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Brooklyn native creates new book series based on ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Brooklyn BookBeat: ‘Ages of Oz’ Adds Exciting Dimensions to an Iconic Work

May 24, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn-born and raised “Ages of Oz” creator Gabriel Gale. Photo courtesy of Brian Keith
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Gabriel Gale, who was born and raised in Bay Ridge, has immersed himself in the legend and legacy of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” series of books. Gale, whose pen name is derived from Oz heroine Dorothy Gale, has created the first volume of a planned three-novel prequel to the beloved Baum classic focused on the origin story of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

In “Ages of Oz,” Gale, along with Lisa Fiedler, has provided the perfect framework for an inspired new book that follows the beloved Glinda on her travels down the red brick road. Readers will discover an entirely new dimension to the Glinda character as depicted in the original “Wizard of Oz” and the hit Broadway play “Wicked.”

The Glinda in Gale’s universe is an empowered young woman much like Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” trilogy. She serves as a model for teens and young women and as a figure of empowerment.  The main theme of the book is learning how to think for yourself while on a journey to seek the truth. In the story, Glinda is turning into a force on her way to becoming the most powerful sorceress in all of Oz.

In Fiedler’s and Gale’s book, Glinda’s peaceful life in Oz is shattered when her mother is imprisoned for practicing forbidden magic. As she is ripped from her home by a fearsome bounty hunter sent by Aphidina, the Witch of the South, Glinda soon uncovers a startling truth: the Oz she’s always known is not good and right — it’s a world governed by the wickedest of the wicked, overrun with tyranny, corruption and dark power.

Glinda’s mother is actually a high-ranking member of a secret society whose mission is to overthrow the four Wicked Witches and set the stage for the return of the rightful ruler of Oz.

With the help of a feisty, purple-haired girl named Locasta, Glinda sets across the unforgiving landscape to rescue her mother. They are soon joined by Ben, a revolutionary New Yorker, and a mysterious girl named Shade. Armed with their individual gifts, these unlikely heroes mount an epic attack on Aphidina to free Glinda’s mother and save the future of Oz from the Wickeds before it’s too late.

Gale was born, raised and currently resides in Bay Ridge. He graduated from Fort Hamilton High School and attended Cooper Union’s Art school for his undergraduate degree and received his master’s degree from Columbia University.  

Gale has worked on this project for 10 years and calls it “a culmination of a whole lot of passion, research and drive to get an Oz story that is 100 years in the making into this project.”

Gale told the Brooklyn Eagle that there will a number of signings and events at various locations throughout the borough and the city in the fall. “We will be at Oz-Stravaganza, in Chittenango, New York June 1 to 4, which is the largest Oz convention on the East Coast,” said Gale.

It all started for Gale when he first discovered Baum’s book as a young boy. “I read the Oz books at the 73 Street Bay Ridge branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. I was fascinated from then on. After graduating from Columbia, I decided I wanted to create my own ‘Lord of the Rings’ type of work. And the Oz books returned to mind and I went back and researched them. I met with the family and I met with many of the world’s leading Oz experts, and I put all of that research into ‘Ages of Oz.’”

Among the family members Gale met with were Baum’s grandsons. He also learned that Baum’s mother-in-law was Matilda Joslyn Gage, the famed author and women’s suffragist and Native American activist. Gale claims that Gage inspired Baum to include strong and powerful women in his works.

“We designed ‘Ages of Oz’ as an overarching brand that can keep going,” said Gale. “It’s about a 1,000 years of Oz history, and Glinda’s story falls right in the middle, so we can go backward or we can go forward. ‘Ages of Oz’ is both a prequel and a sequel to L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, and eventually we will take you in to what Oz looks like today, and Oz in the future. That’s why it’s called ‘Ages of Oz,’ because it deals with multiple time periods.”

 


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