Helga: Out of the Hedgelands Book Review & Giveaway

Helga tour

Helga: Out of the Hedgelands

Twelve-year-old Helga has more danger in her life than most beasts her age—Wrackshee slavers after her, a vicious attack by bandits that nearly kills her, a race against dragons pursuing her, and leading a daring rebellion to save her life and rescue friends and family from the insidious WooZan. And that is just the beginning. But what do you expect when you are a young beast who just can’t see the stupid rules of the world making any sense? Helga can’t accept things as they are and ends up taking on not just one, but two all-powerful, supreme tyrants in two different realms. Helga never intended to lead a revolution. It just sort of happened because she wouldn’t go along with the “rules of normal” that keep tyrants in power and entire societies enslaved. Beginning on a dangerous quest to solve some mysteries in her own past, Helga leads her quirky comrades on a journey that will not only forever change them, but upset ancient civilizations. As an author, I’m drawn to eccentric, unexpected characters: those who surprise because they hear a distant galaxy, see a different music, create their own fragrance rather than get hooked on a soundtrack; the child who has her own ideas about how the emperor is dressed; the lunatics and rebels who tell stories on the boundaries.

Helga’s unusual story will take readers to worlds they never imagined—definitely a whole new ride. Time and again, the unconventional heroine and her eccentric comrades overcome ominous tyrants and black-hearted slavers, not by battling to the last beast standing, but by being the first beast to think differently. Helga: Out of Hedgelands is divided into three books which introduce the epic saga of the Wood Cow clan and their role in overturning centuries of slavery and tyranny.

This story will continue in additional volumes of the Wood Cow Chronicles now in development. Over the series of current and future volumes, the entire history of the Wood Cow clan, the fall of Maev Astuté, and the coming of Lord Farseeker to the Outer Rings, will be told.


Author Rick Johnson

I am a native of the Great Plains, having grown up on a farm in the Platte River Valley of western Nebraska. I love the wild beauty of the Plains and nearby Rocky Mountains--the too hot, too cold, too empty, too full of life extremes. Typically, the awesomely diverse and the awesomely stark are much the same, even as they are different. Although I have lived in Michigan, North Carolina, and British Columbia, the western plains, mountains, and desert are in my heart. As my day job, for over thirty years I have been a faculty member and administrator in higher education. Teaching broadly in the liberal arts, including creative writing, my professional publications include educational materials, poems, and 28 stories for young readers.

During my spare hours, I have also collected and carefully studied the records of former times upon which the Wood Cow Chronicles are based. It is my privilege to bring this astonishing saga to light. The Wood Cow Chronicles have been researched and written with the irreplaceable assistance of Barbara, my beloved wife of more than thirty-five years, and our children. Indeed, the essential research into the history of the Wood Cows has been conducted during the odd hours of family reading and storytelling "around the campfire" as we say--even when there is no campfire! This research continues and grows richer as our family expands across generations and continents.

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/3/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Helga out of the Hedgelands is a wonderful fantasy adventure story.  The characters are well written and the books are captivating.  The author creates another world with astonishing clarity and amazing detail.  At times, there was too much detail and I wasn't sure at all where the book was going, but when it got there, the characters and their stories won me over completely. The book was the epitome of escapist reading - it immersed you in a world where what Helga and her friends were doing was far more important than whatever was going on in the real world.  The ending felt somewhat unresolved, but I presume that is because there are further Wood Cow chronicle books to come where we will learn what happens after this book ends. The reader cannot help but root for Helga as she fights for justice amongst seemingly insurmountable odds. The first book of the trilogy does a lot of setup for the next two books, this can seem very tedious but it is worth it in the end.

by Jenn


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed meeting Helga and her comrades, Jenn! I appreciate your feedback and will do my best to give you another story you will enjoy in Volume Two of the Wood Cow Chronicles. Volume Two will be published this fall and, as you suggest, it does indeed build on Volume One. In the second volume, some of the main characters return, and some minor characters from volume one become more central to the overall story as their storylines are carried forward. Remaining mysteries from Volume One are resolved and storylines are expanded that will drive the action into future volumes. Watch for it in Fall 2013!

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