fictional characters and perennial themes. The empathetic book’s first sentence is “Me master beat me yesterday.” That is said by 9-year-old Jeremie (who later contracts ague). This wonderful dramatic opening, a real heart-tugger, shows in a bleak five words what times were like in the New World, especially for youngsters sold into apprenticeship by their desperate parents. (Reis, in effect an orphan, volunteers for the position.) But Joachim and Reis’ evolving father-son relationship becomes the most touching aspect of the lucid, evocative narrative. When Reis thinks he has made a mistake or overstepped his bounds, he feels deeply ashamed, a mark of adolescent love.

A subtle, sensitive tale about struggling colonists that is a vivid contribution to its literary genre.

Pub Date: July 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-893337-06-0

Page count: 233pp

Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

Awards, Press & Interests


Middletown, New York

Favorite author

Suzanne Collins

Favorite book

The Hunger Games

Day job

Retired from teaching

Passion in life

Writing and my family


JOACHIM: THE HERETIC: Named to <i>Kirkus Reviews'</i> Best Books, 2017

Joachim's Magic: Kirkus Star

Joachim's Magic: Named to <i>Kirkus Reviews'</i> Best Books, 2016


Fur Babies

The story of Liang, a young seventeen-year-old Chinese boy from a poor background, working in one of China's many fur factories and what he can do to try and stop the inhumane treatment.

Angel In The Snow

Meet an unlikely heroine, Prudence Markson, age fifteen, otherwise known as Pogie. Sent to live with her step-uncle during her mother’s illness, she finds herself very much alone and forsaken. Her only friend is a neighboring black boy called Simon. Together with Simon, she rescues a lost little donkey whom she names Angel. In secret, they hide her in an abandoned barn in the woods, pledging to keep her safe. Keeping the little donkey a secret is difficult, but Pogie has been keeping a much deeper, darker secret, the sexual abuse she receives from her Uncle Seldom. When she finds herself pregnant, she faces a life-threatening situation. Without Simon by her side, Pogie must fight to save Angel from a dangerous wolf pack and herself from her drunken uncle.

Beyond Andromeda

Fifteen year old Steffan and his father are Terran farmers on the lonely planet, p-Menek Three, working an agricultural settlement in a far star system. They trade with polowers from the distant planet, Siban. In a disagreement over prices, the polower leader, Drunn, kills Steffan’s father. Holding fast to a blood feud, Drunn and his men return at a later time to seize the members of the settlement and force them into slavery, working the rock mines on Siban. Set in a futuristic time on a savage, untamed world, this adventure in alien cultures is a triumph of the human spirit in the face of disaster.

Bright Wind

No nombre, no name, is what he is called. The yellow dog lives by foraging in garbage cans and faces abuse every single day in the Barrios of Caracas, Venezuela. One of hundreds of feral dogs who must eke out a living, he is tormented and kicked, stoned and hounded by the poor people of the area. They, in turn, are barely existing and there is no sympathy for a stray animal. A story about the kindness of a woman, the desperate longing of a little boy, the strength of one stray dog and the extraordinary healing power of love. in the face of overwhelming odds.

Gill Boy

Meet Marvin Pyler, a typical fourteen-year-old teenage boy, with one unique difference. He can grow gills and breathe underwater. In actuality, Marvin is as un-typical as they come. He cavorts with dolphins, swims with whales and talks to seagulls. What happens when Marvin sees scales growing all over his body? Will he turn into a fish? And will he ever be able to return to land unscathed?

Joachim: The Heretic

The sequel to Joachim's Magic, Reis Courtney's story continues in England, where he is once again apprenticed to Joachim Gans in Bristol. But Joachim is accused of heresy and sent to be tried by the Queen's Privy Council. What will happen to Reis? How will he survive?


In the 25th Century, education is revered and the rulers are called Decision Makers. This is the story of Packet 1403, a scholar of high rank in his class, who who suddenly begins to question his society. Why are there so many rules? Why aren’t they allowed to ask questions? And why can’t they learn about the past? For anyone who has ever asked questions and wondered why things are the way they are, Lotusland is a chilling account of what the future possibly might be like.


Sailor continues the story of Yellow Dog, a refugee of the Barrios slums of Caracas, Venezuela. Rescued by Colin and his grandparents after a hard life of hunger and abuse, Sailor, so named by Colin, recuperates on the voyage home to Beaufort, North Carolina. He learns to trust again and begins to enjoy his life with his new family as he is trained as a therapy dog..

The Climbing Boy

The dangerous life of a chimney sweep “climbing boy” is unknown to Ben Fraser, age 10, until he’s abducted from a London workhouse and apprenticed to Master Phineas Ruggles. As part of a troupe of six boys, he cleans the chimneys of rich people every day in 18th Century London, one of the most polluted and crime-ridden cities of that time period. This is a fascinating fictional look into the history of climbing boys and their harsh existence.

The Lyon's Crown

It is now 1612 and Jess has sent her children from Croatoan Island north toward the Jamestown Colony. There, she hopes they will make new lives for themselves after a smallpox epidemic has ravaged their island home.
Published: Jan. 12, 2004
ISBN: 1-893337-04-9

The Lyon's Cub

Returning to Roanoke after living with the friendly Croatoan Indians, there is no trace of their governor. They are stranded in the New World with no hope of returning to England.
Published: June 19, 1998
ISBN: 0964690462

The Lyon's Pride

The Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island, 1587, who were abandoned and mysteriously disappeared after three years, decide to head inland to search for others in their group.
Published: July 2, 1998
ISBN: 0964690497

The Lyon's Roar

The 1587 Lost Colony, stranded on Roanoke Island when their governor left for England, disappeared without a trace. What happened to them?
Published: June 10, 1997
ISBN: 0-9646904-3-8

The Lyon's Throne

Captured by pirates, some of the colonists are taken to England, there to meet with Queen Elizabeth I.
Published: Nov. 1, 1999
ISBN: 1-893337-02-2

The Man Behind The Wall

In the winter of 1942, London is suffering under Germany’s “Blitzkrieg.” In spite of this, the Silvers family opens their home to many American servicemen, sent by Grandma Kate in New York as a last stop-over before going on to fight the war in Europe. A fascinating story of life in war-torn London during World War II, written from the point of view of a young Jewish girl.

The Second Parallax

Man has always been a hunter, and many times he has been the hunted. Such a journey begins for Terran Markis, a convict just seventeen years old. Accomplice to a murder, he finds proclaiming his innocence does him no good and thus, is sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor on a prison planet in a far-away galaxy. After three years of servitude, Markis’s sentence is “purchased” by a man called Faulkes, who conscripts him as a member of a zoological expedition destined to capture some of the most dangerous and elusive predators in the Universe. A blood and death tale and a story of survival.

The Third Dicomosphere

Mother Earth has been destroyed by nuclear war. Only a few thousand people have escaped to the moon, chosen at random by a world lottery. There are nine colonies of survivors, each separate and independent from the others. Seventeen year old Jace lives in the Bonfire Colony. Led by a cruel and autocratic leader, Septus, the colonists chafe under his restrictive rules. Septus condemns Jace’s friend Aden to death for speaking out and stealing some maps. Jace and his friends devise a plan to rescue Aden and escape. But they meet trouble from two alien races, the Emos and the Trake, at war with each other and it’s up to Jace and his companions to help out in any way they can before the Emos annihilate the remainder of the human race on Lunar.