Reckless I: The Petrified Flesh (Mirrorworld Series) Paperback – June 1, 2021
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Twelve Years Later
The sun already stood low over the walls of the burned ruin,
but Will was still asleep, exhausted from the pain and the fear
of what would was growing in his flesh. One mistake. After
twelve years of caution.
Jacob covered his brother with his cloak and looked up
at the sky. The two moons were already visible and the setting
sun blackened the surrounding hills. He had made this
world his home. Twelve years were a long time. By fourteen
he already couldn’t count the months he had spent behind the
mirror, despite his mother’s tears, despite her helpless fear for
him… “Where have you been, Jacob? Please! Tell me!” How?
How could he have told her without loosing the precious freedom
the mirror granted him, all the life he had found behind
it, the feeling to be so much more himself behind its glass.
“Where have you been, Jacob?” She had never found out.
He had told Will of this world, convinced his brother
would believe it all to be nothing but a fairy tale. He should
have known him better. Why didn’t he realize that his stories
would fill Will with the same yearning that drove him
through the mirror? Be honest, Jacob, you didn’t want to think
about it. No. He had longed to share what he had found with
someone, and as his father’s study had kept the mirror’s
secret for so many years, it had been far too easy to convince
himself that it would be safe there forever.
Maybe it would have been if he hadn’t been so eager to
go back. He had forgotten only once to lock the door, and
his hand was already pressed against the dark glass when
Will walked in. It is so tempting to escape one’s bad conscience
by changing worlds. Everything in the apartment
had reminded Jacob that he had been looking for a glass shoe
while his mother was dying. You have deserted her, Jacob,
her empty room had whispered. Exactly like your father.
In fairy tales the heroes are punished when they run
away from a task. The heroes, not their younger brothers…
The wounds on Will’s neck healed well, but the stone
already showed in his left arm. It was jade. That was unusual.
Mostly it was carnelian, jasper, moonstone…
“He has already the scent of a Goyl.” The vixen moved
out of the shadows cast by the crumbling walls. Her fur
was as red as if autumn itself had dyed it. Over her hind
leg it was streaked with pale scars. It had been almost five
years since Jacob had freed Fox from the iron teeth of a
poacher’s trap, and she had guarded his sleep ever since,
warning him of dangers that his dull human senses could
not detect, giving advice that was best followed.
“What are you waiting for? Wake him and take him back.
We’ve been here for hours.” The impatience in her voice
was hard to miss. “That’s what we came here for, isn’t it?”
Jacob looked at his sleeping brother. Yes, that’s why
he had brought Will back to the tower: to take him back
to the other world. But how was he supposed to live there
growing a skin of jade? Jacob walked under the arch which
held the scorched remnants of the castle’s doors. A Heinzel
scampered off as Jacob’s shadow fell on him. It was barely
bigger than a mouse, with red eyes above a pointy nose, and
pants and shirt sewn from stolen human clothes. The ruin
was swarming with them.
“I changed my mind,” he said. “There’s nothing in the
other world that can help him.”
Jacob had tried to tell Fox years ago about the world
he came from, but she didn’t want to hear about it. What
she knew was enough: the place to which he disappeared
far too often to bring back memories that followed him like
“And? What do you think will happen to him here?”
In her world, fathers killed their own sons as soon as they
discovered the stone in their skin. But Jacob was sure that
if there was a cure they would find it here.
At the foot of the hill the red roofs of Schwanstein were
fading into the twilight and the first lights were coming on
in the houses. In his first year behind the mirror, Jacob had
worked in one of the stables. From a distance, it looked
like one of the pictures printed on gingerbread tins. Only
the tall smokestacks of the factories sending gray smoke
into the evening sky didn’t fit into that image. The New
Magic… that’s what technology and science were called in
this world. The Petrified Flesh, though, was not sown by
mechanical looms or other modern achievements, but by
the old magic that dwelled in its hills and valleys, its rivers,
oceans, flowers, and trees; in Seven Miles Boots, Witch
Needles, and countless other magical objects that Jacob
had made his craft to find.
A Gold-Raven landed on the wall under which Will
was sleeping. Jacob shooed it away before it could croak
one of its sinister spells in his brother’s ear.
Will groaned in his sleep. The human skin did not yield
to the jade without a fight. Jacob felt the pain as his own
and for the first time ever he found himself cursing the
mirror. He had only returned to the apartment for his
brother, always at night so as to be sure his mother would
be sleeping. Her tears had made it too hard to leave again,
but Will had just wrapped his arms around him, asking
what he had brought for him. The shoes of a Heinzel, the
cap of a Thumbling, a button made of Elven glass, a piece
of scaly Waterman skin—Will had hidden Jacob’s gifts
behind his books, and then he had asked for more stories
about the world where his brother found such treasure,
until dawn cast its light onto the faded wallpaper and
Jacob stole back to the mirror.
He grabbed his rucksack. “I’ll be back soon. If he wakes
tell him he has to wait for me. Don’t allow him to go near
“And where are you going?” The vixen moved into his
path. “You can’t help him, Jacob.”
“I know. But I have to try.”
- Publisher : Pushkin Children's Books (June 1, 2021)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1782691243
- ISBN-13 : 978-1782691242
- Reading age : 13 - 17 years
- Grade level : 8 - 12
- Item Weight : 13 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 1 x 7.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,833,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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