Once upon a time there was a kingdom called Cornucopia. At first glance, you’d probably say this tiny realm was blessed. It’s a pleasant land ruled by a vain but generally harmless monarch named King Fred the Fearless. (He dubbed himself Fearless “because it sounded nice with ‘Fred,’ but also because he’d once managed to catch and kill a wasp all by himself, if you didn’t count five footmen and the boot boy.”)
All of the kingdom’s domains tend to be lush and green; cities and towns are places where nobody is ever hungry or poor. Each city, as a matter of fact, is known for its own brand of charm as well as a specific line of culinary delights.
Chouxville, for instance, sports the most delicious mouth-watering pastries. The twin cities of Kurdsburg and Baronstown are known far and wide for their incredible cheeses and fine smoked meats, respectively. And to wash all of those delicacies down, the city of Jeroboam creates the finest wines ever tasted.
In truth, it’s only when you get up to the marshy areas in the far north of the kingdom that you run into any barren fields, scrub grass or people of less-than-cheery dispositions. It’s been said that “the only memorable thing that had ever come out of the Marshlands was the legend of the Ickabog.”
Now, not many people have ever said they believe in this boogeyman-like creature. Its story is used mainly to prompt children to brush their teeth or do homework. And if you ask 20 people about the Ickabog, you’ll likely get twenty different stories about what it looks like or what it can do. That beast has been said to eat children and sheep; it’s sometimes as huge as an elephant and other times spews fire like a dragon. Some say the Ickabog spits poison or heals itself magically. The colorful tales are both broad and deep. But they all seem designed to make you afraid.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t more frightening monsters out there than an Ickabog.
In Cornucopia’s case, those fearful and terrible things rise up because of a series of unfortunate events with snowballing consequences. Out of those regrettable happenings, foolish, vain choices are made, someone is killed, and then two diabolical men in King Fred’s court weave a plot to cover up their wrongdoings.
And before you can say “a lie spreads faster than the truth,” both a weak-minded king and his entire populace are quaking in fear that, yes, the Ickabog is not only real, but it has acquired a taste for human flesh. And it wants more. Those fiendish courtiers, the lean and cunning Lord Spittleworth and the corpulent and bootlicking Lord Flapoon, are quickly surprised at the power a little fear and a lot of foolishness can create.
As more people are killed, kidnaped, imprisoned and blackmailed, and as families are torn asunder, all in an effort to keep a truth from rearing its head, evil grows stronger and the kingdom begins to crumble.
It’s up to two childhood friends—who are now as good as orphans—to find a way to reveal the truth. It’s up to them to point out a real monster or two … and to find the real Ickabog!