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The Five Ancestors Book 4: Craneby Jeff Stone
Synopses & Reviews
Twelve-year-old Hok sat perched high in a tree in a dreamlike state. All around her, Cangzhen was burning. Thick black smoke rushed over her on currents of air formed by the intense heat below. Her brothers, Fu, Malao, Seh, and Long, had already taken flight. It was time for her to do the same. Grandmaster had told them to scatter into the four winds, so into the wind she would go.
Hok spread her arms wide and let the warm, rising air lift her into the night sky. She welcomed the familiar feeling and soon found herself soaring through the darkness, circling higher and higher. Yet no matter how high she flew, she couldn't escape the smoke. It burned her eyes and obscured her vision. She had no choice but to descend once more. Maybe she could somehow fly around the trouble.
Below her, the Cangzhen compound came into view again. Through the smoky haze, Hok saw the outlines of a hundred fallen monks. She was as power-less to help them now as she had been during the attack. She frowned, and continued on.
Hok headed for Cangzhen's main gates and saw her former brother Ying just beyond them, his carved dragon face contorted into an angry scowl. Grand-master was with Ying, and so was her brother Fu. Hok watched as Ying cut Fu's cheek with his chain whip, then blasted a large hole clear through Grandmaster's upper body with a qiang.
Hok shuddered and blinked, and Ying disappeared like mythical dragons were rumored to do. Fu ran away, and Grandmaster slumped to the ground.
Behind her, Hok heard her youngest brother, Malao, giggle. She glanced back, but saw no sign of
him. Instead, she caught a glimpse of a monkey demon dancing across a burning rooftop-
What is going on? Hok wondered. She had had strange, vivid dreams before, but never one quite like this. Everything was so clear and so . . . violent.
The images got worse.
Hok saw Grandmaster suddenly stand, streams of smoke drifting in and out of the bloody hole in his chest. He glanced up at Hok soaring overhead, and his wrinkled bald head tumbled off his shoulders.
Hok shuddered again. She had had enough. She wanted to wake up. She pinched herself-and felt it-but nothing changed. She was still gliding on smoky currents of air. She felt as if she were asleep and awake at the same time.
Perhaps the smoke had something to do with it. If she could just get away from the smoke, maybe she could find a way to wake up. Hok glided beyond the tree line, skimming the treetops. She flew as low as possible, hoping that the drifting smoke would rise above her.
She hadn't gotten very far into the forest when she passed over a large hollow tree and caught a glimpse of herself burying Grandmaster's headless body inside it. Curious, Hok landed on a nearby limb and watched herself finish the job, then drift off to sleep inside the tree.
As Hok stared through the smoky darkness, she saw a soldier with the head of a mantis sneak into the tree hollow and sprinkle something over her sleeping face.
She had been drugged. That was why she was having trouble waking up.
With this realization came a dizzying sensation. Part of Hok's mind raced back to her lessons with Grandmaster concerning certain types of mushroom spores and different plant matter that, if inhaled, could put a person into a dreamlike fog for days on end. Hok grew certain that she was now only half-asleep, which mea
When she discovers that her brother, Ying, and his army have placed a huge price on her head, Hok, a crane-style Kung Fu master who has disguised herself as a boy for the last twelve years, returns to Keifeng where she finds help from an unexpected source. Reprint.
Hok, a crane-style Kung Fu master, is also a master at hiding. For the past 12 years, she has hidden the fact that she is a girl. Now her rogue brother, Ying, and his army have placed a huge price on her head. Fortunately, she manages to make it to Keifeng where she finds her mother and a "round-eye" with the very funny name of Charles. Together Hok and Charles start to make some sense of the magnitude of Ying's plans.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Jeff Stone practices the martial arts daily. He has worked as a photographer, an editor, a maintenance man, a technical writer, a ballroom dance instructor, a concert promoter, and a marketing director for companies that design schools, libraries, and skateboard parks. Like the heroes of The Five Ancestors series, Mr. Stone was adopted when he was an infant. He began searching for his birthmother when he was 18; he found her 15 years later. The author lives with his wife and two children in Carmel, IN.
From the Hardcover edition.
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