It’s the most unlikely combination. A monkey on the loose, teen broadcasters seeking justice, our Founding Fathers forming a new government, and a madman out for revenge. The outcome is explosive!
In Antonino Fabiano’s third historical novel, Egmont Passage: Monkey Business, he weaves a fictional story around the “Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay” and the controversial issue of separation of church and state. The results are sometimes whacky, often heartwarming, and always an adventure.
The novel is set in Tampa Bay and historic Philadelphia, and centers around student broadcasters at Bayway High School. The story begins with a live BHS-TV newsfeed from Egmont Key where activists are protesting the Pledge of Allegiance. During the live report, one of the teens is injured in a mysterious explosion. The accident, if it was one, complicates matters for FBI agents who are already dealing with a mystery monkey, a community plagued with arson, stolen American flags and Bibles, and and an unpredictable madman.
Fabiano, a retired military officer and a Manatee County television production teacher, is familiar with working with teens. In fact, all three of his novels were inspired by his students.
“The old adage is ‘write what you know.‘ And working with high schoolers all day gives real insight into the workings of teenagers, and how they think and behave,” Fabiano said. Then, with a grin, he adds, “if that’s even possible.”
Although Monkey Business covers American history, it does not read like a history book. First, and foremost, the author says, his new book is about teenage escapade and hijinks with a historical backdrop.
“As an educator, I know how tough it is to get students to read, even if it’s a topic of interest,” Fabiano said. “If you can’t get them to read, what’s the point of writing? So I went about creating a storyline using history, but packed with mayhem, mystery, and magic.”
The magic comes in the form of a Spanish doubloon that has the power to transport the students back in time. To fight the activists protesting the Pledge, the teens must learn more about America’s true past. Using the doubloon, the teens are transported to Philadelphia, in July, 1776, where they gain insight about America’s founding from General George Washington, and the writers of the Declaration of Independence.
“I think there is a lot of misinformation about America’s religious roots,” Fabiano said. “My position won’t be popular in some circles, but the goal of Monkey Business is to provide facts against the argument that America was born theism-neutral.”
Fabiano hopes his novel will convince detractors that Jefferson’s separation of church and state quote does not mean separation from church and state.
“The phrase, separation of church and state, is not in any of our founding documents,” Fabiano emphasized. “It’s not in the Declaration, not in the Constitution, and not in the Bill of Rights.”
The formula of adventure and history works for Fabiano, as this is his third novel in the Egmont Passage trilogy. In the first book, Tale of the 7th Mystery, he covers Tampa Bay history; and in Tale of the Dreamcatcher, Fabiano covers another controversial issue, racism in Florida.
Despite it covering one of today’s hot-button issues, the role of God in the creation of America, Fabiano emphasized that the heart of his latest novel is about teen broadcasters who care enough of their community that they’re willing to put it all on the line for a cause greater than themselves. In the process, Fabiano adds with a smile, “they literally find themselves knee-deep in monkey business.”
For more information, contact the author’s marketing representative at, Lori Fabiano, at 727.954.3551. This book will soon be available for nationwide distribution. Antonino Fabiano’s books are currently available at Amazon.com, tidaltales.com, Haslam’s Bookstore, St. Petersburg; the Fort DeSoto Gift Shop; Tierra Verde Hardware and Gifts; the Gulf Beaches Museum, Pass-A-Grille; and Surf, Sun, and Sand, Anna Maria Island. ISBN: 1456400293
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