Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass (Magickeepers Series #1)by Erica Kirov
His dad is well known as the worst magician in Las Vegas. Nick hasn't had a real friend in years. And his report card is not good at all. One F. Two Cs. One B-minus. And an A. In Health. But on Nick's thirteenth birthday his life changes forever. Awaking on the top floor of the world famous Winter Palace Hotel and
Nick Rostov's life is borderline embarrassing.
His dad is well known as the worst magician in Las Vegas. Nick hasn't had a real friend in years. And his report card is not good at all. One F. Two Cs. One B-minus. And an A. In Health. But on Nick's thirteenth birthday his life changes forever. Awaking on the top floor of the world famous Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, he meets, for the fi rst time, his extended family. A family gifted with the power of magic, real magic, exiled from their native Russia, they now hide in plain sight among the neon lights of the Casino.
All members of the family are powerful magicians, but Nick is unique. Nick has the sightthe ability to see into the past. His gift is the only way to unravel the mystery of the Eternal Hourglass, a magic artifact so strong it can even stop time. But the family's enemies will stop at nothing to get it. Nick knows that he is in for the adventure of a lifetime… if he survives.
The one and only Harry Houdini was killed for it, the most powerful magicians have battled for centuries to retrieve it, and even the Ancient Pharoahs feared its power.
What would you do for an hourglass that stopped time?
"This is a fun action story, moving quickly and easily through adventures and magic... which helps reluctant readers." - Library Media Connection
Kirov sends the Magickeepers series off to a promising start with this adventure starring a boy whose life takes a dramatic turn on his 13th birthday. Gazing into a crystal ball at a magic shop, Nick, who lives with his father in a Las Vegas hotel, discovers he can see into the past and then learns that his late mother belonged to a family of powerful Russian magicians dating back to ancient Egypt. Nick is taken in by her eccentric kin, who train him to perform in their elaborate magic show at an enchanted casino. The intricate, well-paced plot involves ancient spells and riddles, historical figures including Rasputin and Harry Houdini, and sinister Shadowkeepers seeking precious talismans, including the crucial ingredient of an hourglass that can stop time. Readers will hear intermittent echoes of another young hero with a magical legacy who is targeted by dark villains (in the magicians' casino, images in paintings move, Hogwarts-style). Still, with dashes of Russian culture and language, Kirov's story feels plenty original, and kids will be charmed by her brand of magic. Ages 9-up. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.\
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Excerpt from the Prologue
Princess Theatre, Montreal, Canada, 1926
The mysterious man in the black wool cloak sat in the front row of the Princess Theatre, precisely in the center seat. He set his top hat on his knees, and his rough beard straggled down, like a bird's nest after a storm. The man waited for the finale of the show, speaking to no one, not even his companion. Instead, he stared intently with pale, magnetic eyes as the most famous magician in the world, Harry Houdini, announced his next trick from the stage.
"Ladies and gentlemen, introducing my original invention, the Water Torture Cell."
As the audience hushed, Houdini, short and muscular with a head of dark hair and wearing a simple black bathing suit, was draped in chains by his wife, Bess. A policeman from the audience was brought onstage wearing a dapper uniform, badge gleaming under the spotlights. Holding up his own handcuffs, the policeman pulled Houdini's arms behind his back and clapped the cuffs on tightly, checking them several times before nodding. The chains wrapped around Houdini's body were heavy and clinked and rattled with every move he made. Finally, two huge padlocks were attached to the chains and locked dramatically with shining brass keys.
Slowly, the magician was liftedupside downand suspended over the glass torture chamber filled to the top with ice-cold water. Bess signaled, and Houdini was lowered until his head almost touched the beckoning water.
Bess told the crowd, "Take one last breath with the master, Houdini, and see how long you can hold it."
The crowd inhaled as one. Houdini filled his lungs with airone last breathand was lowered into the water, first his head, neck, then body, and finally his feet, before Bess fastened the top. The chamber was not big enough for Houdini to turn around in. A thick curtain was drawn. An hourglass was overturned.
"He must emerge before this sand runs out," Bess announced to the crowd. "Or he will drown."
Not one whisper could be heard in the theater. Patrons in fur coats and fancy theater dress leaned forward, women in plumage and jewels knotted their hands together anxiously. The man in the cloak heard people exhaling around him as they gasped for breath. He watched the sands trickling, as if he were somehow counting each grain. Now, as the sands ran down inside the hourglass, members of the audience murmured. Someone near the man in the cloak whispered, "It's impossible to hold your breath that long. They must free him."
"It's been two minutes!" Bess exclaimed from the stage, panic in her voice. "He cannot survive."
Bess parted the curtain, revealing Houdini struggling wildly with his shackles. Frantically, she closed the curtain and ran for the safety ax, ready to smash the glass and free her beloved husband from the throes of death. She raised the ax as the audience gasped in horror.
The man in the cloak saw those around him frozen at the edge of their seats as if statues. Seconds passed. The curtain rose.
The Water Torture Cell was empty.
At that moment, a dripping wet and smiling Houdini was revealed, standing atop the torture cell, arms raised above his head in triumph.
The crowd in the Princess Theatre rose to their feet as if they were one, stamping and clapping their approval, whistles and shouts of "Bravo!" ringing through the theater. But not the man in the cloak with the icy eyes. He stared, not at Houdini, but at the hourglass that had sifted the sparkling sand. He could see the lettering etched along its gold-rimmed top.
His companion leaned close to him and whispered in his ear, "Is that it, Master?"
The man in the cloak nodded, his eyes narrow with fury. "Yes."
"We must do whatever it takes."
Eight days later, Harry Houdini, revered showman, the most famous magician ever to have lived, was dead.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This was an interesting book packed with historical facts (some spot on and others tweaked to fit the book). The author mixes fiction and nonfiction in an engaging way. I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next one. Nick is a fantastic main character, this book is a must read for the Harry Potter fan.
I thought it was ok. Not bad, but not great.
Son of a theatrical magician, Nick is familiar with parlor and magical illusion that can appear as magic. On his 13th birthday, though, he awakens on the top floor of the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino only to meet, for the first time, his extended family. Exiled from Russia, these real magicians hide in plain sight among the neon lights of the casino. He learns that he has the gift of sight - the ability to see into the past. He also finds out that he is one of the ancient Magickeepers, charged with finding and guarding arcane artifacts from the evil Shadowkeepers. Apprenticed to Las Vegas star magician and chief Magickeeper Damian, Nick moves into the clan's palatial casino headquarters to begin his training, feeling cramped by their Tsarist lifestyle. When the family finds out that Rasputin, their most powerful enemy - who after half a century of hunting for the secret to the Eternal Hourglass is in Las Vegas - big trouble starts brewing. Believing that Nick holds the secret key to the Hourglass, Rasputin will stop at nothing to get what he wants so that he can stop time and fulfill his evil plans. Using his magic to see into the past, Nick must find a way to unravel the mystery of the Eternal Hourglass and stop Rasputin. Can he get a handle on his own powers in time to save his family and the world? THE ETERNAL HOURGLASS is a well-paced, fun fantasy adventure. The characters are well-developed, and the intermixed magic is well-crafted. The plot is intense and holds the reader's interest from start to finish. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, and mystery will all enjoy this one!