Book II of The Celestine Chronicles,
their quest. One of the boys, Kelvin, is living as royalty in Dokur,
and Marcus is studying magic with Zyll. When Lord Fredric is murdered and Kelvin
becomes king, the Enchanter Zyll and Marcus head for Dokur in hopes of protecting Kelvin from
meeting the same fate, though it quickly becomes apparent that none of them are
safe, and Marcus has had disturbing visions of Zyll’s death. With the help of
his old friends Clovis and Bryn, joined by new friend Lael, a feisty girl in
search of her mother, Marcus uncovers a powerful secret that will change the
course of his life forever.
EXCERPT from THE LAST ENCHANTER
before heading back down the corridor. Zyll had told him to do what he thought
was best, and that’s exactly what he would do.
made his way through the lower level of the Fortress. Kelvin was determined not
to let the Agoran rebels get inside again. Maybe Marcus shouldn’t worry about
his brother. With all these guards around, Kelvin was far safer than Fredric
must have been. Still, he deserved to know how their grandfather died. Secrets
had nearly destroyed Marcus and Kelvin’s relationship during their quest eight
months ago. There would be no secrets between them ever again.
Jayson were probably still arguing over dinner, and what Marcus had to say was
private anyway. He would go instead to Kelvin’s council chambers and wait for
quiet. Most of the servants had already retired to their rooms for the night.
Marcus hurried across the vast entry hall toward the east alcove where the
offices were located. He had made it halfway when he suddenly had the feeling
that he was not alone. He turned and
looked behind him, but there was no one beside the guard standing at the
Fortress’s main door. The light from several oil lamps left the corners of the
room hidden in darkness. Someone could easily conceal himself in one.
tricks on me. Still, he walked the rest of the way as fast as he could without
narrow alcove. To Marcus’s surprise, the sconces on the wall were not lit. The
alcove was dark except for a weak glow from the lanterns in the great
hall. He had expected to find a guard
here, too, but the alcove was empty—or was it?
clump of something on the floor. He approached cautiously and touched it with
his foot. An arm fell forward, hitting
the floor with a dull thump. Marcus stepped back, his breath quickening. The
dark clump was a sentry. In the dim light, Marcus couldn’t tell if he was
unconscious or dead.
guards. “There’s a man here,” he said. “I think he’s hurt!”
imagination was running away with him. But he did need to find help for the
sentry. He was about to leave when he heard a new sound coming from inside the
chambers: an unmistakable rattle as if something had fallen and rolled across
door handle. Slowly he turned it, pushing open the door just an inch.
Candlelight spilled through the narrow crack into the alcove. Marcus saw now
that the sentry’s eyes were open, staring dully up at nothing. He was most
certainly dead. And Marcus suspected that whoever was inside the room had done
inside. Large tapestries hung floor to ceiling against the walls. Three stories
above, the stained glass ceiling looked like a patchwork of black and gray.
Charred remains of a log stood cold in the fireplace, though six candles burned
in an ornate candelabra beside Kelvin’s desk. On the floor lay an ink bottle,
dark liquid trailing from it like a tail. This must be what had made the noise.
Marcus bent to pick it up. The glass bottle felt warm to the touch.
warm? Someone must have been holding it, Marcus thought, but who?
from the corner of his eye. A tapestry fluttered ever so slightly. Marcus’s
heart raced. He reached for his knife, but then remembered he had left it in
his room for he had thought he was just going to talk to Kelvin. What would he
have needed it for? He reached for the tapestry with trembling fingers and
jerked it aside, but the only thing behind it was a bare wall.
pain exploded across his shoulders, and Marcus’s face smashed into the wall. He
felt drops of hot blood trickle onto his lips. Licking them, he tasted copper,
and he wondered if the loud crack he’d heard had been his back breaking or
something else. He turned and saw Kelvin’s chair in pieces behind him on the
floor. Someone had thrown it at him! He had only a second to think before
something else came flying at him, but this time it was a man.
hand just before it came down on him. Marcus twisted away just in time, the
blade grating instead against the stone wall. But the man did not stop. He
sliced his dagger wildly in every direction. Marcus jumped and slid his way
across the room, doing his best avoid the attacks. The man was slender, almost
frail-looking, and yet was surprisingly fast and strong. He lunged at Marcus,
not with the dagger, but with a set of blood-stained claws extended for the
kill. It wasn’t a man at all, Marcus realized. It was an Agoran.
the candles flew off. Two went out as they hit the floor, but the other four
stilled burned, casting long, unnatural shadows onto the tapestries. One lit
the corner of a tapestry on fire, the flames soon licking the woven patterns
like a hungry snake. The candelabrum hit the attacker with a force that would
have knocked most men to their knees, but this one didn’t even flinch. When the
Agoran took hold of it, Marcus expected him to yank it out of his hands. Instead
he thrust it forward, pushing Marcus off balance. He fell onto his back,
sending a fresh tremor of pain through him. A second later, the attacker was on
top of Marcus, holding the point of a blade to his throat. Damp tendrils of
long, shaggy hair clung to his face. His pupils, narrow like a cat’s, peered at
Marcus, recognition slowly dawning. The
Agoran and Marcus stared at each other, both remembering the day months earlier
when they had first met.
in, his sword raised. Behind him came Kelvin and Jayson. The Agoran leapt off
of Marcus and crossed the room in half a breath’s time. The guard ran after
him, but the Agoran tore the burning tapestry free from the wall and flung it
at him. The guard screamed in pain as fire engulfed his uniform. The tapestry
dropped to the floor, the flames trapping the Agoran at the back of the room.
Marcus managed to roll clear of it, though he felt his skin blistering with the
heat and smelled the guard’s scorched flesh.
Kelvin picked up his fallen sword. Kelvin slashed at the tapestry, trying to
make a path through the fire. As he broke through, Marcus looked up to see what
would happen next, but to his and everyone’s surprise, the Agoran was gone.
BELDEN MYSTERIES. I still have the entire set of books in a box in my
garage. Some of my other favorites included ROBINSON CRUSOE, OF MICE AND
MEN, GONE WITH THE WIND, WUTHERING HEIGHTS and ROOTS. Heavy duty stuff
for a kid, I know, but I loved them. Still do. As an adult I learned
more about writing from Dan Brown (THE DAVINCI CODE, ANGELS &
DEMONS) than anyone else. He is a master of suspense, every chapter a
cliffhanger so that you just can’t put his books down. Period. And I
love how he weaves multiple points of view together until they all
collide at the end. I wish I could write like that.
night before they go to bed. When my oldest son was about 8 years old,
he asked me to make up a story instead of read one. So I told him about
an enchanter’s apprentice who botched his spells. Each night my son
would tell me what he wanted to hear that night, whether it was dragons,
or magic, or sword fighting, and I’d weave it into the story.
Eventually I started writing it down. A year later I had a completed
manuscript of THE ROCK OF IVANORE. I wrote THE LAST ENCHANTER two years later.
What is your writing day like?
Will there be a book III in The Celestine Chronicles?
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