Chronicles of Ara


Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
356 Pages
Reviewed on 08/02/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joel Eisenberg has been interested in the mechanics behind artistic creation, an ongoing theme of the Chronicles of Ara series, since he penned the nonfiction How to Survive a Day Job in 2004. Interviewing seventy-plus professional creatives, including celebrities from several artistic industries, he credits his “mentor in a box” tome with hastening the realization of his dad’s inspiring words from forty years ago. Writing a novel with similar objectives, much less a series, has been on his bucket list since.
Professionally, Joel has worked primarily in the movie and television industries as a writer and producer. The film he is most proud of, April Showers, which he executive produced, was based on the Columbine school shooting tragedy. He is a former special education teacher and supports school safety causes.
Joel lives with the only woman in the world who could put up with him, his wife, Lorie, and their rescue dog (repeating a not-so-subtle message there), Koko, in Los Angeles, California.

Stephen Hillard grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana, and Grand Junction, Colorado. He graduated from Colorado State University, and also earned a degree in Philosophy at Columbia University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado. Before settling into his current career as a private equity entrepreneur, Steve was a teacher at Rikers Island Prison, a welder, a carpenter, and a practicing litigation attorney. He is the founder of Council Tree Investors, a private equity fund involved in the entertainment and telecom industries.
Steve has also been an active philanthropist, focusing primarily on
higher education, as well as at-risk Latino and indigenous youth, at the Escuela Tlatelolco in Denver, Colorado. In 2011, Steve published Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien, which sparked international controversy, became an Amazon Best Seller, received a national prize, and was subsequently published worldwide in Spanish by Grupo Planeta.
In addition to collaborative efforts with his partner, Joel Eisenberg, on The Chronicles of Ara, Steve is developing other projects. These include an untitled prequel to Mirkwood, Farway Canyon, a retro-horror graphic novel about radiation, blobs, and (of course) Cold War zombies, and KNOLL, a novel about JFK, Carlos Marcello, Elvis, the NSA, and Edward Snowden. He resides with his wife, Sharmaine, in San Antonio, Texas.

Joel and Steve can be contacted directly through their author page,, or their “Ara” series page,

    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

A True Original. That is the best way I can describe Chronicles of Ara: Creation by Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard. This book grabbed me from the beginning and wouldn’t let go. In this literary gem, the mysterious character “X” leads us through the dark and thought-provoking story of the very essence of creation and creativity. X tries to warn all about the one muse of art and invention, Ara, and her corrupt nature. If the muse of all human inspiration is not to be trusted, what then? Characters as varied as dragons, dragon-slayers, gods, goddesses, J.R.R Tolkien and Lewis Carroll are intertwined in this epic work and somehow the authors are able to pull this off with fascinating effect.

As a reader, I have truly never encountered a book as astounding as Chronicles of Ara: Creation. As a reviewer, I am afraid that I won’t do this book justice, either in its description or in the praise I can heap upon it. Any reader that loves fantasy would love this book. But truly, any reader who enjoys a brilliantly written, inventive and surprising book, one that is different and unpredictable, one that is astounding in its creativity and breadth, should pick up this book and read it as soon as possible. I understand that this book is the first in a planned series of eight, and I cannot wait for the next ones in the series. Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard should be commended for completing this beautiful work, and I hope we see much more from this duo in the future.

Rabia Tanveer

In Chronicles of Ara: Creation by Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard, the reader will step into a world of fantasy where dragons and literary heroes come to life. When the legendary book of Beowulf is found, J.R.R. Tolkien is called upon to test its authenticity. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll have to judge the manuscript and judge its fate. However, things are not that simple. When power and corruption take hold of a goddess and muse, things can turn nasty. Put an enslaved dragon in the midst and you have the perfect recipe for an epic fantasy.

Magical and astounding, Chronicles of Ara: Creation is perhaps one of the best novels I have read. It certainly takes its place on the list where The Hobbit and The Harry Potter Series reside. There is a lot of drama and fantastical moments that make the reader bite their nails and wait breathlessly. Of course, the presence of a dragon and that of J.R.R. Tolkien will do that for the reader. I especially loved the cover of the book. It described the novel in a perfect way and sat perfectly well with the theme.

It was nice to actually get a feel of what Tolkien and Carroll would have been like. Certainly, it is not easy to portray such literary heroes. This is not a light read. The novel will keep you guessing and second guessing your verdicts. You will be thinking about it days after you are done reading it. I simply adored this novel.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Chronicles of Ara: Creation by Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard is a story of creative fantasy, a combination of science, fantasy and creativity. The “lost” book of Beowulf has been discovered and JRR Tolkien has been asked to help authenticate it. What happens then will have far reaching effects. The art and the creation of the world have been inspired by a Muse, a Muse who is so corrupt that she plays games with all of mankind, all because of a tragedy in her life. She has inserted code into the famous books of famous authors, warning the world of the end of humanity as we know it and the beginning of a new time. We meet dragons and dragon slayers. We find worlds that have been lost, and scenarios abound about the end of the world as we know it. Who is character X and where does he fit in? Would we have had the opportunity to read all these great works without Ara?

Chronicles of Ara: Creation by Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard is an explosive story that everyone must read. It is a book of pure genius, a story that incorporates authors we all know and love with the promise of more in future stories. It is an excellent combination of science and art, all woven neatly into one big tale of fiction – or is it? I guarantee the book will leave you with more questions, will leave you wondering about the world we live in now. Those of you who are familiar with Mirkwood will recognise Ara, who gets a much bigger part to play in this book. The story is well presented and written in a way that forces the reader to pay attention – believe me, if you lose concentration for just one minute, you are lost. The book travels between ages, jumping back and forth in history to bring you a masterpiece that teeters on the brink of darkness. I must congratulate the authors on the way they have written this book; it is compelling reading and I look forward to the next chapter in the creation of mankind.

Lit Amri

“She has always existed. Always. She was never born, conventionally or otherwise, and, to date, she has never died. She just always . . . was. And is.” Chronicles of Ara: Creation by Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard is a literary piece that combines a healthy mix of fantasy, sci-fi and myth into an intriguing tale laced with philosophical views. After a long lost manuscript of Beowulf is found, the story leads deeper into the tale of Ara, a goddess and a muse, who storms into human lives as she pleases.

We venture into Earth’s earliest days; Mirkwood – a volatile landscape available for claiming by the strongest creatures. We read about the centuries of adversary between men and dragons, the survivor and the mighty, where these two species race to propagate the land and surpass each other. Ara’s beloved, Eron the dragonslayer, and Taebal the dragon will be the catalysts that change Ara and the universe forever.

Chronicles of Ara is original and ambitious, yet these qualities are a double edged sword as they lead to a peculiarity of the story that may not appeal to everyone. Is it a literary find? Yes. Is it easily comprehensible to every reader? Not quite. It proposes the altered reality of our world in dark and strange ways. That said, Eisenberg and Hillard are taking a risky but commendable step with this series. Fantasy readers who love some philosophical challenges will love this book. It'll be interesting to see how the story continues.

Eduardo Aduna

The mystery of inspiration has been captured throughout history through the concept of a Muse, a strange being that gives individuals bursts of creative genius and allows their imaginations to become a part of humanity's overall story. Middle Earth, Wonderland, even the Saga of Beowulf, all and more are but reflections of the truth that Ara allows individuals to see. Thomas McFee is a seeker of truth in today's modern times. His life will never be the same as he becomes caught in the maelstrom encircling the mysterious Ara.

Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard's Chronicles of Ara: Creation is a breath of fresh air in a genre rife with recycled tropes and archetypes. Eisenberg and Hillard manage to weave fantasy elements with real life storytelling icons in a tale that melds mythology, history, and the authors' vivid imagination. The pace and storytelling can be jarring, the authors use drastic shifts to encompass events separated by time and space and chance, and it make take a few rereads, or regular breaks between chapters for readers regain their footing and have a firm grasp of the authors' vision. Fans of Steven Erikson's Malazan series will be more forgiving of the authors' style.

The numerous tales and threads contained in the book may prove difficult for readers to keep track of, the last few chapters in particular feel like the authors took the reader along on an LSD trip. Indeed, with a plot that is just genius in its conception, storytelling that leaves no perspective unseen, and characters that manage to engage, Chronicles of Ara: Creation would have had more than enough to be at the top of the fantasy genre. What sets this novel apart is the sheer audacity of the authors to challenge readers and make their minds work on levels most are not used to as they attempt to piece together fragments and facets of a story that is beautiful, complex, and vast. I, for one, look forward to the continuation of this gem of a story.