BIO Sally Copus’ earlier career as a businesswoman was in the field of Direct Marketing. As a co-founder and partner with her late husband, she helped to establish and manage a very successful national database marketing company in the Dallas, Texas area. The two entrepreneurs built the company together, performing all the duties necessary to move the fledgling business along in an ever expanding market environment while raising a family. When the youngest child was in college, they sold the business, and for the first time in her life Sally had time on her hands. So she read: books, books and more books. She and her husband traveled and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she used her business expertise to help raise money for several worthy charities. But it wasn’t enough to keep her mind busy. She had always been a good storyteller and could draw reasonably well. Her young grandchildren provided her the context to begin writing picture books. But published picture books carry a one thousand word limit for story content which was a challenging constraint. “It was a wonderful discipline,” Copus said. “I learned the importance of every word. But as I drew the pictures for my books, which took forever, my mind kept adding layers of subplots to my story. I never tried to market those first two books, because by then I was totally involved in another genre of writing—middle grade fantasy adventure—where lengthier stories were the standard.” Having found her genre, she independently published BlackHeart’s Legacy, Book One in The Odyssey of Jon Sinclair trilogy, and a middle grade adaptation of one of her earlier picture book stories. When she received the news that BlackHeart’s Legacy had received a starred review and awarded a place among Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012, she was busy caring for her husband, who was terminally ill. Now she is back hard at work promoting the first book, and preparing for the printing of the second book in the series, Keys to Atlantis. The story is still growing and Sally is heavily into the third and final book of the trilogy. UPDATE - The Odyssey of Jon Sinclair: BlackHeart’s Legacy Book 1, print version available at bookstores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on Kindle. BlackHeart's Legacy Book 1, NOW in Audiobook format (released March, 2015), available at Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes. Keys to Atlantis Book 2 - print version (released March, 2015), available all bookstores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle. (For more information, visit her website: www.sallycopus.com.)
“Middle-grade readers (boys especially): Don't dillydally; grab this nearly flawless book.”
– Kirkus Reviews
Time traveler Jon Sinclair returns to the 17th century to find the lost city of Atlantis in the second installment of Copus’ (BlackHeart’s Legacy, 2012) middle-grade adventure series.
It’s been three years since 15-year-old Jon fought with pirates in 1692, and now he’s back in the present. He reads a letter from his friend, Capt. BlackHeart, which hints that the captain is able to take him to Atlantis. Jon, his “Pappy” Alistair, his godfather, Nikos, and an English BlackHeart descendant named Colin all hop aboard the space-time-bending ship Carousel and journey to 1699 Crete. There, they reconnect with the captain, who tells them that he may have the key to the legendary lost city. But that key, a black opal stone, is part of a set—and the group will need to find at least one more opal before they can make the Atlantean journey. BlackHeart, however, then encounters an old pal whom he thought was dead. The man also knows far too much about his expedition, which can only mean that there’s a traitor among the captain’s group. This is a sequel that does everything right. For starters, it features several returning characters, such as former navigator Spider and quartermaster Mr. Token, and recognizable predicaments, such as a harrowing battle at sea. But Copus truly expands the Sinclairs’ world by opening up subplots that the preceding novel merely teased. For example, there’s much more back story this time concerning Jon’s long-deceased parents, particularly his father, Weston, who worked for the government’s Office of External Affairs. Similarly, further details about the Carousel suggest its possible origin: the Kimmerii, men from the future who need the ship to return to their own time, a few centuries hence. Unfortunately, Grammy, aka Kathryn, a featured player in the last book, has a much smaller role, but new character Haley, Colin’s little sis, almost fills that void. She’s a brilliant hacker who’s close to Jon’s age, and her addition adds romantic possibilities to the story. Copus has great fun with timeline-divided culture; BlackHeart’s hilarious fascination with a Post-it Note, for example, is a standout moment. There are a few other tasty morsels as well, including a contemporary car chase; a vicious, human-sized falcon; and an ending that leaves at least two characters’ fates in question.
A sensational, exhilarating adventure that will make new readers want to read the series’ first.
Pub Date: March 5, 2015
Page count: 386pp
Review Posted Online: April 16, 2015
In the first book of debut author Copus’ planned series, a boy and his grandmother travel back in time to hobnob with marauding pirates in search of hidden treasure.
Clearly familiar with what should constitute the building blocks of a kid-friendly adventure story, Copus begins the book with a seemingly foolproof plan gone disastrously awry. Alistair and Kathryn (Grammy) Sinclair—12-year-old Jon’s grandparents and full-time guardians following the mysterious deaths of his parents in a plane crash—are gearing up to send Jon to 1776 Philadelphia to witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence. While retired NASA employee Alistair won’t be joining them in the silver time-travel capsule Carousel this time around, Grammy goes along for the ride to prevent any mishaps. But with a loud whirl and a classic sci-fi jolt, the ship’s malfunctioning navigation device instead sends them crashing to the shores of 1692 Port Royal, Jamaica, kicking their journey into high gear. Soon, Jon is kidnapped by the crew of the Black Opal, led by the notorious Captain BlackHeart. Grammy—disguised as a boy named Gramm—gains passage as a cook on the ship of BlackHeart’s conniving rival, Shark Scar, in hopes of somehow crossing paths with Jon. As the novel picks up speed, so too do the cleverly hidden surprises. BlackHeart isn’t as nasty as he initially seems; it’s easy to root for him and his devoted crew during treasure dives and explosive battles with warring buccaneers, especially since he’s taken the ever-trusting Jon under his wing. Gramm’s grandmotherly resourcefulness in winning over Shark Scar’s mutinous, scurvy-inflicted crew never feels unbelievable, and one character’s just-in-the-knick-of-time appearance adds an element of urgency to an already deliciously thrilling finale. The cliffhanger ending foreshadows an exciting voyage to the lost city of Atlantis.
Middle-grade readers (boys especially): Don’t dillydally; grab this nearly flawless book.
Pub Date: June 23, 2010
Page count: 330pp
Review Posted Online: June 6, 2012
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012
Blackheart's Legacy Trailer
Kirkus Star: BLACKHEART'S LEGACY: BOOK 1 OF THE ODYSSEY OF JON SINCLAIR
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