King Of Summer

This is the wraparound cover for the new printing of King of Summer.
"On the first day of summer vacation, eleven-year-old Artie falls into a lake and begins to drown. While underwater, Artie has a vision of Elaine, a little girl who died there decades ago in battle with an ancient evil being, a being that is awakening once more. Unless Artie and his friends can stop the creature called the Winter King from entering our world, it will turn everything in its path to its dark purposes.

As the kids struggle with the universal issues of friendship, acceptance, love, and impending adulthood, they learn that they are not the first to fight this evil. Armed with two unusual magical items—a pocketknife and a baseball trophy—and with their bonds of affinity, they will brave the forbidding woods to face their foe, full in the knowledge that some of them will not return."

My first novel, King of Summer is finally available again in ebook and print versions. You can find it at the following links.

This was the cover of the PublishAmerica edition.

King of Summer was originally published in 2002 by PublishAmerica. New copies of this printing are no longer available from the publisher, though there are used copies listed at both Amazon and Barnes And Noble. I don't make anything off the used copies.


From Copacetic Comics:

From Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars A Royal Victory, August 3, 2005
Marcel (M.L.) Walker
This review is from: King of Summer (Paperback)
Wayne Wise's KING OF SUMMER is an extremely well thought out, deceptively clever reworking of the King Arthur mythos, defined by vivid imagery and sharp characterization. The adolescent world he relates is individual and specific, yet still familiar even to those of us who have not lived in a similar locale. Appleton, PA and the adjacent Woods frequented by the protagonists of the novel come to life as a place filled with secrets and mystery, yet the story comfortably straddles the line between dark fantasy and its very real world setting.

Artie and his group of friends exist in a world rarely intruded upon by adults; the bulk of the novel concerns their interactions while becoming aware of an age old threat that once again threatens to rise and consume their town. Reading their dialogue and following their very believable behaviors, I was reminded of nothing so much as S.E. Hinton's first four novels, especially RUMBLE FISH and TEX. The notable difference here is that we aren't limited in our overview of these adolescents by a first-person narrative.

I would *almost* recommend this novel for young adults (and actually this might be fine for some), depending on their own level of maturity. The universal topics of isolation, acceptance, social castes and budding (or sometimes overt) sexuality are explored, more to add depth to the characters than to comment on the subjects. Wise does this with an assured, studied and even-handed approach, always letting the reader come to their own conclusions about the characters.

Some characters surprise you with their development. Others do almost exactly what you think they'll do. In this regard, it's like watching your friends teetering over the cusp of adulthood. The author deliberately and patiently gives them each distinct voices, and even the more threatening characters ring true.

KING OF SUMMER is a curiosity in that it is composed of equal parts fear and hope. The semi-delusional behavior of Mark and Henry truly leaves the reader fearing for the physical safety of other characters. Meanwhile, the rough-hewn Vivian finds herself dogged by feelings of confusion - she is arguably the most fascinating figure in the story - all the while seeking her own measure of redemption. KING OF SUMMER is peppered with such subtle characterizations, making the novel that much more enjoyable.

As each character (the bookish Grif, shy and reclusive Tommy, insecure Wren, popular yet slightly restless Ivy) takes steps toward discovering who they are, their friendship and loyalties are tested and ultimately decided by the mettle of a shiny pocketknife's edge.

Timeless, mystical and paraphrase the author, it's the kind of first novel glowing reviews are written for!

5.0 out of 5 stars It's That good, March 31, 2003
Mark Howard (Pittsburgh, PA.)
This review is from: King of Summer (Paperback)
Well I finally got a copy of the book and didn't get a chance to read it until I got home late the other night after being out at a club. I took it into the Bathroom with me and didn't come out until Nine Chapters had been read. It was that good.

Seriously, Wayne Captures the whole essence of friendships of all sorts. And like the previous review says, if you know your Arthurian Legends, you'll start figuring out whose who. I wasn't sure about Tommy at first but then I saw his last name. I'm still only half way through the book but I'm sure I'll be awed as much at the end as I have through it so far.

5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the king!!, March 28, 2003
T. Kirby (Munhall, PA United States)
This review is from: King of Summer (Paperback)
Wow! Is this book ever good! If you're a fan of Harper Lee, Stephen King and Sir Thomas Malory (or T.H. White), then you'll love "King of Summer". Wayne Wise has written a completely original novel using the Arthurian themes as a guide and crafted a magical, frightening, suspenseful and heartwarming story. It would be easy to sum up the book with one sentence: that love and friendship can conquer the most hideous of evils, but that would do a disservice to the rich story and characters. Each character is fleshed out three dimensionally and evolves over the course of the story through trial and error. Each has their own good and bad qualities and the line between both blurs throughout the book, yet each character maintains their role in the context of the story. "King of Summer" made me feel nostalgic for my own childhood, when adventures of epic proportions took place in the woods behind my own house. But it is not for the faint of heart. In portraying evil, Wayne doesn't simply tell you how evil the antagonist of the book is. Instead you are shown its ugliness and brutality through several of the characters. But you are also shown the beauty and love that all can aspire to as well. It's hard to talk about "King of Summer" without talking about the characters themselves, but I don't want to give too much away. Suffice to say, Vivian became my favorite. Set in the town of Appleton, Wayne manages to describe the town throughout the course of the story without sounding like a AAA representative and it becomes so vivid and real that you can swear you've driven through it at one time or another. As I approached the end of the book, I found myself really sad that I was coming to the end! I didn't want to leave Appleton or the kids, they had become so real. The trouble is, the book is extremely addictive! I read it to the exclusion of all else and couldn't put it down. Sometimes while reading other books, I may get tired or bored with what I'm reading. I had no chance with "King of Summer"! The pace is crisp and Wayne always gives you just enough in each chapter to make you want to turn the page and find out what's going to happen next. I hope that someday "King of Summer" is made into a movie. If so, I'll be there opening day, first in line!

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely the King, March 1, 2003
Raymond Tate (Pennsylvania)
This review is from: King of Summer (Paperback)
King of Summer has an atmosphere reminiscent of "To Kill A Mockingbird." The author--who I do know and consider a friend--captures the authentic voices of children. Too often an author will treat kids like idiots or as supreme intellects, but Wayne Wise accurately shows the strengths and weaknesses of youth amid a dark fantasy bearing Arthurian themes and an original twist on the ancient battle of good vs. evil.
In terms of technique, the book is smoothly written with a pace that flows. He relates the novel he was driven to write through vivid description and carefully crafted characters whose names even possess meaning. In short, brilliant.

From Barnes And Noble


Customer Rating George Grant

Posted November 25, 2003, 11:27 PM EST: I know this is supposed to a be a review of Wayne Wise's horror adventure novel The King of Summer. It will be. I promise. But less than 24 hours ago I ended my second reading and found myself thinking of my childhood and of children in general. I was a quiet, industrious bookworm who lived too far from town to have more than a couple, much less, a group of friends. The lack of people close to my age, a wall of poverty and shyness created a mind looking for Robins, Hardy Boys, Tom Swifts. In my life a public library had heroes to lift me, inspire me and thankfully blind me sometimes to my surroundings. Children escape in many ways. The previous sentence is a fact you already know. Yes, this is a book about children. I suspect, when you read this tale, you will revive several characters from your past. Go ahead and take this advice. Substitute them in this story. Hold up a yardstick and see if their notches on your mental doorway are as deep and measure up. Children as heroes and villains have been used before (I thought of The Lord of the Flies and It for examples). This book offers more. Young ones, teens making or forced to make moral/immoral decisions, come alive in this story. Cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers? Playtime is not that simple. You will see. Youth situations and suspenseful, surprising endings are delivered with heroic vocabulary. This book has one of the best character introductions ever written (you have to meet Vivian!). Mr. Wise's psychological grip on his characters is as tight and scary as an angry father, as all-inclusive and seeing as a mother's eyes and yet unconditionally gentle and patient as grandparents' love. Great stories bring with them a treasure chest of emotions. The King of Summer comes with dark gems of evil strung together by golden threads of hope. A great tale of intense horror and adventure drawn from a legend familiar to young and old that will implore you for a second read. I might add that it will not take the three months of summer to do so.


Customer Rating Joe Ehman

Posted September 15, 2003, 12:15 AM EST: As a native of Western PA I decided to read The King Of Summer just from its jacket description. I do not usually read fiction/fantasy, so I was very pleased to find out that this book is a good read no matter what your interests. What makes this book, is it's honesty in dealing with it's characters. Some readers may be shocked by the frankness in subject matter, but I remember all of the things in the book happening to me or to someone that I knew at the same age that it happens to these characters. I could honestly recommend this book to most anyone reading this review. I can say that I would read any thing else that Mr. Wise would write as well based on the strength of this book.

A Rising 'King'

Customer Rating Angela Robinette

Posted June 9, 2003, 10:29 AM EST: I stepped into a preternatural world when I read King of Summer and could not put down the book. Wayne Wise combines suspense, horror, love, and unity to create a supernatural tale parallel to the works of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Wise's characters are plentiful, but they are so distinct and believable that each has left an indelible impression in my mind. Warning: Wise could be the next King, so be prepared for gore, heartache, sex, drug abuse, and profanity.