Friday, September 20, 2013

Guest Post from Peter Clenott, author of Devolution


Chiku Flynn wasn’t raised to be a human. Born in Maiko National Park in the Congolese rain forest, Chiku spent the first eleven years of her life as part of an experiment conducted by her parents.

Primatologists Seth Flynn and Samantha Burchill loved their daughter but had no difficulty releasing her into the wild to be studied alongside the chimpanzees of Pan-Dora Island. Impulsive and spontaneous, Chiku proved an apt student, ultimately surpassing her parents in her ability to mingle and communicate with the forest chimpanzees. Pan, the primary male. Scallion, Chiku’s birth mate. Scopes, the provocateur. She plays with them, fashions tools with them, sleeps in their nests, hunts and forages. For Chiku the aboriginal, the primitive, is normal. Then just after her eleventh birthday, everything changes. Chiku witnesses the horrifying death of her mother, pulled out of their boat by a Mamba River crocodile, and her father, Seth Flynn at last sends her ‘home’ to the United States and to a normal teenager’s life.

The problem is, Chiku can’t adapt. Five years and a dozen schools can’t bring her in line. Therapists and psychiatrists can’t figure her out. The pills, when she decides to take them, have no effect. She prefers rolling her own joints and risking life and limb on crazy urban stunts on her roller blades. She is the proverbial wild child, obstinate, defiant, and hopeless. There is a dark side to her past that no one can penetrate. Life is without direction or goal. It is simply experienced and often with catastrophic results. Then Seth Flynn disappears, the chimpanzees he has been studying begin acting crazily, and Chiku’s life is thrown onto a second life-altering course, only this time she is going back to Africa, back to the jungle, where she can put to profound use the one great skill she has: she can communicate with her father’s abandoned chimpanzees using sign language.

The rain forest is in turmoil when Chiku arrives with her older half-sister Cary, a journalist who does not like or trust her defiant sibling. Civil War has led to a massing of refugees on the outskirts of the national park. Poachers are hunting and killing chimpanzees for food or sale. Mining interests and timber companies want to displace the chimpanzees for their own profit. Chiku’s father may well have been a victim of their desires. With the human world threatening to destroy the rain forest and turn Seth Flynn’s chimpanzees into something they have never been, Chiku must step in and reclaim her life and that of the beings she grew up loving.

Pan-Dora Island is sixteen-year old Chiku Flynn’s line in the sand. She is naïve and fearless, guts and fists rather than charm and make-up, a tomboy growing fast into womanhood. The lives of the chimpanzees and the safety of the refugees depend upon her. The affections of three young men hang upon her adolescent desires. She is the focus of bispecies attention and the target of assassins intent on finishing their work. Bruised and jaded by life before she has tasted her first kiss, Chiku Flynn is not a girl to mess with. Yet, if anyone knows anything about love and true devotion, it is Chiku Flynn.  

Guest Post

For many years I aimed my writing at the adult audience. It wasn’t until I became a father and began reading to my three children that I took note of other books. My sixteen-year-old, Leah, is an avid reader. And purely from a marketing point of view, it made sense for me to reconsider what I was doing. After all, books aimed at young adults were doing extremely well. HARRY POTTER, TWILIGHT, PERCY JACKSON. My daughter’s personal favorite is the WARRIORS series with wild cats as the main characters, kind of WATERSHIP DOWN with felines. Since then I’ve written three young adult novels which I feel translate well to the adult audience, as well. In DEVOLUTION and THE HUNTED, I am tackling environmental issues. Writing, communicating ideas, is the most important thing that we humans do. While I recognize the obvious need to entertain, to turn out page-turners, I have always felt cheated unless I gave the reader something more, something to think about, to provoke debate and discussion. I like the thought that once the reader has finished my book, they’re not quite ready to jump to the next. They want to pause and reflect upon what they’ve read. The environmental issues our children face are daunting. Global warming. Absurd changes in weather patterns. Coastal flooding. We adults need to address these issues in a serious way. Hence the heroic Chiku Flynn of DEVOLUTION and Suyape Goncalves of THE HUNTED. It’s great to be able to make people laugh, to scare them or bring goosebumps to their flesh. But it’s even better if you can do all of those things while subtly teaching them something about the world they inhabit.


Peter Clenott is a graduate of Bowdoin College and hails from Portland, Maine. He is the author of the archaeological adventure Hunting the King and currently has three children and lives in Haverhill. Visit his website at: Twitter:  

Pump Up Your Book and Peter Clenott are teaming up to give you two chances to win a $25 Amazon/Kobo Gift Cards and more!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries. This promotion will run from August 5 – September 28. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on September 28, 2013. Each blogger who participates in the Devolution virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)  What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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