Full-Blooded Fantasy is a one-of-a-kind collection featuring selections from eight of the best fantasy novels published today. Experience the remarkable storytelling of acclaimed fantasy writers such as Nancy Farmer, author of the award-winning The House of the Scorpion; Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, creators of the international phenomenon The Spiderwick Chronicles; and D. J. MacHale, author of the New York Times bestselling series Pendragon.
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Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
April 30, 2005
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Excerpt from Full-Blooded Fantasy by Nancy Farmer
Jack sat in a hollow near the Roman road. He was surrounded by bracken like a rabbit hiding from a fox. No one would be able to see him, but Jack intended to be even more invisible. He breathed in the green odors of earth and fern. He felt with his mind the damp roots of trees. Come forth, he called. Come forth to me. Cloak the air with your gray presences. Bring sea and sky together.
He felt, rather than saw, the curling mist. Sunlight muted to pearl white, to dove feather and dusk. Dampness flowed into his lungs. Water gathered on ferns. Round drops paused on the tips of leaves and fell, sending pale threads over moss. The air sighed and rustled with it.
He had never been so deep in the life force. He swam through it like a minnow, like a woodland creature with no more thought than to be. It was enough. It was more than enough. The glory and wonder of it swept him on.
"Jack ' Jack ' "
The voice reached him from a great distance. He turned from it, unwilling to become human again.
"Jack ' oh, please! I'm so cold and scared!"
He came to his senses. For a moment he was filled with unreasoning anger. How dare anyone disturb him!
He heard gulping, hiccuping cries that cut him to the heart. It was Lucy! She was nearby but hidden by a fog so thick and heavy, it frightened even Jack. He'd really outdone himself this time. "Lucy, I'm here," he called.
"Where's 'here' It's so dark and awful. I know there's monsters." She began to sob.
"Don't move, Lucy. Just keep talking so I can find you."
"When I went outside, it was sunny. You were supposed to be in the garden. Father said you were in the garden, but you weren't." Some of Lucy's fear was replaced by indignation.
Jack tripped over a rock and scratched himself on a branch.
"I saw you from far away," said Lucy. "You were walking fast. I wanted to call, but I didn't want Mother to know I was outside. She's been so mean to me today. She wouldn't let me play outside or anything."
Jack thought Mother was out of her mind with worry. She knew the danger they were in. So did Father, but he chose to ignore it.
"I walked to the Roman road, but you were gone. You went off and left me. Bad Jack! Then the fog came in really fast. It got dark and I got scared. Have you been doing magic Father says wizards do magic and then they go to Hell. Are you going to Hell "
"I couldn't even find it in this fog," muttered Jack. He felt the edge of the road with his feet. A moment later he saw Lucy crouched on the stones. He touched her arm, and she screamed. "It's me," he said, fending off her blows.
"Why did you sneak up on me like that " she wailed.
"I wasn't sneaking ' oh, never mind. Listen, I've got a very important job to do, and I need you to be quiet."
"I'm always quiet. I can keep my mouth shut for hours. Father says I'm like a dear little mouse. He said I was changed into a mouse by a bad fairy when I lived in the palace, but a good fairy changed me back."
"How about being quiet now " Jack said. It seemed to him the air was beginning to move. Perhaps a sea wind had sprung up.