Dark Flight Down

Dark Flight Down

5.0 3
by Marcus Sedgwick

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In the morning you should think You might not last unto the night In the evening you should think You might not last unto the morn
Boy has survived the terrors of life with the magician Valerian, dark magic, and deadly chases, but he is still on the run. Now, as the City lies frozen, he is captured and incarcerated in the Emperor Frederick’s palace.

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In the morning you should think You might not last unto the night In the evening you should think You might not last unto the morn
Boy has survived the terrors of life with the magician Valerian, dark magic, and deadly chases, but he is still on the run. Now, as the City lies frozen, he is captured and incarcerated in the Emperor Frederick’s palace. Boy is transported to a world of splendor, and wealth beyond his wildest imagining. But beneath its golden veneer, this world is full of madness and cruelty, closely guarded secrets, and terrifying revelations.
In a mesmerizing conclusion to the enthralling story begun in The Book of Dead Days, Boy and Willow are plunged into the heart of it–the furies of the Emperor; the tricks of necromancers; a trail of blood that will lead to the grisly Phantom. Holding all their lives between its pages, The Book of Dead Days waits to deceive its next reader.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Boy, the assistant to the magician Valerian, first introduced in The Book of Dead Days (PW wrote, "readers will get caught up in this exotic era and its creepy characters"), returns in The Dark Flight Down by Marcus Sedgwick. Now Valerian is dead, and Boy is captured and imprisoned in the palace of Emperor Frederick III, who is obsessed with finding a way to become immortal. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Readers of The Book of Dead Days will appreciate the arrival of this sequel. Boy, who has survived the death of his master, magician Valerian, connects with the equally mysterious Kepler. Boy also comes to the attention of Emperor Frederick, who wants to live forever; he thinks that the secret of immortality lies in a special volume of Valerian's. Boy also wants to find the book in order to learn the secrets of magic. Unfortunately, the emperor's henchmen find Boy before the book is discovered. Boy is tossed into a dungeon, but is soon befriended by a power-hungry sage named Maxim. Each person seeks answers to questions, and seeks the source of that information in sane and insane ways. Will the knowledge save or destroy them? This book can be read without introduction to the prior volume; in fact, coming to this story "fresh" adds to the air of mystery and discovery. Its strength is its plot twists, although the characters have distinct traits and the hero is certainly one to cheer for. The climax ties up all the loose ends and is fairly predictable, but the read is enjoyable overall. (The Book of Dead Days). KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, Random House, Wendy Lamb, 240p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Dr. Lesley Farmer
Children's Literature
Despite a recap of events from the previous book, readers unfamiliar with Boy's tale from The Book of Dead Days may have trouble following the events in this book. After the death of Valerian the magician, Boy is cared for by Kepler, although we do not find out why until the very end of this story. Boy is obsessed with finding "the book," which will tell him his true name and is said to contain all kinds of dangerous information. He plans to steal the book from Kepler and run away with his love Willow, but just before their meeting time he is captured by the Imperial Guard and thrown into the dungeon. Inexplicably, Boy is moved from the dungeon to a more pleasant and comfortable room in the emperor's palace. Boy is regularly called to stand in the Emperor Frederick's court. Maxim, assistant to the emperor, is tracking down the book to fulfill Frederick's request for immortality. While everyone wonders about how to get the book, Kepler and Willow sneak into the palace, and "The Phantom" continues killing throughout The City. It is not until the last thirty pages of the book that all these elements come together in the conclusion, and if readers are interested enough to find the secrets of "the book" they will stay with Boy until the end. 2005, Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, Ages 12 to 15.
—Mary Loftus
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A teen who doesn't know anything about his past, or even his own name, swirls deeper into mystery against the background of a Vienna-like decaying city. In this creepy but melodramatic sequel to The Book of Dead Days (Random, 2004), Boy is yanked from his previous life of serving the doomed magician Valerian and thrown into the deepest dungeon of the mad Emperor Frederick. The ruler is convinced that the boy possesses the secret of the Book, which foretells the future and might allow the aged Frederick to gain immortality. If Boy will not tell what he knows, he may be thrown to the mysterious Phantom, who dwells in the depths of the palace and drinks the blood of his victims. But Boy is determined to find the Book for himself, to learn his real name and who his parents were, and to be reunited with his sweetheart, Willow. Dark Flight Down, which will perplex most readers who haven't read Dead Days, is more than a little theatrical; the characters speak in many shouts and exclamation points, and marvelous secrets are revealed in the denouement. But young teens who have read and enjoyed the previous book might embrace this open-ended conclusion.-Walter Minkel, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Boy and Willow are immediately separated as this moving sequel to The Book of Dead Days (2004) begins. Boy's suddenly owned by Kepler; Willow is dumped at an orphanage. But when Boy's sent back to his old house on an errand, Imperial Guards seize him and toss him in the Imperial dungeon. A terror looms down there, possibly the same Phantom terrorizing the City. Meanwhile, the emperor has demanded immortality from his right-hand man, Maxim. Maxim sweats to find the ancient, treacherous book of magic that will reveal all. Kepler secretly brings it when he and Willow sneak into the castle. The Phantom is revealed in court, and Boy and Willow-sneaking away as the court explodes in chaos-open the book and find historical family revelations that Boy may or may not like. Sedgwick doesn't answer all questions, but Boy and Willow's noble choice and tender relationship stretch forward into a tentative, simple future, making the end supremely satisfying. (prologue, epilogue) (Fantasy. YA)

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Random House Children's Books
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Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The City froze hard that winter, iron-cold and stone-still. When the snows came, they settled in to stay. It had started with snowstorms that seemed as if they were angry with something, as the wind whirled snowflakes down onto the City's filthy streets and crumbling buildings. It had started in the last few days of the year as Boy and Willow had been swept along by the magician Valerian in his ultimately futile quest for survival.

Then, early on New Year's Day, the fury abated, but still for day after day large fluffy flakes of pure whiteness drifted gently down, covering the muck and the mire, hiding the decay of the old City beneath a thick layer of pristine white youth.

The snow obliterated broken slates and chimney stacks, removed all traces of dilapidated walls and rotting windowsills and laid a clean and soft white carpet along every alley, street, avenue and parade, that was renewed every night.

It was as if the snow was trying to purify the squalid City, or at least hide its evil under a shroud of forgetting. Each night the old, horrible and grim was replaced by something new, young and beautiful.
But there was a price for this rebirth. It was cold, bitterly cold, and the City froze deep, and deathly still.
With it, something inside Boy froze too.

Too much had happened, too quickly.

Valerian. Boy couldn't even begin to think, to understand, about Valerian. He could barely feel.
He struggled to order, let alone comprehend, the events of the Dead Days, at the end of the year that had just died, taking his master Valerian with it. And beyond Valerian's death, there was what the scientist Kepler had said, right before the end. The thing that had tormented Boy's brain ever since, the truth of which still lay obscured.

That Valerian was Boy's father.

The new year that had just begun had hardly been a few hours old when Boy's one comfort had been taken from him too.


From the Hardcover edition.

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The Dark Flight Down 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading the book was awesome.
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