The Ancient One

The Ancient One by T. A. Barron“Lost Crater is like no other place on the planet…”

When Kate travels to Oregon for a quiet week at Aunt Melanie’s cottage, her plans are dashed by the discovery of a grove of giant redwood trees in nearby Lost Crater. Caught up in the struggle to help protect the redwood forest from loggers, Kate is thrown back in time five hundred years and finds herself facing the evil creature Gashra, who is bent on destroying the very same forest.

In this extraordinary quest, a girl discovers that all living things are connected in ways she never expected, and that true friendship can reach across cultures, and even across centuries.

I’m thrilled that Puffin has recently published a new paperback edition of The Ancient One! It’s a special 25th anniversary edition, celebrating what they are calling “a modern environmental classic.”
Puffin Paperback ISBN: 978-1-101-99702-4
Hardback ISBN: 0-399-21899-8
Paperback ISBN: 0-441-01032-6


More about this book:

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Download a discussion guide for The Ancient One.

View The Ancient One play adapted for Weekly Reader by Suzanne I. Barchers.


Related Articles and Interviews:

Read an guest post from Hypable by T. A. Barron – Kate’s Enduring Gift and Thoughts on the Importance of Strong Female Characters | PDF



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“Save a tree, save history! Barron fuses concerns over the natural world with fantasy lit.”
Huffington Post, “The 9 Best Trees in Literature”

“Once in a great while a book comes along that is so powerful and so wise that I want to shout about it… Readers young and old will enjoy the adventure, relish the characters, and ponder the meaning of this book.”
— Madeleine L’Engle

“This fantasy adventure offers well-realized characters, imaginative situations, high-minded theme and purpose, complex emotion, a smattering of really good fight scenes, and a healthy dose of slapstick humor… Barron has woven a boldly original novel that is as thought-provoking as it is fun to read.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Mortality, in all its splendor and sadness, is T.A. Barron’s subject… Fantasy mavens will find plenty here to enthrall them… Interesting and august.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A true environmental classic!”
— Sam Hodder, Executive Director of Save the Redwoods League

“T.A. Barron is a storyteller, a modern myth-maker who allows us to see what is possible in a humane world. The Ancient One transcends genre. It is a journey of truth and compassion that shows us where we have been and where we might go if we choose to listen to the spirits of trees, owls, and all that is native. The Ancient One is an environmental fable for our time.”
— Terry Tempest Williams

The Ancient One is wonderfully lively and suggestive — full of wisdom, written with grace and subtlety. The reader is offered a moral fable rendered evocatively and poetically. All of us urgently need to attend to this beautifully told, thoroughly enjoyable story, and hear its urgent and convincing message.”
— Robert Coles, M.D.

“T.A. Barron has applied his own unique imagination to evoking the power of Native American moods and mythologies. The result is a combination of ancient strength and modern vision; on an epic scale and on a human scale. Absorbing story, vital characters — and also a pioneering work opening paths we didn’t know were there.”
— Lloyd Alexander

“Of all T. A. Barron’s books—and I am a big fan of many of them—this book stands alone for its great power. There are so few American fantasies; we just don’t seem to reach back far enough in time or deep enough in spirit. But this book reaches in a magnificent way. It is not only an amazing book about a tree (as per The Huffington Post), it is a truly American fantasy. And it’s one that is sure to last.”
— Patricia Lee Gauch, Editor

“A relentless tale of excitement that becomes so intense at times that the only solution is to put the book down… Barron’s novel succeeds on every level. It’s an exhilarating adventure.”
Colorado Daily

“In the best tradition of science fiction and fantasy, this is a classic struggle between good and evil. Although that would be enough to keep readers turning the page, Barron’s masterful interweaving of contemporary themes — involving the conflict between loggers and environmentalists — and Native American traditions gives the book real relevance and power.”
Parents Magazine (one of the year’s Best Books)

“High adventure — secret passageways and hidden tunnels, an ‘evil’ pond and speaking stones, the shock of time travel and the challenge of a nearly Herculean task… The Ancient One is surprisingly thoughtful for all its derring-do. T.A. Barron gracefully intertwines contemporary issues with Native American imagery and beliefs, without painting the development/environment conflict in black and white.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Barron has again masterfully combined fantasy with real human issues, issues that require us to go a step deeper to resolve.”
Chinaberry Book Review

“Barron is specializing in fantasy adventures, and can be compared to J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) in the creation of images that inhabit the world we know but require some disturbance of the natural order of things… We enter a world that informs, entertains, lifts spirits and engages the reader… There are battles between good and evil, wisdom, greed, death, magic, a walking stick of power and, above all, love. The mythic home of the Ancient One in Lost Crater is filled with mystery, an island that moves, a circle of stones, fumaroles, falls, a secret tunnel, a swamp, a dark valley, a broken touchstone, a riddle, and a wicked beast named Gashra… When T.A Barron dipped into that great bubbling cauldron of story ideas, he selected originality and boldness.”
Rocky Mountain News

“All the elements of a true fantasy are here: the hero, allies and enemies, strange creatures, battles, deaths, and a struggle between good and evil. Barron’s descriptions of the Northwest wilderness are wonderful, and he conveys the spirit of Native American mythologies… Enjoy this absorbing tale.”
The Book Report/Library Talk

“T.A. Barron’s love and concern for the natural world shines from every page. No reader of whatever age could miss it or fail to be stirred by it.”
— Jan Slepian

“Vintage Barron, this has not only a strong plot, lots of action, and more than a little fantasy — but it also provides much to think about: Are we all connected in some way — across generations, cultures, times, even species?”
Signal Journal

“Fortunately, The Ancient One is one of the rare books that doesn’t “turn to the dark side” but instead offers a fast-paced, thrilling adventure with a heart. The story is about a young girl, Kate, who makes a journey into the Lost Crater, time, reason, riddles, but most of all, herself. T.A. Barron’s respect and love for the wilderness shine through.

“You will love the plot twists and surprising profoundness in this novel. The characters are deep, the writing is engaging, and the thrill is fantastic. Even if you are not a fan of fantasy, give this book a chance. It deserves it.”
New West Boise (review by a ten-year-old reader)


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