A little boy called Doup once came to live in Crow Cove, a little community nestled by the sea. Now he's ready to go by his birth name, Alek, and discover his own place in the world. Alek's journey takes him to the fishing village of Last Harbor, where he lives with his bitter older brother, works at an inn--and rescues a beautiful girl from ship wreckers who have killed her family. Murder, romance, and the eternal cycle of life and death all play a role in the exciting conclusion to the acclaimed Children of Crow Cove series.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
June 19, 2012
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Alek by Bodil Bredsdorff
A mass of driftwood floated down the desolate shore. The waves pushed and shoved the ribs and staves and threw the wood toward land only to pull it out again.
The wood floated by a small cove with a few whitewashed houses and then farther along the stony beach. A split oar was thrown off course and all the way in to the water's edge, where it was seized and flung to higher ground beyond the reach of the waves.
* * *
The boy who had taken the oar from the sea dried his hand on his pants leg before he stuck it into his pocket again. The oar could lie there until a day when they collected driftwood. And they weren't doing that today.
They were searching, he and the young woman who walked next to him and the black dog that ran ahead of them.
They were searching for his little horse, which he had had as long as he could remember. Forever. It had eyes that looked black but were also clear as glass, brown like seaweed, and deep blue when you looked into them. And it had thick brown fur through which his hands had raked thousands of tracks, from the time they were small and hesitant to now when they were used to work and confident.
His little horse for which he had long been way too big.
He couldn't remember a day when he hadn't spoken to it, touched it, fed it, and groomed it--until it disappeared.
They had searched inland and up by the sheep, along the stream, behind bushes and rocks. Soon there would be no place left to search.
"We need to go home," said the woman, "before it gets dark."
He knew it.
"Glennie!" she shouted, but the dog didn't come back.
They could hear her barking farther down the coast where she had hunted out a flock of gulls. The birds fled inland with hoarse screams, leaving behind a carcass between the rocks.
* * *
The gulls had pecked out the horse's eyes before they began picking the meat from the bones. The empty eye sockets saw nothing under the dark forelock, which the wind ruffled thoughtlessly.
The boy stomped his foot.
"Oh, Myna, why didn't it stay in its stall?" he exclaimed.
She walked over and stood next to him.
"Maybe it preferred to die out here by the sea."
"It doesn't feel anything, and gulls are always hungry. To them it is not your horse but just some meat, lying here rotting."
Glennie had walked around the dead animal and carefully sniffed it. Now the dog sat down next to Myna and began to whimper.
"Come on! There's nothing we can do," said Myna, and patted Glennie on the head.
But the boy continued to stand and stare. The dog grew quiet and lay down, resting her head on her front paws. The gulls had sent out a lone scout, who circled high above them. Glennie lay stock-still, following it with her eyes.
"In a couple of days, I'll go and collect the skull," said Myna, "when it has been picked clean. Then we can use it for Dark Night."
They usually had a candle stuck in a ram's skull as the light that would burn all of Dark Night while the year died, until Light Morning when the New Year was born.
He nodded and turned away from the horse and started the walk back to the small cove. Myna and Glennie followed.
* * *
The wind had subsided, and the sky was gray and heavy and pulled the light out of the world and made the rocks slippery. He had to take his hands out of his pockets to keep his balance.
In between the rocks were small, stony beaches where they could walk side by side.
"I remember the first time I saw you," said Myna. Her hoarse voice was low and mild. "I asked you what your name was and you said Doup."
Doup smiled. "And that was just because I wanted soup." He had been very small. Myna had come to their house when his father was out of his mind with grief after his mother died, and taken Doup away with her to Crow Cove. He had lived with her ever since, even after his father, Frid, and his brother, Ravnar, had come after him and made their home in Crow Cove, too.
"Look," said Myna, and pointed out to sea.
A school of porpoises came tumbling close to the shore. Their dark backs with low dorsal fins drew arcs in the water. Myna and Doup watched them until they disappeared.
* * *
It was almost dark when they got home. There was no light in the first house they came to, so they continued across the bridge and steered toward the faint glow from the house on the opposite bank of the stream.
When they stepped into Frid and Foula's parlor, the air was warm and close with food smells. Five people sat around the table. Frid got up and came to meet them. He nodded at Myna and looked at Doup. The boy dried a drop of water off his nose with the back of his hand.
"We found the little horse," said Myna. "It's dead."
"It was old," said Frid. "It was older than you," he said to Doup, and carefully placed a hand on his son's shoulder.
"Come and have something to eat before the food gets cold," said Foula.
Doup shook his head, pulled away and sat down on the settle. Myna sat down at the table.
"Why is it dead?" asked a chubby little boy with his mouth full of food.
"Go ahead and eat, Cam!" said Foula, his mother.
"I am," said the boy, and went on. "How could you tell that it was dead? Had it closed its eyes?"
"It didn't have eyes at all anymore," said Doup. "The gulls had pecked them out."
"When there aren't any eyes," asked Cam, "what is there then? What's behind them?"
"Now be quiet and eat!" said Foula.
"Bones," answered Doup. "That's what's left."
But that night when he lay in his bed, it wasn't a skull with empty eye sockets he saw.
It was a head in flesh and blood with a pair of blue, blue eyes and a dark forelock, which fell down constantly, every time it was pushed back.