Racing the Blue Monarch is a near future solar race car thriller for
ages 12-adult. This fictional work would be great supplemental reading in conjunction with my solar energy non-fiction, to inspire reluctant readers, as part of a Hi-Lo experience, and perhaps most interestingly, to enhance a Vo-Tech students appreciation of their passion for machines, automobiles, engineering, and technology.
16 year old Scooter's life has been off track ever since his older
brother, Eddie, ran away from home to seek fame driving in NASCAR. Then an apparently nutty solar guy comes to class one day. He has this amazing solar powered car – the Blue Monarch. And he needs a driver for a big race in Daytona. Scooter jumps at this chance to reunite the Racing Cochrans. But Big Oil will stop at nothing short of murder to prevent the Blue Monarch from winning the race and Eddie's dark secrets threaten to take the Blue Monarch out of the race before the green flag even waves. Can Scooter overcome these threats, and his own demons when
he gets behind the wheel, to drive the Blue Monarch to victory and save the world from global warming?
Racing the Blue Monarch is sure to appeal to gasket heads and amp heads and racing fans of all ages. Even as the story leans into a future vision of a solar powered world, it celebrates the heritage of old time NASCAR racing. The bulk of the action takes place at the Daytona Speedway. Fans will find references to the old time greats like Dale Earnhardt, the Intimidator, along with descriptions of specialized racing techniques used at this famous track.
Scooter is steeped in this tradition and his character models the kind of guy not often portrayed in fiction – a guy with a love of mechanics as an aesthetic, a craft & an art at the same time. One of his best lines in the book is “That's a real nice weld.” He's admiring the aluminum weld “smooth as frosting” that the kooky Professor Solar made on his flywheel-powered car. And that's where the real kinship between the two is born. They may not see eye to eye on the question of saving the world with solar power, but they certainly agree that there's no room in the universe for anything less than the perfect camber on a front wheel.
This is a story about friendship, betrayal, family reconciliation and a clash of values around the true meaning of racing. Scooter must wrestle with all these challenges and still he will not have answered the ultimate question that troubles him: Am I a race car driver? Neither Scooter – nor the reader – will know the answer to that until the checkered flag waves!