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Keys To the Kingdom #03: Drowned Wednesday


Keys To the Kingdom #03: Drowned Wednesday Cover

ISBN13: 9780439436564
ISBN10: 0439436567
Condition: Standard
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Only 3 left in stock at $5.50!




A three-masted square-rigger with iridescent green sails that shone by day or night, the Flying Mantis was a fast and lucky ship. She sailed the Border Sea of the House, which meant she could also sail any ocean, sea, lake, river or other navigable stretch of liquid on any of the millions of worlds of the Secondary Realms.

On this voyage, the Flying Mantis was cleaving through the deep blue waters of the Border Sea, heading for Port Wednesday. Her holds were stuffed with goods bought beyond the House and illnesses salvaged from the Border Sea?s grasping waters. There were valuables under her hatches: tea and wine and coffee and spices, treats for the Denizens of the House. But her strongroom held the real treasure: coughs and sniffles and ugly rashes and strange stuttering diseases, all fixed into pills, snuff or whalebone charms.

With such rich cargo, the crew was nervous and the lookouts red-eyed and anxious. The Border Sea was no longer safe, not since the unfortunate transformation of Lady Wednesday several thousand years before and the consequent flooding of the Sea?s old shore. Wednesday?s Noon and Dusk had been missing ever since, along with many of Wednesday?s other servants, who used to police the Border Sea.

Now the waters swarmed with unlicensed salvagers and traders, some of whom would happily turn to a bit of casual piracy. To make matters worse, there were full-time pirates around as well. Human ones, who had somehow got through the Line of Storms and into the Border Sea from some earthly ocean.

These pirates were still mortal (unlike the Denizens) but they had managed to learn some House sorcery and were foolish enough to dabble in the use of Nothing. This made them dangerous, and if they had the numbers, their human ferocity and reckless use of Nothing-fuelled magic would usually defeat their more cautious Denizen foes.

The Flying Mantis had lookouts in the fighting tops of each of its three masts, one in the forepeak, and several on the quarterdeck. It was their task to watch for pirates, strange weather and the worst of all things ? the emergence of Drowned Wednesday, as Lady Wednesday was now known.

Most of the ships that now sailed the Border Sea had incompetent lookouts and inferior crews. After the Deluge, when the Border Sea swept over nine-tenths of Wednesday?s shore-based wharves, warehouses, counting rooms and offices, more than a thousand of the higher rooms had been rapidly converted into ships. All these ships were crewed by former stevedores, clerks, rackers, counters, tally-hands, sweepers and managers. Though they?d had several thousand years of practice, these Denizens were still poor sailors.

But not the crew of the Flying Mantis. She was one of Wednesday?s original forty-nine ships, commissioned and built to the Architect?s design. Her crew members were nautical Denizens, themselves made expressly to sail the Border Sea and beyond. Her Captain was none other than Heraclius Swell, 15,287th in precedence within the House.

So when the mizzentop lookout shouted, ?Something big? err? not that big? closing off the port bow? underwater!? both Captain and crew reacted as well-trained professionals of long experience.

?All hands!? roared the mate who had the watch. ?Beat to quarters!?

His cry was taken up by the lookouts and the sailors on deck, followed only seconds later by the sharp rattle of a drum as the ship?s boy abandoned his boot polish and the Captain?s boots to take up his sticks.

Denizens burst out from below decks. Some leapt to the rigging to climb aloft, ready to work the sails. Some stood by the armoury to receive their crossbows and cutlasses. Others raced to load and run out the guns, though the Flying Mantis only had eight working cannons of its usual complement of sixteen. Guns and gunpowder that worked in the House were very hard to come by, and always contained dangerous specks of Nothing. Since the toppling of Grim Tuesday fourteen months before, powder was in very short supply. Some said it was no longer being made, and some said it was being stockpiled for war by the mysterious Lord Arthur, who now ruled both the Lower House and the Far Reaches.

Captain Swell climbed on to the quarterdeck as the cannons rumbled out on the main deck, their red wooden wheels squealing in complaint. He was a very tall Denizen, even in stockinged feet, who always wore the full dress coat of an admiral from a small country on a small world in a remote corner of the Secondary Realms. It was turquoise blue, nipped in very tightly at the waist, and had enormous quantities of gold braid on the shoulders and cuffs. Consequently Captain Swell shone even more brightly than the green sails of his ship.

?What occurs, Mister Pannikin?? Swell asked his First Mate, a Denizen as tall as he was, but considerably less handsome. At some time Pannikin had lost all his hair and one ear to a Nothing-laced explosion, and his bare skull was ridged with scars. He sometimes wore a purple woollen cap, but the crew claimed that made him look even worse.

?Mysterious submersible approaching the port bow,? reported Pannikin, handing his spyglass to the Captain. ?About forty feet long by my reckoning, and coursing very fast. Maybe fifty knots.?

?I see,? said the Captain, who had clapped the telescope to his eye. ?I think it must be? yes. Milady has sent us a messenger. Stand the men down, Mister Pannikin, and prepare a side-party to welcome our illustrious visitor. Oh, and tell Albert to bring me my boots.?

Mister Pannikin roared orders as Captain Swell refocused his telescope on the shape in the water. Through the powerful lens, he could clearly see a dull golden cigarshape surging under the water towards the ship. For a second it was unclear what propelled it so quickly. Then its huge yellow-gold wings suddenly exploded ahead and pushed back, sending the creature rocketing forward, the water behind it exploding into froth.

?She?ll broach any moment,? muttered one of the crewmen to his mate at the wheel behind the Captain. ?Mark my words.?

He was right. The creature?s wings broke the surface and gathered air instead of water. With a great flexing leap and a swirl of sea, the monster catapulted itself up higher than the Flying Mantis?s maintop. Shedding water like rain, it circled the ship, slowly descending towards the quarterdeck.

At first it looked like a golden winged shark, all sleek motion and a fearsome, toothy maw. But as it circled, it shrank. Its cigar-shaped body bulged and changed, and the golden sheen ebbed away before other advancing colours. It became roughly human-shaped, though still with golden wings.

Then, as its wings stopped flapping and it stepped the final foot down to the deck, it assumed the shape of a very beautiful woman, though even the ship?s boy knew she was really a Denizen of high rank. She wore a riding habit of peach velvet with ruby buttons, and sharkskin riding boots complete with gilt spurs. Her straw-coloured hair was restrained by a hairnet of silver wire, and she tapped her thigh nervously with a riding crop made from the elongated tail of an albino alligator.

?Captain Swell.?

?Wednesday?s Dawn,? replied the Captain, bending his head as he pushed one stockinged foot forward. Albert, arriving a little too late, slid along the deck and hastily tried to put the proffered foot into the boot he held.

?Not now!? hissed Pannikin, dragging the lad back by the scruff of his neck.

The Captain and Wednesday?s Dawn ignored the boy and the First Mate. They turned together to the rail and looked out at the ocean, continuing to talk while hardly looking at each other.

?I trust you have had a profitable voyage to date, Captain??

?Well enough, Miss Dawn. May I inquire as to the happy chance that has led you to grace my vessel with your presence??

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Shoshana, May 17, 2008 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Part 3 of the Keys to the Kingdom series. As the narrative continues, Arthur builds more alliances. Unlike the previous two denizens Arthur has vanquished, Drowned Wednesday promises to abdicate in exchange for his help. More of the broader backstory is filled in and the reader learns more about the Architect and her family, as well as the Raised Rats. Meanwhile, the threats in Arthur's own world increase. The speed picks up in this volume, which is a mercy.
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crowyhead, October 23, 2007 (view all comments by crowyhead)
I enjoyed this a little more than Grim Tuesday. The setting was a lot of fun, and I loved the Raised Rats. I'm glad that Nix is shaking things up just a little bit, with Wednesday being of a different nature than Tuesday.
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Product Details

Nix, Garth
Scholastic Paperbacks
Action & Adventure
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Fantasy
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Science Fiction
Action & Adventure - General
Fantasy & Magic
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Keys to the Kingdom
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 4 up to 7
7.63 x 5.25 in
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Series

Keys To the Kingdom #03: Drowned Wednesday Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Scholastic Paperbacks - English 9780439436564 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A]nother great entry with a cliff-hanger ending."
"Review" by , "[T]hose who appreciated the freewheeling invention of Mister Monday (2003) and Grim Tuesday (2004) will emerge from the third book with enthusiasm unabated."
"Review" by , "Nix is endlessly inventive, and his latest book is another thrill ride....[T]eens who love highly original fantasy will eat this one up."
"Synopsis" by ,
The next spellbinding book in best-selling author Garth Nix's magical Keys to the Kingdom series.

Everyone is after Arthur Penhaligon. Strange pirates. Shadowy creatures. And Drowned Wednesday, whose gluttony threatens both her world and Arthur's.

With his unlimited imagination and thrilling storytelling, Garth Nix has created a character and a world that become even more compelling with each book. As Arthur gets closer to the heart of his quest, the suspense and mystery grow more and more intense. . . .

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