This is the author’s note for The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition
In 2004, I wrote a book called The Takers: Book One of the Oz Chronicles. It received a much better response from reviewers and readers than I could have hoped for. It won an award or two, and it even got the attention of some filmmakers. More importantly, a few of the bigger publishing companies expressed an interest in buying the rights to the book. I proceeded to take part in some preliminary talks with a couple of the houses. One editor in particular had a great deal of interest with one small caveat. He wanted some fairly extensive rewrites. I thought his suggestions were pretty solid so over the next couple of weeks I ripped apart The Takers and rewrote it with his suggestions in mind. He never gave me any specific direction, but he gave me a fairly clear overview of what he expected.
When I finished the rewrites, I handed it off to a few people I trust to see if I had ruined this book that so many people seemed to like. I was relieved when they insisted that it was actually better than the original. They were excited by the new direction. They insisted I hadn’t ruined the original. I had improved it.
My agent sent the rewritten manuscript to the editor, and we waited confidently for the announcement that this big publishing house was going to move forward with publication. In relatively short order, we did hear back, but it was devastating news. The editor hated the changes. He thought I made Oz a horrible person. He even went so far as to insist that I had created an unrealistic view of bullies. He did not believe anyone would treat Stevie so badly simply because he was different. It was at that point that I was glad he had decided to pass on The Takers.
The book you are about to read is the manuscript this editor hated. My agent continued to shop it around for two years after that episode. Other publishing companies showed interest, but ultimately opted not to publish the book. Thanks to the age of electronic publishing I can now make it available to you, dear readers, and you can decide if it’s better than original.
A note of caution: This version does not fit into the series. It contains about 40 new pages of story, and some characters and monsters have been altered just a bit. The biggest change is the ending. This is, if you will, an alternate universe version of The Takers.