Title: LAU DAI LÁ
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Word Count: 41,000
Linh Briggston’s only friends are elves, fairies, and other magical creatures who live with her in Dublin, Ireland—friends she must never reveal to anyone, for fear of ridicule. When a windhorse whisks the eleven-year-old girl from her home to Lau Dai Lá, a parallel world destroyed by dark magic, she meets a male fairy Tombo who warns her about a terrible threat from a group of dark magicians.
The magicians plan to enslave her to steal a sacred weapon, a magic crossbow, after discovering that Linh lives on Earth. With the crossbow, they will regain enough power to conquer Earth. Linh faces a daunting task: she must locate the crossbow before they do and earn Tombo’s friendship to help her, risking her life to stop them from putting her family, her magical friends, and humankind in grave danger.
LAU DAI LÁ is a blend of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, but with Vietnamese lore and Western mythical creatures.
As Linh descended the stairs, strange sounds came from the living room. She looked around; her mother wasn’t home. Eeek! Eeek!
Probably mice. This didn’t stun her.
She’d grown used to hearing those horrible little rodents scuttling inside the clogged drainpipes at school. Likely they’d come out because of her house’s currently clogged drain. Then she heard thumps within the wall.
These couldn’t be mice—unless their tiny feet had grown overnight. Unless they were giants. She tiptoed toward the sound and tried to pinpoint its source, but saw nothing. Stepping toward the window, she pulled away the long, lacey curtains. Her heart seized.
A narrow door stood beneath the window. Linh couldn’t believe her eyes. Had this small door always existed there, right beside the back door? Why would she never have noticed? She bent down, knocked on the little mystery door, and waited.
One minute. Three. The sounds had stopped.
Linh placed a trembling hand on the doorknob; it felt solid and rough. Slowly, she opened the door—and with another hard squeeze of her heart, walked through it.
She found herself gazing at another world: the sun beaming down on a colorful, spacious backyard—so unlike a gray, Irish summer day in Dublin. She blinked: she wasn’t daydreaming.
She stepped into the different landscape, full of warmth and light, her heart thumping with excitement. Plump mushrooms and lush green shrubs grew on each side of the yard. On her left, a field of flowers—dandelions, roses, tulips, and sunflowers—carpeted the ground.