From being cast out from the group, to losing his way in the dark lake at night-time, Ben will never betray his friends. Even when he feels a vicious fang slowly piercing his flesh, he knows what he is doing is right. He will never submit to the bullies, racists or indeed anyone who tries to steer him from the path he is taking. Ben is growing up very quickly and soon he gains many followers. This leads to a multitude of challenges and to one of his friends giving his life for Ben. As an eleven year old he manages to avert a war and bring pride to different communities.
For Ben, falling into the lake and entering into different species presented many challenges, but the rewards will stay with him forever.
Beyond Dark Waters plots a young man's rite of passage into adulthood, seen from the viewpoint of different species in and around a lake.
“Is this your first moult, Bob?”
I looked to see where the sound had come from. I had to twist my neck, but I finally saw a Bob next to me, looking in quite a bad state.
“Just keep wriggling,” he advised. “It’ll soon come off.”
I wriggled and wriggled until I was exhausted. Just as I was about to give up, I heard a crack and the crushing feeling eased a little.
“Don’t stop now, you’re almost there,” said Bob.
It was the strangest feeling I have ever experienced. Imagine being covered in a thin coating of plaster of Paris, and then bending at the waist. I twisted again and there was another crack. Finally, I was able to kick off the last bits of my shell and turn around to face Bob. I noticed that he too, had freed himself from his bonds.
“You’ll feel a little soft for a time,” he said. “That’s just until your new skin hardens.”
“Does this happen very often?”
“Yes, you’ll go through lots of moults. Feels great to be free of it, doesn’t it?”
I had to agree that my newfound flexibility was superb. I was half-hoping that, perhaps, my skin might not harden and that I could remain this flexible, but I did feel very vulnerable in such a soft shell.
Patrick D. wrote:
"There are so many threads weaving the levels of story taking place throughout this book that make the reader ponder themselves. The concepts are crafted very well and the creative ability of this author delivers a solid reading experience. There is such a strength in this story that will make you wonder how our culture would be different if this book were mandatory reading in the classroom."
Paula G. wrote:
"Wow!!! This book would be a great book for teenagers. It tells Bens story of his adventures and his learning experiences through his life. I think it would really be a great book to learn from."