The Legend of Cascara

Young Adult - General
230 Pages
Reviewed on 12/31/2012
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Author Biography

Raised in Panama, David Colclasure attended all the schools in the former American Canal Zone. The jungle was his back yard which he explored enthusiastically most days of the week. He grew familiar with the plant and fauna, creatures and features of the upper and lower canopies through his association with friends, natives of Panama, the scouting program, and through employment working for the Tropical Test Center where he worked as a research statistician documenting sights and sounds in the jungle for the Viet Nam war. He patrolled the area as a Canal Zone Policeman, learning Spanish and the local 'bajin' slang. He learned how to survive in the jungle from instructors in Jungle Warfare, from local explorers (see The Jungle Whispers, by Kenneth Vinton, who was a personal friend of his family), and Neville Hart, who traversed the jungles in search of hieroglyphs carved in stones in the dangerous Darien jungles of Panama. He was a personal friend of Marvel Iglesias (missionary to the Kuna Indians) and Marjorie Vandevelde, an author who wrote about the Indians of Panama, and is a personal friend of Al Sprague ( ) a world famous painter from Panama, who has offered to allow him the use of his prints for illustrations in his novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Patricia Althoff for Readers' Favorite

"Visions: The Legend of Cascara" by David M. Colclasure is a book for history buffs, romance readers, and those interested in period pieces. Michael Coker is a reserved young man known for his daydreaming and adventurous nature. Nearly drowning while diving for a collectible can near a freighter in the Panama Canal sets him on an adventure of a very different type. Beginning with a vision during his near-death experience, Michael connects with Lieutenant Donald Broderick (who lives in the early 18th century) and witnesses the historical events of the time. In addition he becomes involved in the history and mystery of the local Guaymi people as the English lieutenant faces the Spanish, and in the current debate over the legend of Cascara. Michael, as Broderick, experiences the conflict among the Indian, Spanish and English cultures of the colonial time, which seems somehow to center around the beautiful Maria. Meanwhile, as Michael struggles to understand the meaning behind his unwanted visions, he also struggles with his brother, James, his mother and father, and his girlfriend, Joanne, as they do not believe his reports.

Throughout the adventure, the reader enjoys not only historical references, but also well-developed immersion in the Panamanian environment. One who has been to Panama will enjoy the realistic description of the flora and fauna of the area, as will the initiate. Colclasure blends his descriptions with his dual storyline very well, and moves seamlessly between the visions and the present life of the characters. The reader's emotions remain aroused throughout the story, and the anticipation of an outcome is intense. It is suitable for teens as well as adults. There is no bad language and there are no explicit scenes that would make the book unsuitable for a younger person.

Hira Ahsan

If you're a lover of historical fantasy, then this is the book for you! Filled with time travel, wars, and ancient mystery, "Visions: The Legend of Cascara" by David Colclasure has it all. Set in exotic Panama in both the 1960s and 1730s, it tells the story of a young boy named Michael. After a near-death drowning, Michael discovers that he has gained a strange new power, the power to go back in time by simply touching an object from that time. Michael travels back to 1730s Panama the reader joins him on a journey that combines fantasy and historical fact.

I found this to be a charming book. I learned all about Panama, it's people and its fascinating history. The story has a magical atmosphere that compels the reader, but still grounded with fact. The characters are well-developed, like headstrong Cascara. Author David Colclasure must have done a great deal of research to capture the culture of Panama's past, which really drew me into the story. This was a good read and fantasy/historical readers will definitely enjoy it!

Stephanie Dagg

"Visions: the Legend of Cascara" by David Colclasure is historical novel with a paranormal twist set in Panama. Following a near-death experience, Michael Coker discovers that he has a new, strange power. Just by touching an object he can travel back in time to the period it came from. He learns he has a mission to complete to help the mysterious Cascara. Digging in his father’s garden, he uncovers a sword that takes him back to the War of Jenkins’ Ear in 1739. The weapon belonged to a disenchanted medical officer, Lieutenant Donald Broderick. Michael’s gift means that he experiences life through Broderick’s eyes, and it begins to get hard for him to separate himself as a twentieth-century young man from the eighteenth-century officer. An older culture comes into play too with the beliefs and traditions that the native people of Broderick’s era hold and with a link to Cascara.

Panama is an unusual and interesting location for what is an equally unusual book. History and fantasy are woven together in the plot to produce a fascinating and exciting novel. The characters are solid and believable people, even those with a touch of magic to them, and they interact convincingly with each other. We learn about them indirectly from what they say and do, rather than through descriptions, and this is just one impressive aspect of the author’s craft. We meet pirates, conquistadors, Guyami Indians and our contemporaries in this story in a variety of sharply portrayed settings. David Colclasure has created a fast-paced adventure with a clever twist that makes for truly absorbing reading.

Gayani Hathurusingha

It is impossible to read David Colclasure's "Visions: The Legend of Cascara" and not to be delighted by it. The novel is pure fiction in its approach as the writer makes the complete use of his creativity in vitalizing the characters and the circumstances related to them. Woven around the adventures of Michal Coker, a young man in a quest for truth, the plot transforms fantasy to reality.

Colclasure cleverly manipulates the common plot line of travelling across time, but he adds new coloring and flavor to it, so that it demonstrates freshness and verisimilitude. Enabling his protagonist to reach the silent depths of the past, the writer gains access to the subtle realities related to the actual history of his setting. The setting is Panama Canal Zone. The novel unfolds the essence of a whole civilization, combined with adventure and fantasy. The reader gets insight into the diversified factors related to Panama and its surrounding in the context of its history, conflicts and geography. What makes the novel a memorable reading experience is the excitement it offers from the onset up to the cathartic winding up. The novel maintains curiosity throughout the plot, motivating a reader to finish reading it in one sitting. Moreover, the writer combines adventure with thriller features, introducing his protagonist into a mystery unsolved and dangers unavoidable. Modern lifestyle is interlaced with legend, lore and myth. The novel transports the enthusiasts to the middle of the crisis created within the book, enabling them to feel the throb of adventure.

Maria Beltran

After Michael Coker survived a near-drowning accident in Miraflores Locks, he started having visions that sent him back in time to Panama's past. His visions led him to a sword made of gold and silver with an oval center and an image of the king's helmet engraved with the numbers 1739. It made him experience the Battle of Portobello as Lieutenant Broderick in the midst of Admiral Vernon's attack in 1739. During this time, Britain has signed a treaty with Spain forbidding the English to trade with Spanish colonies so that when Captain Robert Jenkins was caught smuggling in 1738, the Spaniards cut off his ears and triggered a war. Shifting between Panama of the 1960's and of the colonial past, Michael witnessed first hand Panama's rich history. He lived in the time of the Guaymi princess, and saw how the Kuna Indians celebrate their ceremonial rites.

"The Legend of Cascara", by David Colclasure, is an entertaining time-travel book that takes us to the time when the early European explorers came to Panama. The plot shifts from the present and the past and it is amazing how the history of Panama comes back to life as the plot thickens. I found it quite exciting to learn about the struggles between the Indian tribes of Guaymi and Kuna against their Western invaders. "The Legend of Cascara" is also a story of love, deception and adventure. It relates the bravery of a colorful Guyami princess that persisted in the present time as the Legend of Cascara. Author David Colclasure has certainly succeeded in his narrative of the Panamanian history with his vivid description of the Battle of Portobello. The jungles of Panama also provides a beautiful backdrop for this story, and what makes this novel more exciting is the personal stories of its characters. Interwoven together, the lives of these interesting people create a truly exciting read, and it gives us the key to the "Legend of the Cascara".