Nightshade City (Nightshade Chronicles Series #1)

Nightshade City (Nightshade Chronicles Series #1)

4.8 16
by Hilary Wagner

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Lose yourself in NIGHTSHADE CITY, a fantasy adventure by a talented new novelist featuring a memorable cast of rats�both heroic and villainous�in an exciting tale of intrigue and adventure.

Deep beneath Trillium City, a modern metropolis, lies the Catacombs, a kingdom of rats of extraordinary intelligence and ability. The once peaceful and democratic colony has

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Lose yourself in NIGHTSHADE CITY, a fantasy adventure by a talented new novelist featuring a memorable cast of rats�both heroic and villainous�in an exciting tale of intrigue and adventure.

Deep beneath Trillium City, a modern metropolis, lies the Catacombs, a kingdom of rats of extraordinary intelligence and ability. The once peaceful and democratic colony has become a harsh dictatorship ruled by the High Minister Kildeer and his henchman, Billycan, who runs the Kill Army and collects weekly Stipend from the terrified subjects. The two of them rule with iron fists. With most of the adult rats wiped out in Killdeer's Bloody Coup and the subsequent great flood, orphaned young male rats are forced into the army and the females into servitude�or worse. But change is coming. . . .

Two orphan brothers, Vincent and Victor Nightshade, sons of a hero killed in the Bloody Coup, manage to escape from the Kill Army and meet up with Juniper Belancourt, leader of a rebel group seeking to overthrow their oppressors and restore peace and democracy in a new city. The brothers are quickly caught up in Juniper's cause: "We survive by cover of night. We live in the shadows, waiting for our redemption! Our name must symbolize our burning spirit. . . . Tonight and forever, we are Nightshade City!"

Juniper's plans are complicated by many factors. His lovely young niece Clover has been picked by Killdeer to be his next Chosen One, so the rebels and their allies�the Earthworms�must work fast to save her. Can the rebels locate their enemies' War Room? Can Juniper's former love, now holding a position in Killdeer's Ministry, be trusted? Will the rebels be able to execute their plans without the aid of a young Topsider (human)? And how will Vincent and Victor fare in battle�will they honor their father's legacy of courage?

NIGHTSHADE CITY is rich with memorable characters: Vincent, who comes of age in this time of change; his worshipful younger brother, Victor; beautiful, intelligent Clover; Mother Gallo, a canny survivor who discovers her lost love only to risk losing him again; the charismatic Juniper, a kind and courageous leader whose vision carries the rebels into great danger; Killdeer, a decadent narcissist with surprising depth; and Billycan, a truly demented former lab rat, brilliant, vicious, and Juniper's sworn enemy.

This enthralling animal fantasy, in the classic tradition of Redwall and Watership Down, encompasses timeless themes of honor and loyalty, family ties and lost love, alliances and betrayals. Readers will respond enthusiastically to this surefire page-turner, set in a brilliantly imagined world filled with easy-to-root-for heroes and villains they'll love to hate.

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, get the e-book edition of NIGHTSHADE CITY�free on this website!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wagner's debut novel is a labyrinthine saga about warring factions of rats living beneath a human city. Residents of the grim Catacombs are ruled by High Minister Killdeer, a lecherous drunkard who took control after staging a bloody coup and assassinating the beloved Trilok. Now, 11 years later, Loyalists led by a rat named Juniper are plotting to overthrow Killdeer and Billycan (his sadistic second-in-command), liberate the oppressed rats, and bring them to live in the newly constructed, idyllic Nightshade City. Aided by earthworms adept at burrowing tunnels, the Loyalists invade the Catacombs and pull off their mission in a mostly peaceful showdown. Though an abundance of details and ruminations can bog down the action, Wagner has a talent for characterization, and she fills her sprawling cast with compelling villains and heroes. The outcome feels inevitable, yet readers encounter ample bravado, humor, and pathos along the way. Billycan's mysterious disappearance, Juniper's adoption of a foundling infant rat, and a finale that intriguingly recreates the prologue leave open the door for further adventures in Nightshade. It's a door many fantasy fans will enter eagerly. Ages 9�up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Likable and courageous rats seem an oxymoron except when describing the heroes and heroine of this anthropomorphic adventure. The Catacombs, known as the Combs, are ruled by the tyrannical Killdeer, his High Minister Billycan, and the Kill Army. In his arrogance, Killdeer has become a drunken, gluttonous king who relies on Billycan to collect the Stipend from the rats who reside in the Combs. However, rats are mysteriously disappearing. The Kill Army Majors assume they are merely attempting an escape and have been killed by Topsides (humans). However, Juniper, hero of the former government, is secretly building an underground city and raising a rebel army. His efforts are boosted when Victor and Vincent Nightshade, sons of the previous well-loved ruler, escape the Combs and join the new city. Tensions mount when Juniper's niece Clover is to be The Chosen One and become Killdeer's wife. The evil Billycan is determined to wipe out the rebels but is surprised at the courage shown by the followers of Julian and the Nightshades. A mysterious surprise at the end hints at additional adventures for the rats of Nightshade City. Simple drawings enhance the character traits of both heroes and villains. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 4�8—Vincent and Victor Nightshade live in the underground rat city known as the Catacombs, home to unusually long-lived and intelligent rats. Their father, Julius Nightshade, was once a leader of the city, but now the evil High Minister Killdeer and his vicious helper, Billycan, have taken control and terrorize its inhabitants, demanding food as tribute and forcing orphans to serve in their army or kitchens. When Vincent and Victor try to escape Killdeer's clutches, they meet Juniper Belancort, a friend of their father, who now leads the resistance against Killdeer. Along with Juniper's niece, Clover, they are drawn into the struggle to free the rats from Killdeer's reign and bring them to a new home, Nightshade City. The three help develop a plan for the rebel rats and their ally earthworms to tunnel into Killdeer's palace and confront him directly, leading to a variety of underground battles. Wagner has created an atmospheric and action-filled tale, and her balance of strong male and female protagonists is appealing. Fans of Erin Hunter's "Warriors" books (HarperCollins) may enjoy the animal action and touch of romance, and the authentic rat and earthworm abilities add to the strength of the story.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
Kirkus Reviews

Fans of Suzanne Collins's Underland Chronicles and Brian Jacques's Redwall series will enjoy this fast-paced adventure set deep in the Catacombs, where a community of intelligent rats lives in peace and harmony. Or at least they did, until two vicious rats, Killdeer and Billycan, led a coup that turned the democratic society into a dictatorship and its citizens into mistreated and oppressed subjects. Underneath all this misery, however, there is hope. A gang of rebels is creating a new city and welcoming refugee rats into its safety. The fate of the new city rests heavily on three orphans, brothers Victor and Vincent and Clover, a young female who has been secretly educated despite Killdeer's strict rule against educating girls. Can they help the rebels overthrow the tyrants, and can they do it before poor Clover is married off to Killdeer? The themes of love, loss and loyalty resonate through the novel, and the moments of darkness and violence are ultimately overpowered by hope and redemption. A good story well-told.(Animal fantasy. 10-14)

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Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Nightshade Chronicles Series, #1
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Rick Riordan
�Fans of Redwall and the Warriors series will love this heroic tale of good versus evil in a subterranean society of rats. . . . Expect great adventures in Nightshade City.�--(Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson and the Olympians series)

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