The Legend of the Amber Stone: A Persian Faery Tale

Jonathan Butcher and Leila Heidari

Book Cover

GENRE

FOLKTALE YOUNG ADULT CHILDREN'S

    Core Theme

    GOOD VERSUS EVIL AND THE POWER OF DOING THE RIGHT THING

    TIME PERIOD

    17th Century or Earlier

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE, THE FAIRY'S MISTAKE

    CHARACTER LIST

    COMRON: 16. PROTAGONIST. COURAGEOUS, HONORABLE, TRUSTING, AND DETERMINED.

    AFSOUN: AGELESS, FEMALE. THE ANTAGONISTIC SISTER WHO IS TRYING TO KILL COMRON’S BRIDE-TO-BE AND STEAL POWER FOR HERSELF.

    AMBER: 16. FEMALE. COMRON’S BELOVED BRIDE-TO-BE AND FRIEND SINCE HE WAS YOUNG. SHE IS ROMANTIC, INNOCENT, AND GENTLE.

    NEEKOU: AGELESS. FEMALE. THE KIND AND DECENT SISTER WHO IS TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND SAVE AMBER’S LIFE. SHE HELPS COMRON DEFEAT HER SISTER.

    ASHOOB: AFSOUN’S SERVANT. SHE IS GREEDY AND AMBITIOUS, BUT MOSTLY CORRUPTED BY AFSOUN. SHE DISGUISES HERSELF AS AMBER IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN POWER.

    PEERA: ELDERLY. AFSOUN AND NEEKOU’S WISE FATHER. HE WANTS AMBER AND COMRON TO MARRY IN ORDER TO UNITE THE TWO KINGDOMS.

    Logline

    A Persian kingdom lies divided, and its overseer, Peera, spends his lifetime negotiating a treaty between the royal families. His hopes lie in the arranged marriage between the family heirs but he is now too old to see it through. He asks his daughters to take over but they have different plans.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 7-12,13-17

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Norenj and Toranj, Persia

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Amazon

    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    Dying Peera asks his daughters to carry out his mission to reunite the divided kingdom. They agree, but one daughter is cruel and ambitious, the other kind but naive; both possess magical powers. A power struggle ensues which leads to the disappearance of the princess. The prince must rescue her.

    Ending Description

    After a series of tests, challenges, narrow escapes, as well as some lessons about how to be a good king, the prince succeeds in finding the princess. But he also deals with the evil forces in the palace in order to ensure their future safety as king and queen and complete Peera's mission.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1989622049

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Other

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Quest

    Main Character Details

    Name: Comron

    Age: 16

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Masculine,Faithful,Honorable,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Amber

    Age: 16

    Gender: Female

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Naive,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Afsoun

    Age: ageless

    Gender: Female

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Greedy,Leader,Villainous,Power Hungry,Skillful,Manipulative,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Neekou

    Age: ageless

    Gender: Female

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Faithful,Honorable,Naive,Obedient,Selfless,Strong Moral Code

    Development Pitch

    Imagine an old, turbaned, nomadic storyteller sitting in a market square by day or around a desert camp-fire by night, telling a tale embellished with his own experiences from his travels. This story is one of these tales. It includes many elements that kids love about fairy tales: magic, intrigue, disguises, a talking animal, an angry giant, plus a prince and princess and a happily-ever-after ending. Ultimately a good-over-evil story, set in the exotic and mysterious land of ancient Persia, with a few Persian proverbs and morals-of-the story thrown in for good measure. Lots of opportunities for dream sequence, special effects/magic, and flashbacks/intermittent interruptions from the storyteller himself 3 possibilities for adapation: Netflix-style mini-series, full-length feature film, (and/or) dramatized audio production (BBC's Chronicles of Narnia)

    Genre

    FANTASY, DRAMA

    Brief

    On his deathbed, the guardian of two kingdoms asks his daughters to see his mission through and reunite the kingdoms through an arranged marriage. The daughters agree, but one of them is greedy and self centered, while the other is genuine and loving. The greedy daughter tries to kill the princess set to marry and take power for herself. After a series of struggles, good prevails and the kind daughter rises to power in the now-united kingdom.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The Book Profile does generally reflect the book in an accurate manner, but making it more clear that this is a magical fairytale in the logline might help better represent the story as a whole.

    Draw of Story

    The writing in this book is what makes the story really stand out from the start. The tone is conversational and extremely natural. It truly does feel as if seasoned storytellers are crafting this tale around a campfire on a casual evening. There are moments of unexpected personality in the writing style as well that make this project feel special. The instances in which the narrator talks directly to the reader are always endearing and pleasant surprises.

    Possible Drawbacks

    A good chunk of this story is spent with Comron, but he doesn’t get much of a character introduction, especially compared to the other core characters in this book. In order to encourage more of an emotional connection with Comron, it would be beneficial to spend a little more time developing his personality. It would also make the stakes feel generally higher, as readers would care more about Comron’s fate if they knew more about him.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The way this story weaves English and Persian proverbs together to tell a riveting and thematically powerful story is the hook. If adapted, this story would appeal to audiences of all cultures, ages, and interests. It also features extremely memorable characters.

    Fanbase Potential

    I do believe this adaptation could have a large fanbase. Though the film would likely be directed mainly at younger audiences, adults would be interested in this film as well, making it a film that could appeal to all ages.

    Awards Potential

    Because this film would likely be directed towards younger audiences, I don't believe it would have Awards potential, unless it was animated and adapted by a major animation production company.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    TALE OF TALES, THE TEMPEST, MOANA

    What’s New About the Story

    The influence of Persian culture makes this story feel incredibly original, as this fairy tale feels classic in many ways yet also quite unique to anyone unfamiliar with Persian tales. Apart from leaning into the influence of Persian culture even more, I don't believe it needs to be changed much in order to feel more unique.

    Lead Characters

    The contrast between Afsoun and Neekou makes them stand out. It's easy to envision these sisters since their personalities are so different from each other. Amber is also so kind and gentle, while Comron is bold and brave.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Yes, I believe this is a rare gem.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation

    RECOMMEND

    Justification

    The writing is quite strong in this book, but it's the fairy tale story that weaves cultures together that makes the piece really stand out. It's a fast-paced and magical story that feels ready for the big screen. Children and their parents alike would find something to love in this story.

    Brief

    In this Persian fairy tale, a kingdom lies divided, and its guardian, Peera, spends his lifetime negotiating a treaty between the royal families. His hopes lie in the arranged marriage between the family heirs but he is too old to see it through. He asks his daughters to take over but they have different plans.

    What We Liked

    Culturally, this book has much to offer in the way it weaves fairy tale stories from different places and societies together seamlessly. The writing is very strong and conversational, and the pacing is exciting and engaging from start to finish. The message is also powerful and straightforward. This would be an amazing project to show a child, but there is also plenty for adults to love as well.

    Film: This is the perfect project for film adaptation. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion. The characters are vivid and nuanced. The message is clear by the end of the project, and this film would surely leave viewers walking away feeling emotionally fulfilled.

    TV: While the story feels better suited to film, this project does feature a vast and exciting world that would have much to offer for television. As a miniseries especially, this project would shine on screen. The opportunity to explore other characters in greater depth would make this a strong television show.

    Key points: 1. The wonderful fairy tale story at the core of the project. 2. The vivid, clear characters. 3. The interesting magical world of the kingdom. 4. The powerful emotional message. 5. The strong pacing and structure

    Synopsis

    We meet two sisters Neekou and Afsoun shortly before their father’s death. Their father, Peera, is a wise man with great power. On his deathbed, Peera explains to Neekou and Afsoun that one of them is destined to hold great power, and the other will be a faithful helper. He also tells them about an amber necklace that grants immortality to the wearer.

    Afsoun is the eldest sister. She is ambitious, but greedy and driven by personal gain. She cares little for her father and only about gaining power and acclaim. Neekou is the opposite. She is kind, gentle, and compassionate, but she is not as direct or bold as Afsoun.

    Peera tells his daughters that the precious necklace will be gifted to a princess, and that it will return to their family in due time. Peera dies and Neekou and Afsoun move forward with their lives. When a princess is born, it is clear she is the one who will claim the necklace. Unhappy with this situation, Afsoun plots to place a curse on her that will cause her to relinquish the artifact. Neekou learns about her sister’s plot and tries to warn the queen that her daughter is in danger. The queen does not believe Neekou, which forces her to take drastic measures. Neekou places her own curse on the princess, one that will keep her far away from Afsoun. The princess is safe, but Neekou is banished from the kingdom.

    The man the princess, Amber, was set to marry, Comron, is sad and disheartened by the disappearance of his bride. He walks alone, pondering a mysterious orange orchard, and wishing he could find his princess. When he comes across a beautiful deer, it speaks to him and reveals that it is actually Neekou in disguise. Neekou tells him that she was foolish to curse the princess so quickly, as she is not skilled enough to undo the curse. Comron will have to do it by completing a series of tasks.

    Comron is successful and he gets Amber home safely. In order to keep her safe, Comron instructs Amber to stay in a tower and not allow anyone in. Afsoun cleverly puts her original plan back in motion though. She sends her servant to take the necklace from Amber, and she instructs her to feed Amber grapes afterwards that will erase her memory of the incident. The servant does as she’s told, but when Amber eats the grapes, she actually falls dead to the ground. Ashoob, the servant, realizes she has been tricked and set up.

    Thinking quickly, Ashoob puts the magical necklace on and takes the form of Amber. She hides the body, and does her best to convince everyone that she is truly Amber. While walking with Comron, Ashoob sees that a miraculous orange tree has grown overnight in the place where she hid Amber’s body.

    Ashoob worries that the tree will expose her dark secret, so she demands that a gardener cut the tree down. The gardener prepares to do what he’s asked, but he’s distracted by a deer and an old woman. He speaks with the old woman and she charms him into carving her a figurine of a woman. The old woman successfully brings Amber back, healthy and well, and reveals that she is Naseem, Neekou’s servant, in disguise. Neekou greets Amber and Naseem and it becomes clear that Neekou was a part of the plan to save Amber all along.

    Neekou, Naseem, and Amber realize that unless they do something, Comron is going to marry Ashoob disguised as Amber. They meet Comron in the woods and tell him the truth. It turns out they needn’t have worried much, as Comron had already begun to realize that he wasn’t with the real Amber. The group isn’t sure what to do though, as Ashoob still possesses the powerful amber necklace, and they don’t want her to hand it over to the true threat, Afsoun.

    Through an act of clever deception, Comron convinces Ashoob that she must speak with Afsoun alone in order to obtain her blessing for the wedding. Ashoob is afraid of Afsoun and even more afraid that she will steal the powerful necklace, so she leaves it with Comron.

    At their meeting, Afsoun is enraged by Ashoob’s actions. She turns Ashoob into a bee and squashes her. Afsoun threatens Comron and tries to take the necklace from him, but because he’s protected by the necklace’s powers, she cannot hurt him.

    Comron tells his family and the kingdom the truth about Afsoun and he and Amber safeguard themselves as much as possible. Afsoun approaches her sister in the night, but she disappears before the guards can apprehend her.

    The next day, Afsoun appears and tries to attack Amber, but both Comron and Neekou jump in to protect her. The power of Comron’s necklace reflects the magical burst of lightning back at Afsoun. She is vaporized by her own attack.

    After Afsoun is gone, Peera, the girls’ dead father, appears and tells Neekou that she has proven her honor and courage and she is the true guardian of the kingdom and keeper of the necklace. With the threat of Afsoun gone, Comron and Amber are married in a beautiful public wedding. And their happily ending begins.

    About The Author

    Leila Heidari-Faroughi began her career working on stage and in television in Iran. She now lives in Ontario and when she’s not writing, she works as a translator. Jonathan Butcher was born in Ontario and is a former French and Drama teacher and ESL coach. He is passionate about language and the art of storytelling.