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Escape Through the Wilderness: Military Warrior's Intense New Novel Helps Prepare Nation's Youth to Be Strong Leaders & Triumph over Adversity

Masterfully crafted by Gary Rodriguez, ‘Escape Through the Wilderness’ tells the gripping story of four teenagers whose rafting accident forces them to fight for their survival and defy all odds to come out alive. Taking the book’s premise directly from his own military experiences, Rodriguez constructed the narrative to turn young readers into admirable leaders and explore issues related to faith, abuse and forgiveness.


Livermore, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/26/2015 -- Through his long and esteemed military career, during which he was awarded a coveted Silver Star (the nation's third highest award for gallantry in action), Gary Rodriguez frequently found himself in situations that would test his strength, perseverance and tenacity. But, most of all, they all wove together to make Rodriguez a bold and brave leader; qualities he is sharing with today's younger generation through his compelling new novel.

'Escape Through the Wilderness' fuses its edge-of-the-seat storyline with a wealth of powerful life lessons that young readers won't be forgetting any time soon.


Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics' accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn't stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the "last chance" marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they're bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

"The harsh truth is that today's younger generation needs to foster leadership skills; but parents and educators are at a loss on how to convey them," explains Rodriguez. "There's no better way to capture young minds than with a great story, hence why I am using it to instill focus, teamwork, respect, commitment and integrity."

Continuing, "But the story transcends any single life lesson to also help readers explore a series of pertinent life issues such as faith, forgiveness, abuse and bullying. In all it's a thought-provoking read that allows youngsters to absorb information in a way they just can't through traditional education channels."

Since its release, the book has garnered a string of rave reviews. Frank Thomas comments, "Bought this book for my daughter who loves to read--and she LOVED it! Afterwards, she passed it on to her friends at school and they thought it was really great too! As a parent, love finding quality books that are appropriate, remembered and meaningful and this is one of them. This book could probably be read by anyone of any age, but most enjoyable to between 9 to 16 year olds according to my daughter. Looking forward to future books by Gary Rodriguez! My compliments to you! Well-Done!"

Another parent adds, "My twelve year old son finished this book today and said at dinner tonight, "Mom this book is a 10/10! It has just the right amount of adventure, right amount of comedy, right amount of terror, right amount of romance...right amount of everything!" He is an avid reader of all sorts of genres and rarely gives a book a "10". Great story!!"

Patricia reveled in the book from the perspective of an educator, writing, "I really enjoyed this book. As a Reading Teacher I'm always looking for quality books that will quickly engage young readers and keep them reading all the way to the end. This book does exactly that. Students from about 4th grade on will enjoy the quick paced adventure as well as the meaningful character development. I appreciated the way the author concluded the story in a thoughtful way too. I'm recommending this book for AR. I hope others do the same."

'Escape Through the Wilderness', from Tate Publishing, is available now: http://amzn.to/1ErswgP.

About the author, in his own words
My name is Gary Rodriguez, and I live in California. I'm the president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development, and conflict resolution.

Previously, I worked for eighteen years in the radio business as an executive where I spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting.

Following a successful radio career I became the president of a non-profit organization for a season.

As a young man, I spent a tour of duty in the U.S. Army where I was recognized as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army's history at age 18 years. I was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation's third highest award for valor) while serving in a combat zone.

Over the past few years, I've written three non-fiction books and then I decided to write a novel.

My first book, Purpose-Centered Public Speaking, was published in 2009 and was re-published this summer (2014). Then I wrote a companion workbook designed to help people implement the principles taught in my first book. Next, I wrote Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking. And this past year, I wrote my first novel, Escape Through The Wilderness.