David’s Books


Webs of Origin

A 10,000-foot view of of the past, offering histories that span centuries, millennia, and more – and yet explain our world today.


The Jericho River

An exciting young adult fantasy teaches the history of the Middle East and Western Civilization. The Jericho River educates and entertains middle and high school students, weaving real history and myth into an engaging adventure. It’s an award-winning novel, ideal for world history, world cultures, ancient history, Western Civilization, and other social studies classes — and for distance learning, homeschooling, and school libraries. Teachers and parents will love the free, curriculum-aligned resources, including lesson plans, maps, timelines, and illustrations.

Praise for The Jericho River

— Christopher White, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religion in America, Vassar College

This is a clever, well-written first book that’s hard to put down. Jason’s journey down The Jericho River is a story about growing up, understanding life and death and finding a sense of wonder for the mystery of human life. It has something for everyone — interesting historical notes about western history and religion, a narrative that probes the meaning of personal maturity and change, and one hero’s unexpected discovery of the power of older myths, traditions and symbols that modernity had abandoned. The Jericho River is an exciting retelling of the history of western civilization, one that makes us question how that history unfolded and wonder what might have been.
— Christopher White, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religion in America, Vassar College; author of Unsettled Minds: Psychology and the American Search for Spiritual Assurance

— Midwest Book Review

This epic follows young Jason Gallo on a quest to rescue his historian father – and the journey leads him through chronological epochs of Western history … The genesis of myths, legends, and cultural relics flow through this adventure that is as educational as it is entertaining! Highly recommended.

— Midwest Book Review

— C.J. Leger

The Jericho River is meaty – it features a lot of reliable information and a large effort was made to bring context and visual understanding to the reader, something not many historical fiction novels do. …
The reader is effectively experiencing the inability to comprehend … because they are immersed into the mindset of a teenager processing the information for the very first time. …
The creation of strange creatures and mythical environments is extremely creative and portrays a talented David Tollen with an imagination worthy of the silver screen. The book is also fast-paced and action-packed from start to finish … [A] must read for history buffs everywhere who will receive great joy in coming across contextual adventures they’ll surely be familiar with.
 C.J. Leger

— A. A. Attanasio, Nebula-nominated author of the Radix Tetrad novels

It’s a grand adventure! The action never stops. What a fabulous vehicle for the memes of history …. The Jericho River provides a genuine service and benefit — in a package that is wholly entertaining….
— A. A. Attanasio, Nebula-nominated author of the Radix Tetrad novels

— ZoeDessoye1, teen blogger at LitPick.com

I was learning new information and being thoroughly entertained with the action all at the same time. … The historical situations were so engaging and action-packed, I would have enjoyed even more of this book; it was very well written and enjoyable.
— ZoeDessoye1, teen blogger at LitPick.com

— Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer, 5-star review

Wow. Just, wow.

— Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer, 5-star review

— Philip Bigler, 1998 National Teacher of the Year

The Jericho River is a delightful, mystical romp through World History. Beginning with ancient Sumer and progressing rapidly to modern times, it is a useful gateway book which will appeal to younger readers and should encourage them to look deeper into the past and ultimately to assume the challenges of more traditional sources. The regular inclusions of excerpts from the lectures of William Gallo add to this appeal and are stimulating and thought provoking. Through historical fiction, David [Tollen] has provided a valuable tool for teachers and students in their continuing quest to study the past.
— Philip Bigler, 1998 National Teacher of the Year

— Robert J. Littman, M.Litt., Ph.D., Professor of Classics, University of Hawaii

The Jericho River is an intriguing and fun way to learn history. Historical novels have often been a vehicle for this, but often they distort history. On the other hand, The Jericho River is a carefully researched and very accurate journey through Western Civilization that will appeal not only to the teenage audience but to adults as well. You can trust the accuracy of detail and depth of interpretation, and at the same time you learn history in an exciting manner and with an entertaining read.
— Robert J. Littman, M.Litt., Ph.D., Professor of Classics, University of Hawaii; author of The Greek Experiment: Imperialism and Social Conflict: 800-400 B.C.A Concise History of the Jewish People, and other works

— The Northern Star

In my opinion, David [Tollen] is a pioneer in educational evolution, a man who has found a way to … teach us by supplanting and supporting historical education with entertainment. … This book smashes the molds of cookie cutter education, then uses the fragments remaining to create a mosaic of myth and magic that follows the fabric of time. … I hope to soon see this book as required reading material in literature and/or history classes in schools, and more books like it, written on other subject matters.
— The Northern Star

— Leslie Wright at BlogCritics.org

Utilizing the past and history throughout it’s a wonderful mythical and epic tale of danger and excitement, and [Tollen] finds a way to introduce both myth and history in order to keep the reader fascinated. … It is also intriguing for anyone who enjoys a great romp into the past, with myths, history and adventures of worth. Tollen does a great job of making history fun.
— Leslie Wright at BlogCritics.org

— Reviews by Amos Lassen

The adventure and the quest are so well done that we forget that this is a history lesson.
— Reviews by Amos Lassen

— Dad of Divas Reviews

This was an amazing book that … makes history come alive and jump out. As I was reading this book I came to find that I did not want to put it down as on every page there seemed to be something new that I was learning! What was best about this book was that the author placed all of this fact into a novel and made history fun to read and experience. So hold on to your hat and be ready for a fun ride as this book will take you on an adventure that you will not forget!
— Dad of Divas Reviews

— Graham Peacock, M.Ed, Principal Lecturer in Education, Sheffield Hallam University

The cast of characters in The Jericho River is huge, the canvas of history is enormous and the tale telling is ambitious. Many young people and adults would gain a great deal from reading Jericho River. The lecture notes interspersed throughout the text are very enjoyable and hold many nuggets of really entertaining and thought-provoking facts and opinions. Discourses range from thoughts on cherubs and bare back riding in the Bronze Age to the conversion of the Khazars to Judaism in the Dark Ages. It all seems to hang together and the wide range of ideas seem to sit happily side by side in this erudite and entertaining work.
— Graham Peacock, M.Ed, Principal Lecturer in Education, Sheffield Hallam University; author of The Oxford Primary Science Dictionary, Primary Science: Teaching Theory and Practice, and other works

— Mark Rose, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of English, U.C. Santa Barbara

The Jericho River is a fast moving quest romance that follows its young hero down the river of time from early Mesopotamia to the present day. Lots of action and lots of history are cleverly woven together in a light-hearted narrative that ultimately insists on the values of magic and wonder as opposed to the mere calculus of utilitarian science.
— Mark Rose, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of English, U.C. Santa Barbara; author of Alien Encounters: Anatomy of Science Fiction, and other books; editor of The Norton Shakespeare Workshop; former Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute

— richardblake Book Reviews

Tollen has a unique flare for adding pageantry, magic, and mysticism to historical fact, with a fast moving plot, and vivid characterizations. This is an introduction to history for a new generation of teenagers, with a fascinating twist for adult fantasy enthusiasts.
— richardblake Book Reviews

— Larry Townsend, author of Secrets of the Wholly Grill

In The Jericho River, a relatively short novel, David [Tollen] manages to chart the course of human history – and with countless refreshing takes on it. It is historically illuminating to be sure, for young and old alike, but it is first and foremost a wonderful story about a boy and his relationship to his father, told with plenty of adventure, magic, and humor.
— Larry Townsend, author of Secrets of the Wholly Grill

— Pamela Pizzimenti, teacher and author of The River Whispers

Against his will Jason Gallo is thrust into the land of Fore on a quest to find his missing father. Jason follows a rollercoaster ride of an adventure through a number of ancient civilizations, including Ancient Sumer, Egypt, Greece, and even … Medieval Europe. He meets up with mythical creatures, barbarians, and an Egyptian priestess. Jason learns about courage, betrayal, love and friendship, but most importantly, he begins healing the resentment he has towards his father and discovers he may have more in common with his father than he thought. … [Tollen] weaves historical information into this fast paced adventure, making learning about history fun for any reader. As an educator, I recommend The Jericho River for anyone looking to enhance an ancient civilization curriculum.
— Pamela Pizzimenti, teacher and author of The River Whispers

— Merwyden Suluai, 2010 American Samoa Teacher of the Year; M.Ed. Elementary Teacher, American Samoa Department of Education; Master Teacher Trainer, University of Hawaii

The JerichoRiver fascinated me. With historical excerpts woven throughout this story of myths and fantasy, I was intrigued from the beginning to the end. I wanted to go trekking along with Jason Gallo on his marvelous adventures as he met interesting characters along the way while also learning more about his father and himself. Hence, not only was this book wonderfully entertaining it was also a fabulous way to interest young people to learn more about the past, present, and possibly the future.
— Merwyden Suluai, 2010 American Samoa Teacher of the Year; M.Ed. Elementary Teacher, American Samoa Department of Education; Master Teacher Trainer, University of Hawaii

Secrets of Hominea

Secrets of Hominea educates and entertains middle school readers, along with 4th and 5th -graders. Teachers and parents will love the educational resources, including questions for discussion and reading guides — all great for homeschooling, remote learning, and the classroom.


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Six Milestones

These six histories shape our world, yet they’re seldom told. This unique booklet recounts six pivotal events – ancient, medieval, and modern – in brief and simple language, accompanied by detailed maps and beautiful original illustrations.

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