Magickeepers: The Pyramid of Souls by Erica Kirov, Eric Williams | | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Magickeepers: The Pyramid of Souls

Magickeepers: The Pyramid of Souls

4.5 6
by Erica Kirov
     
 

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It was stolen from Alexander the Great. To keep it safe, Edgar Allen Poe bargained away his sanity. And somebody suckered P. T. Barnum to get their hands on it. It's the most closely guarded secret in the magician community. And it's missing.

What would you do to protect your family from an ancient pyramid capable of stealing your very soul?

Nick

Overview

It was stolen from Alexander the Great. To keep it safe, Edgar Allen Poe bargained away his sanity. And somebody suckered P. T. Barnum to get their hands on it. It's the most closely guarded secret in the magician community. And it's missing.

What would you do to protect your family from an ancient pyramid capable of stealing your very soul?

Nick Rostov finally has the life he's always dreamed-and he'll do anything to protect it.

Nick has only now discovered he is part of an extended Russian family of magicians: the Magickeepers. He lives with his eccentric new relatives at the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where they perform daring feats of magic to a packed house. Real magic.

But Nick and his family face a new danger in the form of a stolen relic, the Pyramid of Souls. The tiny pyramid has traded hands many times throughout history. Its power can steal a magician's very soul.

Nick knows who took it: Rasputin, leader of the Shadowkeepers. Using his unique ability as a Gazer-one who can see into the past-Nick enlists his cousin Isabella to help him find it. Soon, the two are hot on the evil sorcerer's trail...until Isabella's soul is trapped by the very relic they're trying to find.

Nick will do anything to rescue Isabella and recover the Pyramid of Souls. But will it be enough to save his family?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Thirteen-year-old Nick continues to adjust to his new life after he is kidnapped by a cousin and finds that he is a member of a family of magicians with ties to Romanoff Russia. As a blind for their magic abilities, they put on a magic show at the opulent Winter Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where they live. The action begins with a convention of other magician families from throughout the world. The festivities are interrupted when the Shadowkeepers, the villains from Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass (Sourcebooks, 2009), steal the Pyramid of Souls. With his developing ability in sword fighting and his gift of Gazing into crystal balls, Nick is instrumental in defeating the enemy. The book is awash in details from Russian history and culture, and Nick's gradual adjustment to his new family and his role in their world is well executed. However, the vignettes Kirov drops in, about Edgar Allan Poe and a raven and Sir Isaac Newton and his magical Fourth Law, are not fully realized. Children who enjoy reading about kids confronting supernatural situations will find this quick read appealing.—Kathleen Meulen Ellison, Sakai Intermediate School, Bainbridge Island, WA
Kirkus Reviews
In a rushed and sketchy sequel to The Eternal Hourglass (2009), newly fledged Seer Nick Rostov again takes on the evil Shadowkeepers and their leader Rasputin-this time to rescue his cousin and best friend, Isabella, and other captive magicians. Largely focusing on filling out the cast and back story, Kirov uses most of the tale to trot out new characters and MacGuffins-Rasputin's daughter, a several-thousand-year-old elephant, Isaac Newton (to invent a fourth "law of motion" for magic that is subsequently ignored), a key hanging around Nick's neck that was originally given to Edgar Allen Poe, a golden mini-pyramid that is designed to be a repository for souls but can also be used in some unknown way as a trap-then trot them offstage again before they can act or be seen in action. It all builds up to a brief and unsuspenseful climax. Despite another round of solid comic relief from a wheeler-dealer magician named "Crazy Sergei," this outing will likely disappoint readers of the more robust opener. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402215025
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
05/01/2010
Series:
Magickeepers Series, #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
924,797
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Magickeepers

The Pyramid of Souls Book Two


By Erica Kirov

Sourcebooks, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Erica Kirov
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4985-3



CHAPTER 1

SPECIAL DELIVERY


On the very top floor of the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, Nick Rostov and his younger cousin Isabella sat on his immense four-poster bed playing cards at midnight—long past both their bedtimes. Isabella rested her head on her enormous Siberian tiger, Sascha, as if the ferociously huge yet tame cat was a furry pillow. The tiger purred as loud as an outboard motor.

"Come on, Nick," Isabella chided him. "Your turn!"

The two cousins were playing Magic Eights. It was like Crazy Eights, only the cards sometimes spoke to them—or heckled them was more like it.

"So you don't have a queen or a diamond?" The queen of diamonds, dressed in an Elizabethan costume, rolled her pale blue eyes and folded her arms across her tiny chest.

Nick kept drawing cards from the deck and finally slapped a two of diamonds on top of the queen. "That'll shut her up," he said.

"Not likely, young man," a muffled voice squeaked from beneath the top card.

Suddenly, there was a knock from the inside of Nick's closet.

Isabella grinned at Nick and clapped her hands. "Pizza's here! I'm famished."

Nick climbed off his bed and opened the ornately carved closet door with the family crest etched in real gold in the center. Crazy Sergei stepped out, holding a pizza. The top of the box read, Crazy Sergei's Impossibly Great Pizza Pie, and a cartoon drawing of Sergei decorated the box—wild black hair and furry caterpillar eyebrows included.

"Here you go, Nick!" Sergei's voice boomed. Sergei had three volumes to his voice: loud, louder, and LOUDEST.

"Shh!" Nick held a finger to his lips. "Do you want him to hear you?"

"Who? Damian?" Sergei asked. He was, as usual, dressed in a traditional Russian folk shirt of brilliant red—with intricate embroidery sewn down the front and around his collar—black pants, and black leather boots polished to a glossy sheen.

"Yes, Damian," Nick snapped.

A few months before, on the night of his thirteenth birthday, Nick had been kidnapped from his bedroom by his cousin Damian—the most famous magician in the world. Nick hadn't even known he had a cousin—any cousins. Before then, ever since his mother had died, he and his dad had lived alone in hotels where his dad worked. Most recently, they stayed in the Pendragon, a drab little hotel in the older part of town with worn carpeting and an even more worn showgirl revue. Nick had been planning a summer of skateboarding (more specifically, perfecting the nightmare flip), junk food, and blissful, couch-potato, lazy goodness. But Nick soon discovered he was actually related to an entire enormous and magical family of Russian magicians—real magicians, not illusionists.

With a snap of his fingers, Damian had literally whisked Nicholas to live on the top floors of the glamorous Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, and the magic was real. From levitation to mystical swords that flew through the air to closets that opened for pizza delivery, Nick discovered that his family hid its magical abilities by performing as a magic act. No one in the audience had any idea when Damian pierced a beautiful woman with a sword and turned her into a dove that he was actually really doing it.

The world of their magical clan was exciting. In school with his tutor, Theo, Nick had learned how to make his pet hedgehog disappear and how to create fireballs in the palms of his hands. But Nick had also learned that Damian—Theo's brother, and the leader of the family because of his incredibly powerful abilities—preferred that everything, from the food they all ate to the clothes they wore, was Russian, to reflect their ancestry. Their destiny, Damian was always saying. Pizza, Damian declared, was off-limits. Contraband. But Sergei offered almost anything—for a price.

Sergei lifted the lid of the pizza box. The crust was perfectly browned, the mozzarella cheese melted just so and gooey. The pie was slathered with pepperoni.

Nick's mouth watered. "Oh, man ... awesome."

"This is not just any pizza pie. It's Brooklyn pizza pie. And you may not know it, but that means it's the best pie in the world. You couldn't even make a magic pie as good as this one. I had to cross time zones to get it here still hot."

"Thanks, Sergei." Nick handed him a crisp twenty.

"By the way, if Damian finds out you ordered pizza, you didn't get it from me," Sergei said.

"Your name's on the box," Nick scoffed.

"Hmm ..." Sergei waved his hand and a black pen appeared in it. He crossed out Crazy Sergei on top of the box and wrote Crazy Tony.

Nick shook his head. "Oh sure, Sergei. That'll fool him. The most famous and brilliant magician in the world won't be able to figure out it came from you."

"Well, then make the box disappear when you're finished. I've got to go," Sergei said. "I'm working on a deal to bring an entire trio of trained lions to another act."

"Is there anything you won't sell?" Nick asked Sergei, who usually dealt in exotic animals but had lately branched out into the pizza and Chinese food delivery business, too.

Sergei raised his bushy eyebrows. "I do not think so, Nick. Well, I wouldn't sell a pizza to Damian. But that's about it."

Nick took the pizza, and Sergei retreated back into the closet and shut the door. Nick couldn't resist opening the door again and peering inside. Sergei was gone. Only Nick's clothes—and his costumes for the magic show—hung on the rod, perfectly pressed.

"Midnight snack," Nick said, shutting the closet door and setting the pizza down on the bed.

Isabella rubbed her stomach. "I can't wait. I'm starving. I can't believe I only had my first taste of pizza when you came here. I have to make up for all my pizza-less years!"

His cousin bit into a slice and then picked off a piece of pepperoni and tossed it in the air. Sascha caught the pepperoni on her impossibly huge, wide, pink tongue and then swallowed it.

"I didn't know tigers ate pizza," said Nick.

Isabella shrugged. "Not usually, of course. But I can't eat in front of her and not even offer. I think she likes pepperoni. She also seems to have a taste for jellybeans and caviar." She paused and smirked. "Hey, if I win, Sascha gets your last piece, okay?"

"We'll see," Nick said with a pretend serious gaze.

Before they could even pick up their cards again, there was a bumping in his closet. Nick rolled his eyes.

"Bet you anything that Sergei wants to sell me something else," he said to Isabella. "It would be just like him to show up with one of his animals. Yesterday, he had some scheme to train spider monkeys as card dealers for the casino. Like Damian would ever go for that!"

"Indeed not," came the muffled voice of the queen of spades.

Nick stood and opened the closet door—and Damian emerged—all six feet, two inches, and haughty blue eyes.

"Pizza?" Damian's eyes flashed angrily. "Card games?" He stared at Nick's bed, covered with chattering cards, all nervously whispering, "Damian's here! Damian's here!"

Nick spread his hands out wide (and he hoped innocently). "So? We're just hanging out."

"Need I remind you, young cousins, that you have important exams coming up? And you should be preparing for the convention, not eating questionable food from that parasitic little Sergei. Wait until I get my hands on him." Damian snapped his fingers. "I may just turn him into a flea on a pig's behind if he doesn't watch his step."

"Honest, Damian," Nick said, "we're ready for our exams."

"Really? So you've mastered levitation?"

"Sure. Of course I have."

"So if I take you to the roof and casually toss you off of it, you would manage to safely levitate your way back to the roof rather than becoming a flattened little pancake on the sidewalk below?"

"Why do you always have to put everything like that? Doom and gloom and death and destruction?"

Damian peered down at Nick and then Isabella. "The two of you should know precisely why. You almost lost your lives to the Shadowkeepers. You nearly drowned in the polar bear's pool, not to mention the battle in the desert. This is no time for pizza and card playing." He glanced at Nick's skateboard leaning up against the wall. "Or skateboards, with your flips and slides. You must be studying! Ready for battle at a moment's notice! Ready to fulfill your destiny!"

Damian turned to go, opening the door to the closet. "One more hand of cards. One more slice. Then off you go, Isabella. You both need to get your sleep to be ready for your studies first thing in the morning." He winked at them and then disappeared, vanishing in the blink of Nick's eye.

"That's progress, you know," Isabella said after a moment.

"What do you mean?"

"There was a time when Damian would have simply made the pizza and cards disappear and yelled at us. He did say we could have one more slice."

They played another hand of Magic Eights—Isabella won and tossed Nick's last piece right into Sascha's mouth.

"Hey!" Nick cried, laughing. "Rematch tomorrow."

"If we do ... we'll have to be careful not to get caught. Maybe no pizza."

Nick smiled crookedly. "Sorry, Isabella ... it's just not cards without pizza."

Sascha appeared to nod in agreement. Then the big cat stretched luxuriously and yawned, licking her chops.

"I know, precious. Time to go to sleep." Isabella stood. "Good-night, Nick." She left his room, Sascha padding behind her like a kitten trailing after its mother.

Nick changed into his pajamas and settled into bed. His room was enormous. Most of the things in it had belonged to his mother: ornate Fabergé eggs encrusted with gold, folksy wooden boxes painted with brightly colored birds and stylized black stallions, and a fancy silver brush and comb set. He had no memory of her, really, but he liked having her things around him. Since settling in, he had also tried to make the room a little more like his own. Tony Hawk posters competed with images of Russian life.

His room had no television and no video games. Damian forbade it. Nick had a radio, but if he turned it on, the only music he could get was Russian, and unless he felt like listening to a volynka—a Russian bagpipe that was Damian's favorite instrument—Nick had learned to keep the radio off.

However, he had inherited a special gift—aside from the ability to do magic—from his mother. He could Gaze. His crystal ball sat on his dresser, and by concentrating hard, Nick could make television appear in it—another no-no in Damian's book.

He leaned back on his pillow and watched MTV. His stomach was full of pizza, and it was making him sleepy. Life in the luxury hotel was pretty fun. He and the entire family performed an incredible magic act each night—of course, the audience never guessed it was all real magic. Each night—and twice on Saturday, when there was a matinee—the audience wildly applauded as he cast his spells. School was taught by his cousin Theo and mostly consisted of learning magic and history. He hadn't had to do long division since he'd arrived! (Which was a good thing considering his math grades.) And all his essays were on the Tsars—Russia's kings and queens of old. Now that Sergei was in the pizza business, life was just about perfect.

His dad and grandfather had even moved into the hotel on the first floor. Aside from his mom, he had everything: his new family; his dad and Grandpa; and he even had a skateboard ramp in the basement. Damian didn't know, but Nick was teaching the bellhops how to ride long boards.

Nick switched channels on his crystal ball just by thinking it. On the late news, the anchor said, "Convention time here in Las Vegas. This is when out-of-state visitors flock to the many conventions for every profession and interest you can think of."

Nick laughed to himself. No one in the real world would guess what was happening in the secret, hidden magic world. In two weeks, a magical convention was being held at the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino. Magic families from all over the globe, disguised as hundreds of accountants, would descend on the hotel. He would meet magicians from places like Tibet and Japan and Greece—and, of course, Egypt.

According to Theo, all magicians had their roots in ancient Egypt. Their history was embedded in the great pyramids, in the Sphinx, in the desert itself—the timeless yet shifting sand. Magicians were revered at that time. They didn't have to hide their gifts. But eventually, Theo said, people persecuted what they did not understand. Magicians scattered, hiding in plain sight. The Salem witch trials were some of the most famous persecutions. Over centuries, each branch of the original bloodline created its own new bloodline. They rarely saw each other. Nick tried to imagine an entire hotel filled with other magicians. He couldn't wait.

He rolled over on his side. When he shut his eyes, his mind flashed. He bolted upright in bed and clutched his temples. He was used to having visions—he was a Gazer, and that meant he could see the past, the present, and the future. But his visions hurt when they had to do with the Shadowkeepers: those magicians from the dark side, also as old as the ancient sands.

Nick squeezed his eyes shut, trying to see with his mind, but all he saw was darkness. Then, in the next instant, a crowded ballroom, filled with magicians. Then more blackness, spreading like an oil spill.

His head continued pounding. He opened his eyes, but the room spun dizzily like the Tilt-o-Whirl at a carnival. The Shadowkeepers couldn't be planning on coming to the convention. They wouldn't be that bold after he and Damian and Theo had defeated them in the Nevada desert months ago. Surely, they would stay away.

But as he slid back down underneath his covers, he already knew. The Shadowkeepers were not only that bold—they were that evil.

And they would stop at nothing to destroy him and his newfound family.

CHAPTER 2

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH


The next morning, Nick visited Maslow in his stall.

His majestic horse was kept with the other animals behind a high stone wall at the back of the casino (hidden from paparazzi and pesky journalists). His giant Akhal-Teke's coat shimmered like fourteen-karat gold.

"Hey, Maslow," Nick said, holding out a perfectly ripe Macintosh apple. The horse nibbled it from Nick's palm and whinnied his approval. Suddenly, Nick felt two heavy paws on his back. He stepped forward and whipped around. Sascha and Isabella stood there, grinning. At least, Nick thought the Siberian tiger was grinning. He could see her long, pointed, shining white teeth.

"Have you heard?" Isabella asked.

"Heard what?"

"Damian has secured an elephant for our show. I am going to ride in on her back, and you get to make us both disappear."

Nick rolled his eyes. "I don't see what was wrong with the old show. Why does he insist on creating an entirely new show every few months? No other casino in all of Las Vegas does that. Shows usually last for years."

"He likes the challenge," Isabella said. "You know him. He gets bored."

"Yes, but his being bored means I have to learn a whole new act—all new magic, everything."

"Which is as it should be." Their cousin and tutor, Theo, approached the stables, his long, black scholarly robes swirling behind him. He stood very tall, like his brother Damian, with jet-black hair cropped very close to his head, high cheekbones—a familial trait—and eyes with the bluish tint of a glacier.

"Of course, you'd defend him," Nick mumbled. "He's your brother." And he bosses us all around, he thought.

"You are too impetuous, Kolya," Theo scolded, using Nick's Russian nickname. "You should know by now that Damian lives to protect his family. The reason he changes the act has nothing to do with boredom." Theo adjusted his horn-rimmed glasses on his nose and turned his gaze to Isabella, who flushed.

"Then why?" she asked.

"To keep our skills sharp. Think of it as training. Each new feat increases your power. It deepens your skills as magicians. Plus, Isabella, you know there is a competition at the convention."

"A competition?" Nick asked.

Theo nodded. "Each clan will perform magic onstage, and the winner is declared by a measure of applause. We have never lost."

"Never?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Magickeepers by Erica Kirov. Copyright © 2010 Erica Kirov. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
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.

Meet the Author

Erica Kirov is an American writer of Russian descent. Though she is not from a family of magicians, she is from a proud family of Russians, and she grew up hearing stories of their lives there.

Erica lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, three dogs, parrot, and her son's snake (she really hates snakes). She is busy at work on the next Magickeepers novel.

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