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The Poisoned Crownby Amanda Hemingway
Synopses & Reviews
Define the Irish Question between 1800 and 1917, Nathan read aloud.
If we knew the question, his mother said, we might be able to work out the answer.
I don't think that'll satisfy Mr. Selkirk, Nathan said, sighing. He pushed his history essay aside and replaced it with a plate of buttered toast with honey and cinnamon, a recipe of his uncle's. The honey had oozed just the right distance through the toast and he bit into it with enthusiasm, if a little absentmindedly.
His mother noted his abstraction and knew or guessed the reason, but was prudent enough to say nothing. He was fifteen now, too told to press for confidences. She only hoped, if there was trouble, he would tell her in the end. The summer had been long and uneventful, a summer of normal teenage preoccupations: success (and failure) at cricket, doing homework, not doing homework, friends, fads, hormonal angst. They had managed a trip to Italy, looking at palaces and pictures in Florence and then staying with Nathan's classmate Ned Gable and his family in a villa in Umbria. Annie had feared they would never afford their share of the rental but somehow Uncle Barty had found the money, though he wouldn't accompany them. These days he rarely left the old manor at Thornyhill, deep in the woods.
Yet he wasn't really a stay-at-home sort of person. He had told Annie once that he was born in Byzantium before the fall of the Roman Empire, which, she worked out, made him about fifteen hundred years old. He called himself Bartlemy Goodman, though it was probably not his name. She might have thought him mad or unusually eccentric if she hadn't known him so well and seen what he could do, when the occasion demanded it. He had taken her in on a cold lonely night long ago when she was pursued by invisible enemies, becoming an uncle to both her and Nathan, and as her son grew up into strange adventures Bartlemy had been their counselor and support. But there had been no adventures this summer, and now autumn was failing, and the wind blew from the north, plucking the last ragged leaves from the treetops, and Nathan was restless with the feeling of deeds undone, and worlds to be saved, and time slipping away.
Soon, Annie thought, he'll start sleeping badly, and there was a tiny squeeze of fear at her heart that she could not suppress.
I sleep too deep, Nathan thought, and I dream too little and too lightly. The portal was closed, the connection broken: he could no longer roam the multiverse in his head, following trails he could not see on a quest he did not understand. He had dreamed his way through other worlds--the ghost-city of Carboneck in Wilderslee, and the sky-towers of Arkatron on Eos, where the Grandir, supreme ruler of a dying cosmos, sought for the Great Spell that would be the salvation of his people. Nathan had retrieved the Cup and the Sword to bind the magic, and now only the Crown was wanting--the Crown and the sacrifice and the words of power, whatever they might be. But there had been no dreams for nearly a year, and the pleasures of cricket and the problems of history were not enough to fill his life.
How's Hazel? his mother asked, helping herself to a piece of his toast. I haven't seen her lately.
Hazel was Nathan's closest friend: they had grown up almost as brother and sister, though getting on rather better than
An exceptional teenage boy possessing extraordinary powers, Nathan races against time to collect three Grail relics before his own world, as well as the parallel worlds into which he dreams himself, can be devastated by evil witchcraft, all the while struggling to cope with turmoil of adolescent romance. Original. 15,000 first printing.
Nathan Ward’s unique ability to enter his dreams and parallel worlds has followed him into adolescence. With Nathan’s growing maturity comes a deeper understanding of his mission; he must stop an insidious and pervasive evil. Queen Nefufar’s dark power is growing. In the strange world Nathan visits, land is a distant memory, save for the rumored islands and melting ice caps. The queen’s dream of extinguishing the lungbreathers, including man, and ruling over a watery kingdom of cold-blooded creatures is in reach.
Meanwhile, in another dimension, on Earth, there are rumblings of doom. Nathan senses a shift in the atmosphere, and the wizard of the Cosmos broods over the imbalance. There is one chance for salvation: Nathan must capture the third Grail relic, a poisoned iron crown that Nefufar keeps locked beneath the ocean in a chamber of air. But how can a mere boy make his way millions of miles down into the boiling, watery depths and capture the crown from a ferocious seadragon?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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