“A deftly crafted and thoroughly fun read … especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections.” —MBR Midwest Book Review

Shuka, the Vermillion Bird of the South


“That was simply too painful to watch.” A musical voice came from behind her. Lucy whirled around to see a beautiful woman sitting in midair, one leg crossed elegantly over the other. Her garments rippled with flames that didn’t seem to burn them.

“Shuka?” said Lucy. She put the feather in her pocket.

The beautiful woman inclined her head in acknowledgment.

Excerpt from The Caves of Wonder

Shuka is a demigoddess also known as the Vermillion Bird of the South. In her animal form she’s a firebird. In her human form, she is small and lithe, and moves as if gravity is just a suggestion.

She has fire magic and air magic. She and Baiku, the White Tiger of the West loathe each other.

She has a reputation among some of the other characters for being unreliable, fickle. “You never know when she will show up or leave.” But she has, in fact, been consistently helpful from leading them to the entrance to the Silk Road to gifting Lucy one of her magical feathers, to rescuing them from archers and teaching Lucy how to control fire.

Shuka’s feather gives Lucy some power over the element of fire. She is able to produce a flame large enough to light a candle or start a fire. Shuka teaches Lucy Fire magic.

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