Series: The Bathala series, #1
Author: Reno Ursal
Publication Date: March 14th 2019
Publisher: Pacific Boulevard
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
“Enlightenment” is the first book in The Bathala Series, inspired by the beautiful folklore of the Philippines. This is the coming of age journey of Filipina-American Dorothy Dizon and transfer student Adrian Rosario, who teeter between friendship and intimacy throughout the novel.
“Enlightenment” introduces Dorothy as an 18 year old high school student in the United States, learning through Adrian about the mysterious folklore that binds them to the obscure history of the Philippines. She realizes that supernatural forces are no defense for a consuming love, a love that has her lean on her best friend for support, the beautiful Stella De Guzman. Adrian is a blood-eating Danag warrior sent to protect Dorothy from unseen enemies of his secret society in the Philippines, a society that changed the course of history prior to Spanish colonization. Adrian’s doubts about Dorothy are put to the test until the final moment when he feels a connection he could never predict. Together, Dorothy and Adrian experience a metamorphosis of historic proportions, a metamorphosis that changes their souls.
About the Bathala Series
The Bathala Series will take readers through Dorothy and Adrian’s transformational journey in understanding their ancestral past and the roles they play in the world’s uncertain future, debunking the bias about vampires and folkloric creatures prevalent in traditional European and American literature. “Atonement: Book Two of the Bathala Series” is currently being edited with the hope of being released sometime in 2021. The prequel to “Enlightenment” will be released after “Atonement.”
Reno Ursal is a Filipino American author who received an English B.A. from The University of Michigan and resides in Northern California. He is the epitome of a familiar U.S. immigrant story when his parents moved to the States from the Philippines (by way of Guyana) in 1974 in search of a better life. He grew up in a small Northern Michigan town as his parents established themselves in their new life. His summer trips to Cebu kept him connected to his Filipino family. The hikes up the mountain from his ancestral home in Catmon had his imagination swirling with ideas, especially with the legends of duwendes and other creatures of Filipino folklore.
Reno was an active reader growing up and started writing during his participation in the Huron Shores Writing Institute in high school. When he took an Asian Pacific American Literature course taught by Dr. Stephen Sumida at University of Michigan, the idea of writing a Filipino American story stuck at the back of his mind. Life moved fast after college. He met a girl named Lynette in California. They married in 2000 and became proud parents of three 2nd generation Filipino American children. He had a full-time job and less time to write, but found time burning the midnight oil. His first novel “The Three Promises” was written when his kids were babies. This novel is currently an unpublished novel, but spawned the hunger to write another novel entitled “The Last Remaining.” Many drafts later, the title changed to “Enlightenment.”
Hiya peeps, I’m so excited and honored to be a part of this tour! I’m a sucker for mythology reads! And what more that this book is written by a FilAm author? Yaayy for representation! Super yaayy for Filipino Mythology!! Thanks to Tita Kate for organizing this tour!
I wanted to share this book to everyone so here’s an excerpt for everyone!
Chapter Two: Adrian
The Philippine Airlines Boeing 737 sat on the runway as I patiently waited for takeoff. I wanted to scream at how this had all gone down. I had been training comfortably in Mandalagan when Kaptan summoned me.
“You are the one,” Kaptan had said in our mother tongue, his authoritative voice knifing through the jungle. A sudden breeze had rustled the palm leaves on the ground and swayed the coconut trees around us. “You’re the one to protect the girl from Sitan.”
The girl in Vegas. Dorothy.
Frustration swelled in my stomach, but refusing Kaptan was not an option. He accepted the Danag principle of protecting mortals, which meant underlings like me had to adhere to the values inherited from Queen Urduja, the woman warrior who preserved Danag culture by following her rajah’s orders to leave Tawalisi before the Mongols attacked. She had sailed the Luson Sea for the greater good. Queen Urduja’s legendary sacrifice reminded me that I had nothing to complain about.
Kaptan’s booming voice echoed in my memory. “You are the strongest. No other Timawa has defeated you in combat exercises, so this is your calling. And you know as much as I do there is only one way to get a break from missions. And you haven’t branded yet.”
“My love life shouldn’t be matter,” I murmured.
Kaptan laughed. “A Danag’s love life always matters! It’s central to one’s existence! Once you brand, you’ll never want to leave Mandalagan again. But until then, you’re off to Vegas. Sitan is probably a step ahead of us. And Dorothy has no idea what’s coming. Indeed, this may be a most important mission.”
Most important was translation for most dangerous. There was a handful of Timawa warriors capable of taking my place, but I was still the lead warrior assigned the most important missions.
Apparently, the safety of Dorothy was important. Dangerous.
Within hours, I stared at the receding landscape of the coconut trees and rice fields of the Philippines as my plane ascended over the Pacific Ocean. I leaned back and tried to relax. Sitan could attack me now and I would only have my fists to defend myself. My Timawa abilities were minimized by the increase in altitude, a phenomenon called Anitun Tabu by my people, in tribute to the wind goddess exerting her power over our earthly abilities.
I prayed to Allah for an uneventful flight and a successful mission, already missing the comforts of home.
I hope you guys enjoyed the excerpt! I’m also inviting y’all to join us for the #EnlightenmentBlogTour twitter chat! Watch out for the fun on March 30th, 9pm Philippine time! Everyone is invited. Learn more about the book, the author and more Filipino mythology tales *winks*
- Have you read this book before or are you planning to? Tell me what you think of it so far!
- Do you love mythology reads?
- Share a mythology tale from your country!
- Will you be joining us for the twitter chat? Just search for #EnlightenmentBlogTour on March 30!