Day of the Scarab (The Oracle Prophecies Series #3)

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Overview

How will their struggle end?

Madness reigns in the Two Lands. General Argelin has proclaimed himself king and is systematically destroying all enemies -- humans . . . and gods.

Mirany, the young priestess, is in hiding.

Alexos, the boy who should be ruler, is powerless.

Seth and the Jackal are scrambling to gather a small group of resisters ...

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Overview

How will their struggle end?

Madness reigns in the Two Lands. General Argelin has proclaimed himself king and is systematically destroying all enemies -- humans . . . and gods.

Mirany, the young priestess, is in hiding.

Alexos, the boy who should be ruler, is powerless.

Seth and the Jackal are scrambling to gather a small group of resisters without attracting notice from Argelin -- or from the sinister power he now controls in the sign of the scarab.

Their last hope lies in the Underworld. Mirany can lead their journey into death, but can she bring them back?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Author Catherine Fisher sends Mirany, first introduced in The Oracle Betrayed (which PW's starred review called "a sprawling, atmospheric adventure"), into the Underworld in order to bring peace back to Two Lands in her thrilling conclusion to the Oracle Prophecies trilogy, Day of the Scarab. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Anger and hate filled the crowd as ropes flung themselves over the Statue of the Rain Queen. A squad of soldiers gripped the ropes and heaved until the statue crashed onto the ground and shattered into a heap of rubble. The evil Argelin smiled as he demonstrated to the people of the port city that he had the power to destroy not only humans but gods as well. He feared no one. Now Mirany and Seth, our young heroes, must take up their torches and venture into this despairing dark world to help save their people and their traditions. Who can they trust? How much should they risk? Can the jackal, their fearless leader, protect them from the betrayal and death that surrounds them throughout the story? The twists and turns in this story take the reader from the temples of the city into the dangerous path of the Nine Gateways and then death. Will anyone survive this annihilation? Day of the Scarab captured my attention, but I found my mind wondering as I tried to keep up with all the subplots of the story. I felt left out of half the adventure because Catherine Fisher had not woven in enough information from the previous books to keep me abreast of what had happened. Sometimes I questioned the motives of the characters because they seemed thrown in instead of having a purpose. As far as the writing, it flowed. I really needed less action and a little more explanation. Book three in "The Oracle Prophecies" series. 2006, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, Ages 11 up.
—Julia Beiker
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Mirany, one of a select group of priestesses called the Nine, struggles alongside her friends and allies-including a "thief lord" called the Jackal and Alexos, a boy who embodies divinity-to defeat the renegade general Argelin, who has made himself king. The ruthless ruler destroys statues of the god and particularly despises the Rain Queen, goddess of water and of the dead, including Hermia, whom Argelin has unintentionally killed and intends to reclaim from the underworld. Fisher's fantasy world, introduced in the first two books in the series, is a fully realized creation, mingling characteristics of ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and even the later Byzantine Empire when the Vikings had become a threat. The headlong rush of Fisher's writing is perfectly suited to teens raised on blockbuster movies and video games. Full of dialogue and action, the brief scenes force readers to concentrate on what is happening and to whom, allowing the accumulation of detail and circumstance to supply the explanations. Readers who have not first read the earlier titles will find themselves puzzling over background material, though much is cleared up by dialogue as the story progresses. The book is so full of incident and character, and the scenes shift so rapidly, that it can be difficult to keep the various plot threads separate. Likewise, the constant breathless pace may lessen the impact of the climax for some readers. Most, however, are likely to be swept along in this entertaining and evocative adventure, eager to keep turning the pages.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Oracle Prophecies trilogy plunges to its conclusion amidst madness, intrigue and armed struggle-exactly the wild ride readers have come to expect. Back from the Well of Songs (Sphere of Secrets, 2005), scribe Seth, bard Oblek, thief Jackal and God-on-Earth Alexos reunite with priestess Mirany to effect the end of the insane General Argelin's tyranny. All is chaos: Mercenaries prop up Argelin, who has desecrated all images of the Rain Queen and seeks only to resurrect his dead lover. As in her previous outing, Fisher splits up her group, sending Mirany, Oblek and Alexos into the land of the dead with Argelin, while Seth and the Jackal assemble an army of thieves to defend the holy Island and its remaining priestesses against the mercenaries. The narrative cuts back and forth at breakneck speed, the reader sharing in the characters' anxiety to know what is happening on the other side of the nine Gates that lead to the ultimate End. It's an appropriately disorienting experience, informed by echoes of Greek and Egyptian mythology, but wholly its own. A triumphant finale to a complex and multilayered adventure. (Fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060571634
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/23/2006
  • Series: Oracle Prophecies Series , #3
  • Pages: 416
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Fisher's acclaimed works include Darkhenge, Snow-walker, and The Oracle Betrayed, which was a finalist for the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She lives in Newport, Wales.

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Read an Excerpt

Day of the Scarab

Book Three of The Oracle Prophecies
By Catherine Fisher

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Catherine Fisher
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060571640

Chapter One

She Hears the Thunder of the Rain Queen

She could only squeeze in if she went sideways. Even then the axle stuck out through the wooden wheel, and she had to hold her breath and drag herself past it, her infuriating black veil snagging on the wall.

But behind the cart there was a space.

Once in, Mirany reached up and caught hold of the boards; putting her foot on the axle, she pulled herself carefully higher and peered over the top.

The cart was piled with oranges. Their smell was mouthwatering, a sharp juicy sweetness that made her hunger worse and her dry lips sore. She hadn't eaten a whole orange for weeks. Maybe she could have sneaked one out, but three of Argelin's guards were sitting in the dust of the square, gambling, and the risk was too great.

Dice rattled.

Mirany bit the nail of her thumb, then noticed and stopped herself. It was a habit she'd had when she was small; lately it had come back. There was still no sign of Rhetia. Where was she? An hour must have passed since the time they'd arranged to meet, when the afternoon gong had chimed from the City. Now the hottest part of the day held the Port silent. The market had closed and everyonewas indoors. Only stray dogs snoozed in the baking streets.

What is she up to? Do you think she's been caught?

She asked out of habit, but there was no answer. Maybe there never would be an answer again.

And where are you, Bright One? she thought angrily. Where are you when I need you!

The piazza was high in the fullers' quarter. Rhetia had chosen it because it had five different exits, and the streets around were a maze of doorways and alleys and steps hung with drying cloth. At this hour it should be deserted.

But it wasn't.

There were more soldiers across by the shuttered wine shop. And as she watched in dismay, an entire phalanx of Argelin's new mercenaries marched in, pale-skinned men who dressed in foreign clothes and spoke some guttural language. Their bronze greaves and corselets and spears glittered in the sunlight.

Something was going on.

Crouched, her bent knees aching, she watched the men halt in the center of the square, below the statue of the Rain Queen.

The officer yelled a curt command; the column fell out, mopped sweat from their faces, brought up mules, unpacked equipment. Echoes rang in the enclosed space. All around them, from the white buildings, the sun's wrath blazed.

Mirany sucked her parched lip. If she could work back under the shadow of that striped awning, she might make the nearest alleyway, and slip away without attracting more than a few glances.

But if they stopped her . . .

And what if Rhetia turned up?

A commotion jerked her head around. A man had come running out of one of the buildings, a small, oldish man. He was shouting in alarm and holding his hands above his head, racing straight at the soldiers.

Instantly the nearest one grabbed a spear and swung; the old man stumbled over it, then fell with a painful thump.

The mercenaries laughed. One made some comment.

The man was pleading with them; he scrambled onto his knees, and Mirany heard his breathless, barely intelligible gasps. "You mustn't do this. Lords, please! This is a terrible thing. This is a desecration."

They probably couldn't understand a word he said. Almost casually, one of them gave him a kick in the chest that took the breath straight out of him; then they turned back to their task.

In sudden horror Mirany realized what they were doing.

Ropes and tackle were being dragged from mules. Efficiently the fair-haired men swung weighted loops; the ropes soared up and around the shoulders of the Rain Queen, her neck, her outstretched arm.

"No!" Mirany breathed.

The statue was vast, higher than the houses. It had been carved from a single piece of sea green stone, a veined agate. Ancient beyond memory, the calm face of the Rain Queen had looked out over the Port for centuries, over the white houses to the endless azure semicircle of the sea. In the thousand pleated creases of her dress crystals glinted, embedded by the sculptor, and the blue lapis lazuli of the collar she wore glimmered with linked scorpions of gold, and scarabs of coral and amber. She held out one hand, and in her fingers a bronze bowl burned in the sun. Once a fountain had cascaded from it, splashing, diamond bright, into a white marble shell at her feet. But during the drought the fountain had been dry, and even now, when the river ran again, it had not been restored. Lizards basked in the hot curve of the shell, among rubbish and a broken pot.

Ropes rattled.

Mirany gripped her hands into fists. Do something! she demanded.

But the god did not answer. He had not answered for two months. And in that time her world had fallen apart.

Suddenly the gambling soldiers were scrambling up, thrusting dice into helmets, grabbing spears. Even before they could get themselves in order, the first rank of the bodyguard rode into the square.

Mirany ducked lower, hissing one of Oblek's worst swear words.

Among the armed men was a litter. She stared at it grimly. Litters were no longer allowed in the Port, except for this one. It had no flimsy curtains, but stiff blinds of papyrus, reinforced, she'd heard, with metal against any sudden knife-thrust. Instead of windows, small slits were dark; eyes moved behind them. And she knew whose.

Since the destruction of the Oracle, Argelin rarely rode out openly. He traveled enclosed, protected by armed riders. He needed to. Every statue of the god and the Rain Queen in the Port was being systematically destroyed by his men, every image confiscated and smashed. . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from Day of the Scarab by Catherine Fisher Copyright © 2006 by Catherine Fisher. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2008

    the best book ever

    OMG it was so good the chariter for the jackle was amazing. couldn't put it down a MUST READ

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2006

    this was an awsome book!!!!

    Day of the Scarab was a very good book but i was kind of disapointed about the conclusion!! what happens to Mirany and Seth?!?!? through out the book i hinted that Mirant and Seth had a little romance between them but in the end it lead to nothing!!!! I hope Catherine Fisher rights another book to this series and eloborates more on Seth's and Mirany's romance!!!!!!!! but in the end the book was still awsome!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2006

    Extraordinary

    I thought the series was amazing, it had everything a series needs. I couldn't stop reading and could barely wait to get the next book. It's worth the read and you definately won't be disappointed.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great fantasy

    General Argelin, after killing Hermia, one of the Nine and Speaker for the god, crowns himself king and Archon. The real Archon returns from the Well of Songs to see his people caught in a stranglehold by the dictator who rules with an iron fist and his mercenary army. The Nine are scattered Mirany the new Speaker is in while Argelin destroys all pictures, paintings, books describing the Rain Queen, the goddess of the kingdom of death who he blames for Hermia¿s demise.---------------- Seth, a scribe takes a job as Argelin¿s assistant in the hopes of finding a way to free the people. The Emperor¿s fleet stays off the coast because his heir prince Jamil is held hostage. A way is found for the king to travel to the underworld to try and free Hermia from the Rain Queen. He takes Alexos the Archon (god on earth), Mirany and their ally the musician Oblek to the realm of the dead while Seth is chosen as the new Speaker until Mirany returns. Seth gathers an unusual group of allies in the hopes of saving the land from the god, the emperor and his soldiers.--------------- What began in SNOW WALKER and continued in the ORACLE BETRAYED comes to a glorious conclusion in DAY OF THE SCARAB. This book is reminiscent of the Andre Norton young adult tales that were enjoyed by an adult audience. The characterizations are superb and there is plenty of action and adventures to maintain readers¿ interest but it is the theme of good vs. evil that will resonate with the audience who sees that there are shades of gray in each individual so they are not all good or all evil.-------------- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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