Cale Alexandros was five years old when his family's starship was attacked en route to Morningstar, the lone outpost of civilization on a savage planet. Cale escaped, only to be picked from the wreckage by nomads. He endured life as a slave until a sympathetic trader freed him, but Cale never forgot what happened in the desert wastes-in a strange, ancient temple, when he found a book with strange metal pages and cryptic writings.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
December 06, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo
They came across the water at night. There was no moon, but the sky was cold and clear and the stars were bright slivers of shining ice. The strangers came in four boats, six to each, and they rowed as quietly as possible; oars dipped gently into the cold black water, pulled deep and through, then carefully rose and swung forward, water dripping invisibly, almost silently from the dull wide blades.
Shivering, the boy watched from the shelter of rocks. He wanted to warn them, but he was afraid of what Petros and the others would do to him. They had beaten him regularly over the years ' because he had no father to do it, they said, no mother to scold him or slap his face. He worked hard for them, did whatever he was told, but it never seemed to be enough.
The boats were headed for the short, narrow strip of sandy beach. The boy crouched out on a spit of land that jutted into the lake, a clutter of rocks and driftwood and dead grasses. The boats would have to pass by on their approach to the beach. He could hear the creak of wood, the faintest splash of water, and he could see shards of starlight reflecting from metal and shining eyes.
The boy was tall for his age ' thirteen or fourteen, no one knew for sure ' and lanky. He crouched lower behind a large rock. The first boat slid past, so close he could have jumped into it. He counted the people ' two rowing and facing backward, four staring fixedly forward ' and looked for weapons, but the floor of the boat was too dark. It didn't matter. It wouldn't be enough for what they were about to encounter.
The second and third boats passed, then the fourth. So quiet. Tiny splashes and flashes in the black of the water. Their stealth was futile.
The first boat slowed as it neared the beach and the rowers pulled in their oars as wood hulls scraped against sand and gravel. Moments later the beach lit up with a burst of flames.
Petros and the others had ignited a string of fires just back from the water's edge, wood coated with oils and resins. Orange and scarlet flames roared and cracked and spit into the night sky like some great malevolent beast. Unable to stop in time, the second and third boats landed on the beach beside the first as a volley of flaming arrows shot between the fires, across the open sand and into the midst of the attackers. Some of the arrows missed their targets completely or deflected away and fell into the water with loud hissing, but others dug deeply into the wood or clattered still aflame inside the boats.
One arrow plunged into the back of an oarsman. He lurched forward in stupefied amazement, then jerked back with a harsh cry, the arrow tail lodging in the boat as he fell, the head driving up and through him until the shaft broke apart as he rolled onto his side and dropped from view.