Claus: Legend of the Fat Man by Tony Bertausk

Some legends are forged in fire.
Others are born in snow.

In the early 1800s, Nicholas, Jessica and Jon Santa attempt the first human trek to the North Pole and stumble upon an ancient race of people left over from the Ice Age. They are short, fat and hairy. They slide across the ice on scaly soles and carve their homes in the ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean.

The elven are adapted to life in the extreme cold.

They are as wise as they are ancient. Their scientific advancements have yielded great inventions -- time-stopping devices and gravitational spheres that build living snowmen and genetically-modified reindeer that leap great distances. They’ve even unlocked the secrets to aging. For 40,000 years, they have lived in peace.

Until now.

An elven known as The Cold One has divided his people. He’s tired of their seclusion and wants to conquer the world. Only one elven stands between The Cold One and total chaos. He’s white-bearded and red-coated. The Santa family will help him stop The Cold One.

They will come to the aid of a legendary elven known as… Claus

This was a dark adventure story with very imaginative ideas on Elves, and Abominable creatures of the North Pole. I really enjoyed the history of the people, the way that had developed their lives, culture and physical looks. The detail that went into the book was creative and very fun to imagine. Except that this book was no Christmas fairytale. It was pretty dark, fighting for their lives and hard times through most of the book.

The evil Cold One has some ideas of his own on what he wants, even though that takes killing and manipulating those around him to get it. Nick is separated early on in the story from his family, kidnapped even. And it's their mission to find each other again.

This story is a mixture of the folklore of Santa Claus and the North Pole that Americans are used to, but much more. It's a more adult version with evil villains and a family fighting for their lives, finding friendship in the Elves and the combined purposes to beat the Cold One at his own game.

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