November 2015, Amazon Media, 286 pages, Paperback & Ebook,
Life on the run from madman Martin Reimer gets in the way of everything.
For fourteen-year-old Phillip, it has meant having to stay hidden, unable to use his gift of moving through maps to search for his missing father. But the arrival of a stranger named Delroy brings unexpected opportunity, for Delroy is a man with the ability to travel worlds hidden within our own and he was sent by Phillip’s father. Now Phillip will do everything he can to find his dad, even if it means tricking Delroy into helping him or a quest through those hidden worlds.
Even if leaving home means Martin can now find him…
Follow in the adventures of Phillip Stone and Natalie Bristol from the award-winning book The Magician’s Doll!
Nayu here! I wasn't in the mood to read this book, but was interested in sharing it with you as it sounds a thrilling read, so it's with pleasure that I can share what the book is about AND an extract from it! Enjoy!
Find out more on M L Roble's website.
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Phillip shifted impatiently. “We don’t have a lot of time for this, Natalie. We need to leave now.”
“Oh, now you want to leave?”
“Quit giving me a hard time. Come on, we have to go!”
“So, let’s just leave from up here. There’s enough light to read the map.”
Phillip shook his head. Sometimes he did not understand her! After a cursory glance around the battery, he heaved himself onto the cannon and then the wall. He slung both legs over to sit next to Natalie.
His breath caught. The view was breathtaking. Lights from the city sprinkled the horizon throwing the buildings into shadowed relief, a mysterious contrast against the dark sky. From where they sat the city was at rest, and Phillip felt a quiet peace steal over him.
“What do you think?” Natalie asked.
“You were right,” he said. “It’s great.” But it was more than that. Watching over the silent city from the battery wall and at the dark sky that stretched forever, Phillip sensed that the world held far more than he knew, and that all of it was out there for him to discover. He felt both small and infinite, and at the same time free.
“My dad is out there somewhere.” His voice was almost a whisper, the words swept by the breeze.
But Natalie heard. Her head bowed until her forehead lay against his shoulder.
“We’ll find him,” she said.
Phillip swiped at the damp corners of his eyes, then reached into his pocket and pulled out his map. “Let’s go.”
Natalie’s head lifted and turned to take a final look at the horizon as Phillip gave the map the place and time of their destination.
The lines rose and formed onto the map’s surface. Phillip and Natalie placed their fingers on the spot they were headed and focused.
“What are you kids doing? Are you crazy?”
The policeman had arrived a ways down the battery. His body was taut with panic and disbelief. He took off at a run for them.
“Get down from there!” he yelled. “You could fall!”
“Quick!” Phillip said.
He felt his power weave around them, fading them into the map.
“Phillip, he’s getting close,” Natalie said. “We don’t have time!”
She was right. The cop was calling to them, his footsteps thundering closer. They weren’t far enough into the map to evade capture.
“We have to jump,” he said.
“We’ll fade through the map before we hit bottom.” Phillip focused harder on their destination and wrapped his arm around her. “Hold on!”
“No, Phillip,” Natalie cried, but she threw her arm around his neck as he yanked her with him off the wall.
The cop gave an anguished roar as they toppled over the side. Phillip’s stomach somersaulted with the fall. The wind flapped against them in a mad whirl. He felt Natalie’s frantic grip, her hair as it whipped against his face and her scream as it pierced his ear. The scenery meshed into a blur with the speed of their descent.
“Keep focusing!” he yelled.
The policeman’s cries sounded above them and then faded. The details of their destination rose to the fore: the city, then the streets and houses, and they fell towards them like a crashing wave.
Fast, they were moving too fast.
Phillip sighed and leaned back. He gave a shrug and looked out the window. Like the soda shop, the whole town with its small shops and landscaped streets had an old-time feel. He didn’t think it was a coincidence that their mothers and Mrs. Blaine chose places that were set back from the rest of the world. “It’s nice enough here, I guess. It’s just that every time we’ve gone somewhere through the map, every time we’ve seen all these different places…I don’t know, I just wanna tell my dad about it.”
“Aren’t you worried how dangerous it is with the Reimers out there?” Natalie asked.
“It’s going to keep getting dangerous, Natalie. We’ve been through this.” Phillip’s hands balled into fists and then flexed as he tried to calm the frustration starting to burn in his chest. “It’s going to get worse. It doesn’t matter what we do to avoid trouble, it’s going to come to us some time, somehow. If my dad’s alive, I’d rather face it with him.”
“What about your mom?” Natalie asked.
“Why do you think I’m still here?” Phillip shot back. “Why are you giving me such a hard time about this? You said when the time came you’d help me, you know,” he reminded her.
“I meant what I said! If you ask me to go, I’ll go. I’m just hoping that when we do, it’s because you’ve given this some good thought and planning.”
“All I do is think and plan!” Once again Phillip’s voice rose.
Only a few heads turned this time. The rest of the customers seemed content to let them be. Their waitress looked over and winked at Phillip. Work it out, she mouthed.
“Then why haven’t we gone yet?” Natalie asked.
“Because it’s complicated.” A slight bitterness salted Phillip’s answer. “Look, the point is, I’m here, it doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere, and I think you should cut me some slack for wanting a little adventure once in a while.”
He scowled and took another gulp of his float, watching the mini whirlpool form in the cream as he sipped through the straw. He was doing the best he could, he thought. Why wasn’t anyone giving him any credit for that? Times like these he felt like everyone was trying to scrunch him into shapes he couldn’t make.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Natalie’s fingers slacken. Her straw dropped and rolled across the table. He looked up in surprise.
Natalie sat as if invisible hands had pulled her shoulders back, straightening her spine. Her eyes were on his face, but their focus went through and far beyond him.
“Nat,” Phillip said softly. He reached for her wrist and grasped it, feeling the warmth of her skin and the steady beat of her pulse. Natalie’s posture was so rigid, so unmoving, he swept a surreptitious glance around the soda shop to make sure no one had noticed. The other patrons were engrossed with their own business, but their waitress caught his eye, and seeing his hand clasping Natalie’s wrist, she gave him a nod and a smile of approval. Phillip smiled back weakly and turned back to Natalie.
He had forgotten how unnerving Natalie’s gift was. It had been a long time since it had overtaken her. It had crept up on her several times when she had first come into it, but since then she had learned how to keep it at bay. Now it had her in its hold, and it felt like she had slipped away, leaving him holding an empty vessel.
“Nat,” he said again, giving her wrist a little shake. He waited, a helpless ball of uncertainty, until the emptiness in her eyes slowly filled with a reassuring solidity. A few seconds later, she was back, and when he looked into her face and saw a response in hers, relief flooded him. “What happened? Your gift?”
Natalie nodded, her eyebrows forming a confused squiggle. “Different this time, though. I don’t think it went as deep.” A part of her seemed to linger in whatever place her gift had taken her because her focus was scattered, and when her eyes met his, he felt the vastness of a galaxy behind them. “Someone has come, Phillip, come to our town. Whoever he is, he’s looking for you.”
Phillip, Natalie, and Delroy spun in the direction of the summons. Beausoleil and Mrs. Stone were several blocks away, but they were running and would soon reach them.
“I guess they found my note,” Natalie said.
“You left a note?” Phillip exclaimed, exasperated.
“Maybe you can leave your mom without telling, but I can’t.” Natalie’s reply was calm, but it held a sadness that made Phillip feel ashamed.
“You’re right, I’m sorry.”
“No need to feel bad,” Delroy interrupted, “because we’re not leaving together. Period.”
“Phillip!” His mother’s voice was frantic. “Phillip, don’t go! Please!”
For once she was not ordering him, and of all the things that could have stopped Phillip, her pleading cry was one. He hesitated.
His mother and Beausoleil drew near, halting as Phillip backed away.
“We’ll figure something out, Phillip,” his mother said. “I promise.”
“You always say that,” Phillip cried.
“We have new information now, Phillip,” Beausoleil said. “Trust me, we can use it to search for your father.”
“When?” Phillip asked. “I have a plan now.”
His mother glanced at Delroy who looked away. “Please don’t leave with Mr. Mendu.”
“You’re wrong about him,” Phillip said. “Dad trusted him. And Natalie said he could help us. She thinks we should leave with him, too!”
“No,” his mother breathed. “Oh, Natalie.”
Natalie bowed her head. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Stone. I promise I’ll do everything I can to keep him safe.”
Beausoleil turned to Delroy. “Are you going to go along with this? Are you going to take them?”
“Absolutely not. If you all don’t mind, I’ll be on my way.”
Anger surged through Phillip as Delroy, with scarcely a glance at him, turned heel and continued down the walk.
”My dad asked you!” he shouted at Delroy’s retreating back. “He trusted you!” When Delroy failed to turn around, Phillip charged across the street.
He pulled out his map.
“Aerthreis," he ordered.
As the lines emerged on his map, he heard Delroy yell, “No! Are you crazy? You’ll get yourself killed!”
“What?” his mother screamed to Delroy. “What is he doing? Where is he going?”
Natalie ran to Phillip. The hazy, wiggling shape of Aerthreis had formed when she reached him and flung her arms around him. Phillip grasped her tight.
Beausoleil bolted towards them. His mother dropped to her knees. Delroy raised his hands and closed his eyes, summoning his gift, Phillip thought. Then it all blurred.
“I’m sorry, mom,” Phillip whispered, as he and Natalie faded into the map and disappeared.