From the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly comes another magical and thrilling story that takes readers on an exciting new adventure.
Stella Glass dreams of exploring worlds beyond her home of Solace, but when her famous parents are sent on a historic mission to the Uncharted Lands, it’s simply too dangerous for her to join them. By order of the king, she is left behind.
Missing out on the excitement is one thing, but Stella is devastated at the thought of her parents flying into the unknown. So she takes matters into her own hands. Instead of staying with family as planned, she steals away and–right before takeoff–sneaks aboard the airship.
But Stella isn’t the only stowaway. In the cargo bay is a boy who is also desperate to get to the Uncharted Lands. And someone else who’s determined to keep the ship from making it there at all. . . .
This was it. All her weeks of planning, lying awake at night for hours, worrying over the details she might have missed, wondering if, when the moment came, she would actually have the skill and courage to pull this off, or if she would be caught and forced to stay behind.
No, she wouldn’t let that happen. Her parents were setting off on a journey into unknown territory. She had to go with them.
Because how would she bear it if they never came back?
The matches shook in Stella’s hands. She closed her eyes and forced down the sudden panic that swept over her. It’s all right, she told herself. Pretend this is nothing more than an experiment in the lab. Follow the steps—one by one. Everything was in place. She just had to strike the match and begin.
Opening her eyes, Stella felt a veil of calm settle over her. She lifted her hands and struck the match, and with a crackle, a bright flame sprang to life in front of her eyes. Before she could change her mind, she touched it to the fuse.
A bead of orange engulfed the string and started to burn. Stella jumped to her feet, running to the next one, and the next. When all four fuses were lit and burning toward the smoke bombs, she stuffed the matches into her alchemy case and moved quickly out of the grove
and across the palace lawn, careful to hurry but not run.
In her head, she began to count. From the experiments she’d conducted, she judged that she had about forty seconds before the smoke grew thick enough to attract someone’s attention. Forty seconds to weave through the crowd and get to the ship.
Now thirty. Twenty.
With ten seconds left in her count, a scream tore through the humid afternoon air.
“Fire! Someone, help! Fire!”
Stella sped up her pace. One by one, faces in the crowd began turning from the ship toward the grove. To keep up appearances, and because she wanted to see how visible the smoke screen was, Stella turned with them. A jolt of satisfaction went through her when she saw the thick gray clouds twisting toward the sky, obscuring the speared tips of the cypress trees.
More panicked shouts rang out, the crowd ahead of her thinning as people either ran toward the smoke or tried to back away to a safe distance. Palace guards shoved people aside as they ran toward the imaginary fire.
Stella turned back to the ship. The way was suddenly clear in front of her. The laborers who’d been loading cargo had gone to help put out the fire. There wasn’t a guard in sight to block her way or a chamelin watching from the sky. Her stomach pitched, but Stella forced her
feet to keep moving, counting her steps in her head.
She reached the rope line barring everyone from the ship.
She ducked under, rising to her feet on the other side. Three.
The cargo bay of the ship loomed before her, dozens of crates still arranged in neat piles on the lawn. Casting one last furtive glance around her, Stella ran up the gangplank and into the dark belly of the ship.
The Iron Glory, flagship of the Dragonfly territories
and symbol of its fragile peace with the Merrow Kingdom, was going to be the first vessel in Solace history to make it across the Hiterian Mountains to the uncharted lands.
And Stella Glass wasn’t letting her parents go without her. She would be the first stowaway to see what was waiting on the other side of that range.
OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR
[STAR] “This magnetic middle-grade debut . . . [is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred
[STAR] “Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
[STAR] “A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic. . . . Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot.”
—School Library Journal, Starred
“A complex and impeccably developed plot—there is plenty to recommend in this novel.”
“Appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers.”
Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.
“An engaging world rich in detail, mayhem, and adventure…All aboard for fantasy lovers with a dual penchant for girl power and keeping up with the Indiana Joneses.”
From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.
Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.
Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.
Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever.
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Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy novelist living and writing in the wilds of the Midwest. Her middle grade debut novel The Mark of the Dragonfly is a New York Times bestseller, was chosen for the ABA 2014 Spring Indie Next list, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 20 Children’s Books of 2014. Her other books in the Solace series from Delacorte Press include The Secrets of Solace and The Quest to the Uncharted Lands. She has also written several novels and short stories for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line published by Wizards of the Coast. Johnson is an avid gamer and lifelong geek, and in her spare time she also enjoys traveling, reading, baking, and going to movies with her husband. Visit her online at www.jaleighjohnson.com. Photo credit: Mark Jones.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDS, US Only.
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