by Dennis Foon

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Second book in the trilogy 'The Longlight Legacy': Roan continues his adventures in a war-torn world in this science-fiction fantasy novel intended for teen readers. The author is an experienced novelist and playwright.
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Second book in the trilogy 'The Longlight Legacy': Roan continues his adventures in a war-torn world in this science-fiction fantasy novel intended for teen readers. The author is an experienced novelist and playwright.

Editorial Reviews

Resource Links
Disturbing futuristic world... Even those who are not fans of the fantasy genre may still find themselves captivated by the vivid imagery of the world Foon has created.
— Evette Berry
Canadian Materials
The novel has strong characterization, and tension and conflict within and between characters... an engaging read. Highly Recommended.
— Sylvia Pantaleo
Resource Links - Evette Berry
Disturbing futuristic world... Even those who are not fans of the fantasy genre may still find themselves captivated by the vivid imagery of the world Foon has created.
Canadian Materials - Sylvia Pantaleo
The novel has strong characterization, and tension and conflict within and between characters permeate the book... an engaging read. Highly Recommended.
Children's Literature
In the shrouded valley, the people of Longlight evaded destruction. For seventy-five years they quietly thrived, isolated from the world. Nurturing a small flame of hope, it took less than one hour for them to be annihilated in book one, The Dirt Eater. In this second installment of the "Longlight Legacy Trilogy," a year has passed since Roan, Alandra and the children have escaped the Brothers, when a coma-like sleep overtakes the children. Roan, possessing special powers, seeks to discover the whereabouts of the children's imprisoned souls. A mysterious boy comes to Roan in a vision, and Roan along with his friend Lumpy set out to meet an unknown fate. It is on this journey when Roan discovers his lost sister, Stowe, in possession of great powers and a favorite of Darius, the archbishop behind the annihilation. The story seamlessly blends fantasy with science fiction creating a believable imaginary world. The action is compelling, the plot intricate and well crafted, with a storyline continuing from book one. The story goes through numerous conflicts and wends through several sub-plots but beware—the resolution will not take place till book three. That will be something you will not want to miss. 2004, Annick Press, Ages 12 up.
—Robyn Gioia

Product Details

Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
Longlight Legacy Series, #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.25(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
11 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Keeper of the City

One rose from the ashes, keeper of the light
Nine close the circle holding him high
Twenty-one guardians of hearth and home
Ten, eyes scouring the horizon
Forty-one are masters of the city

-- the War Chronicles

Dirt. Dirt that burns the throat, scorches the insides, makes one see without eyes and journey without feet to far places. Dirt that cleanses, lifts, and makes one whole. Breath of life in a golden bowl. Dirt. Cherished by the Masters of the City. How they hoard it. How they try to shield it from those pilfering cowards, the Eaters. But they fail.

Darius is forever swallowing Dirt. It stains his fingertips, glows violet on his narrow lips. He sits so perfectly still. His watery eyes open in reptilian slits. He looks feeble, translucent skin stretched across a beardless face so tight his head's a living skull. His new lungs wheeze as his latest heart pumps blood that's changed twice daily. He is the Eldest.

His eyelids flutter and open wide. Alert, he listens. His hands grip the sides of the chair as he rises. Now he is not weak, he is all strength and control and cunning. He is the Keeper of the City, Archbishop of the Conurbation, the Great Seer, and he fills the room with a magnificent, terrifying power.

"Now," says Darius, and with a flick of his wrist, the room is brought to maximum illumination.

The doors open and two clerics, heads bowed, drag in a ragged, yellow-haired detainee, blinking blindly in the glare. His skin has the raised orange blotches of interrogation scourge. Nothing unusual in that, yet he's different from the other prisoners who havepassed this way before. He has not been enabled. Who is he?

Darius nods to the clerics, who bow obsequiously, awe glazing over their eyes. They owe all to the Eldest One. Privilege, status, health, and most importantly, that tiny bulge behind their ears.

The dazed prisoner is left sitting on the marble floor. Alone with the Keeper. He poses no danger. So what was his crime?

As the crumpled man's eyes adjust to the light, they focus on the portraits that cover the mahogany walls, paintings of Darius, of the Great Pyramid, of a small girl, Icon of the City. His gaze follows the chrome and crystal desk, the porcelain hands, the ancient body until it finally rests on the visage of the Master. A smile spreads across his face. The man's body expands with delight.

"Oh, Keeper! Keeper, seeing you in such good health fills my heart with joy."

"How quaint that you still hope to flatter your Archbishop," murmurs Darius.

"He should have been executed," declares a dark voice.

The prisoner painfully rises as the tall, thin-nosed man enters from the hall. "Ah, Master Kordan, still imagining threats where there are none. You would be wasting an invaluable resource. The Keeper is wiser. He has conceived of a use for me. Have you not, good Master Darius?"

Kordan frowns. A trace of a smile crosses Darius's face. "An opportunity."

The sniveling scarecrow's face lights up.

"Yes, you love opportunities, don't you?" observes the Keeper.

Kordan steps past the threshold, moving deeper into the sanctum, but a cold glance from Darius freezes him. Poor, bitter Kordan. He never should have voiced his opinions, especially when there was a chance they would clash with the Eldest's.

Darius turns to the prisoner. "I've kept you alive because once you served me well. You discovered the location of the settlement I sought and helped deliver one of the two I desired. Not a complete success but still a worthy feat."

"My Keeper, I live only to serve."

"You live to lie and cheat and plunder -- but that can also be useful."

The captive smiles, the gleam in his eye signaling his eagerness to have his many talents exploited.

"Saint has become a martyr to his cause," says Darius. "A true saint. I know you can appreciate the irony. Your former brethren, the Brothers, sow rebellion. The donor deliveries have stopped. Produce is withheld."

The prisoner gives Darius a wary look. "What will you have me do?"

"You know of the Lee Clan. The Fandors?"

"Of course."

"They command half the Farlands," says Darius. "Use them to neutralize the Brothers."

"You honor me, Keeper. What can I offer them in exchange for their services?"

"Our resources are at your disposal."

The man lets out a high-pitched cackle, bows, and makes for the door. "Consider it done."

"You'll want these," Darius says, touching the wall. A large panel, hidden in the polished wood, opens and a glass shelf glides out. Neatly arranged on the surface is a brilliantly feathered gown and behind it, a box. It must be one of those stupid costumes, a consolation prize given to those the Dirt rejects. Poor man, never able to fly the Dreamfield, he's now condemned to walk the earth covered in feathers.

"May I?" the man whispers.

"Of course, Raven."

Look at him! Lovingly caressing the robe with his bony fingers. What a pathetic fool. Doesn't he realize the costume marks his humiliation?

"Thank you, all-knowing one," Raven sighs. He delicately dons the robe, and opens the box, revealing a helmet with a long yellow bird's beak.

Seeing it, Stowe screams -- but of course they cannot hear her. She'd gouge out their eyes but her hands are not flesh and she can only hover impotently above them.

No other Bird Man has a mask like that. The harbinger of the end of Longlight -- it was Raven, and Longlight was surely the settlement he discovered. It must have been Darius who ordered the Brothers to burn her village to the ground. Darius who required that the Brothers kill every last resident, except for two. The two that he wanted: her and Roan. Raven had the Brothers deliver her directly into the Seer's eager hands, but he failed to bring Roan. And that's why he was punished.

Raven, the first visitor to ever come to Longlight. Raven, with his magical cloak of feathers. Before he came, she'd only seen black crow feathers, white chicken feathers. But he had a rainbow of dazzling plumage. She made Roan tell her all the names, made him write them down. Peacock, eagle, swan, cardinal. She would have given anything for those feathers, more than her two favorite bowls, she'd have gladly given a finger or toe. Roan was so somber that day when he told her about the long-dead birds. He didn't want to talk, he kept looking at Daddy, at the councilors. It wasn't until Mama woke her up and she saw the village burning that she began to understand. What a stupid little girl she was, craving feathers.

When she first arrived in the City she was too angry and afraid to speak, distrusting everyone she met. But Darius gave her Willum, who made her understand that even if she couldn't give up her anger, she might at least set her fear aside. Then Darius coaxed her and soothed her and coddled her and revealed the mystery of the Dirt -- and the Dirt made her more than she was, better and stronger and wiser. She began to forget, and all of Darius's words became her own.

When he'd told her the Brothers were insane, a suicide cult, uncontrolled and dangerous, and that it was a lucky chance she'd been saved by the Masters of the City, she'd believed him. All was not lost, he'd insisted. After all, she had the Keeper himself, Great Seer of the City, to care for her. But he'd lied: Darius had been the one who'd planned it all. The attack on Longlight. Its destruction. The death of her parents. Why had she been so ready to accept his lies?

And how many other lies has he told her?

She must listen. Listen with her eyes as well as her ears. Listen and learn.

"I doubt six months in prison has inspired his loyalty," sniffs Kordan.

"Perhaps you'd prefer the task?"

Kordan stares at the floor, no doubt trying to control the glower in his eye. Such a weak man. So transparent.

"I thought not," Darius looks to the door. "Willum."

Stowe's guardian quickly enters. "I am here, Keeper." Willum is always there, always offering sensible suggestions. He does not lie, never denies a possibility, only states facts. Darius values his opinion, which is a testament to Willum's intelligence and cunning. Willum has never wronged her, it's true. He's never wronged anyone that she's aware of -- but she hasn't been aware of much, it seems. That will change, now that her eyes have been opened.

"Where is Our Stowe?"

"She rests, Keeper."

Stowe whirls above them, hovering just over their heads. Fools! She is not asleep. At least not this part of her. She has a secret. She can escape her skin. In her ether body, she can fly where she will, flitting around marble columns, sweeping past oblivious citizens or high above spiral towers, glass domes, wire walkways, so high that people look like dots on the ground, and towers become building blocks. Or here, invisible, able to discover what the Masters try to conceal from her. She'll be their dupe no longer.

"The time has arrived, Willum."

"She is too young, Eldest."

Kordan sneers. "You fretted she'd be damaged by her use of Dirt and were proven wrong."

"With all due respect, Master Kordan, my fears were correct. The Dirt has transformed Our Stowe. It has forced her intellect to mature far beyond her years, and exposed her to a depth of knowledge that has shaken the stability of some of our most accomplished Masters. Stowe's powers are just beginning to blossom and as we suspected, her talents will far supersede our own. But to push her too fast too soon bears great risk. It is easy to forget in the presence of one so articulate and poised, but allow me to remind you that within Our Stowe lies the volatile nature of a ten-year-old."

"Good Willum, of course all of what you say is true. The unfortunate facts remain, however. The governors are uneasy. Their demands increase daily. Should order not be restored, our energies will be diverted. We can wait no longer," says Darius, regret in his voice.

"I understand that our need is great, Keeper. But it is my duty to impress upon you the danger posed by this acceleration in her development."

"Her contribution outweighs her impairments. What do a few fits of temper matter? Look around you. We need to act." says Kordan.

With a wave of his finger, Darius silences Kordan. "Willum, you are to focus her education on the skills she will require to face the challenges ahead. Directing the ventures has fallen to Master Kordan; he shall inform you precisely what those requirements will be." Darius's tone signals that the discussion is over. As the two men bow and leave the room, Stowe has one last look at the Archbishop, her newfound enemy. She then quickly returns to her bed and slips back inside herself, seething. They think they know who I am. Impairments? Fits of temper? They don't know the power that's inside me. But one day they will. And on that day, I will melt the skin from their bones,

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