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Henry and his friend Mr. Fogarty return to the Faerie Realm to help their friends, the royal siblings Pyrgus and Holly Blue, in their continued fight against the treacherous Lord Hairstreak and the evil forces of the Faeries of the Night.
"This sequel is off to a galloping start . . . and the conclusions promise more to come."—Booklist on Purple Emperor
Henry had a full set of keys, but he avoided using the front door and walked around the back. It was gloomy there as always - Mr Fogarty had erected an enormously high fence to stop the neighbours spying on him - and there wasn't much to see: just a grey, mossy patch of lawn and the garden shed beside the buddleia bush where Henry had first met Pyrgus. He walked down to the bush - it was one of Hodge's favourite haunts - and called out, 'Hodge! Come on Hodgie, suppertime!'
Hodge must have been lurking in the undergrowth, because he emerged at once, tail up, and polished Henry's ankle. 'Hello, Hodge,' said Henry fondly. He sort of liked the old tomcat, even though he'd made the place a killing field for rats, mice, birds and rabbits.
Henry walked towards the back door, taking slow, careful steps on account of Hodge making figures of eight between his feet. When he unlocked the door and pushed it open, Hodge ran in ahead of him, eager for his pouch of Whiskas. Mr Fogarty had always fed him some foul-smelling stuff that looked like puke and cost less than 25p a tin. Hodge ate it under protest, but liked pouch Whiskas better. He'd never smooched Mr Fogarty the way he smooched Henry.
Henry opened the cupboard, took out two pouches and Hodge's special tin plate.
'You're ruining that cat - you know that,' a voice growled from the shadows.
Henry was so startled he dropped the plate, which clattered loudly on the kitchen tiles. Hodge squawked in protest and bolted for the door.
'I'm not a scaredy-cat!' Pyrgus protested. 'I just want to see exactly what he'll be doing.' He leafed ostentatiously through the pattern book. Lavish animation spells caused the butterfly illustrations to writhe and stretch their wings.
'You know exactly what he'll be doing,' Blue said fiercely. 'They're traditional designs - they haven't changed in years! And you saw them often enough on Daddy.' Her eyes clouded. 'While he was alive.'
'I know, I know,' said Pyrgus. He turned another page.
'Well, what are you waiting for?'
Pyrgus mumbled something under his breath.
'What?' asked Blue sharply.
'Don't like needles,' Pyrgus mumbled just a little louder.
They were in the Emperor's private quarters - Pyrgus's private quarters now - in the Purple Palace. The Royal Herticord had been waiting outside for nearly an hour.
'I know you don't like needles,' Blue said, not unkindly. 'But you have to have it done. And you have to have it done now, otherwise they'll still be itching at your Coronation. You can't have the new Purple Emperor scratching through the ceremony - people will think you have fleas.'
'I could use a healing spell,' Pyrgus said.
'You could pull yourself together,' Blue told him shortly. 'You've sent that poor man away twice already. Just grit your teeth and get it over with.'
'Oh, all right,' Pyrgus said with bad grace. He nodded to the footman standing like a statue by the door. 'Show him in.'
The footman swung the door open with a flourish. 'Sir Archibald Buff-Arches,' he announced loudly. 'The Royal Herticord.'
The man who strode in reminded Blue a little of her old enemy Jasper Chalkhill. He was overweight, and had a taste for extravagant clothing - he was wearing a short-silk robe woven with illusion spells so that misty nymphs swam through its folds. But that's where the resemblance ended. His eyes showed he was no Faerie of the Night, and he walked with purpose. Two wiry helpers manoeuvred in a trolley spread with multi-coloured pots, several bottles and a tray that displayed Pyrgus's dreaded needles.
The Herticord bowed formally to Pyrgus. 'Your Imperial Majesty,' he acknowledged. He turned to Blue and made a lesser bow. 'Your Serene Highness.' She noticed he had very delicate hands. They were rather beautiful.
'My brother's ready for you,' Blue said quickly before Pyrgus could change his mind.
Pyrgus gave her a dirty look, but had obviously decided to go through with it. He turned to Buff-Arches with exaggerated dignity. 'I'm in your hands, Herticord. Let's get it over with.'
The two helpers were busying themselves opening jars and bottles and laying out a range of gleaming instruments beside the needles. Blue saw Pyrgus turn a little green. The trolley looked as if they were preparing for major surgery.
'I expect His Majesty would like to know his options,' Buff-Arches said briskly.
Pyrgus stared at him and Blue's instincts told her that if her brother was going to chicken out at all, this would be the moment. But all he said was, 'Options?' Yse, I'd like to know my options.'
'Traditionally,' said Buff-Arches, 'the tattoos are done without anaesthetic or magical intervention of any sort, save for a small transfusion should royal blood loss exceed two pints in any single hour -'
'Blood loss?' Pyrgus squeaked. 'Two pints an hour?'
'Oh, it seldom reaches anything approaching that amount,' Buff- Arches said easily. 'Unless, of course, one happens to sever an artery when preparing the Royal Transposition.'
'The Royal Transposition?' Pyrgus echoed. Blue moved nonchalantly a little closer in case he fainted.
'A deep tissue sample used to gauge the effect of the dyes. A safety precaution in case of allergic response. I tattoo the sample first - with a picture of a bee - then, if there is no reaction, we proceed with the formal illustration of Your Majesty's body. The tissue sample is normally taken from the royal buttocks.'
Blue fully expected Pyrgus to protest. She certainly would have - a tissue sample of that sort meant you couldn't sit down for a week. But all Pyrgus said was, 'Why a bee? Why do you tattoo the sample with a bee?'
'I haven't the slightest idea,' Buff-Arches said. 'It's simply the specified picture - specified by tradition, you understand.' He watched Pyrgus for a moment, as if expecting further questions, then said abruptly, 'But I was explaining your options. As I say, the traditional way involves no anaesthetic or magical intervention, but one of your illustrious ancestors, Emperor Scolitandes the Weedy, decreed henceforth all Purple Emperors might elect to have their official tattoos carried out under general or local anaesthetic -' he gestured towards some bottles on the trolley, '- these herbal tinctures here. Or, alternatively, that the candidate might light a spell cone that would render him temporarily immune to pain.' He paused expectantly, then added, 'Perhaps you Imperial Majesty would care to tell me the potion of his choice?'
Pyrgus was staring at the tray. 'what are those instruments for?' he asked. 'The tissue sample?'
'Oh no, sire. Your Majesty will recall that my secondary duty as Herticord is to shave Your Majesty's head in the Royal Tonsure. The tools look a little off-putting, but that part if the procedure is quite painless, I assure you. Unless Your Majesty has a twitch, of course.'
'Do we have to do the shaving thing?' Pyrgus asked. He was a bit vain about his hair.
Buff-Arches nodded briefly. 'Yes, we do. Your Majesty is titular had of the Church of Light, so the tonsure is wholly appropriate. But if Your Majesty wishes, I can retain the shaven hair and have it made into a little wig for Your Majesty to wear when he is not engaged in State occasions.'
'Yes,' Pyrgus said quickly. 'Yes, you do that.'
'And Your Majesty's options? The anaesthetics, the spell cone...?
'What did my father do?' Pyrgus asked.
For the first time Buff-Archers's expression softened. 'Your father, sire, opted for the traditional approach - no spells, no anaesthetics. He didn't even require my assistants to hold him down.'
Blue felt herself tense. It was only weeks since their father was murdered - and murdered horribly with an analogue World weapon that had destroyed most of his face. But Pyrgus and their father had seldom seen eye to eye. It had got so bad at one stage that Pyrgus had left home and lived in the city as a commoner. Would he follow his father's example now? 'Then I shall do the same,' said Pyrgus grandly. He began to unbutton his breeches.
Blue left discreetly. She was proud of her brother, delighted with his choice. But she had no desire to be there when they took the tissue sample from his bottom.
There were still a million things to do before the Coronation. Gold leaf for the Cathedral, spell candles for the nave, gifts for the congregation, musicians, the celebratory games, rabbits for the Official Distribution, the Honour Guard, the clerical bribes, the State Barge, the seven conjuration troupes, the Endolg Chorus, the Male Companion - Pyrgus wanted Henry for that and Blue wasn't even sure Gatekeeper Fogarty had contacted him yet - the Female Companion, which would be Blue herself, except she still hadn't had her fitting for the dress, the Grand Salute, the new statue in the Great Square, the reception menu... the list went on and on.
And all of it was down to Blue since Pyrgus wouldn't take it seriously.
She was hurrying towards her own rooms and the dreaded To Do list when she decided on impulse to get the fitting over with. She turned down a steep flight of narrow stairs that led to the servants' quarters. It wasn't an area of the palace she normally visited - when the Princess Royal needed something, servants came to her - but tradition had it that the gown worn by the Female Companion should be woven from the finest spinner silk with no spell reinforcement.
Ridiculous, but that was tradition for you. Everybody knew spinner silk was the most fragile substance in the world until it set. Afterwards, of course, it was the strongest. The trouble was, to get the astonishing form-fitting folds that made spinner dresses so desirable, you had to try the garment on before the fabric set. You had to try it on carefully. At least, you had to try it on carefully when you weren't allowed to use a stasis spell. If you were lucky, the whole thing didn't fall apart and you had the most wonderful gown in the realm. If you weren't, the Silk Mistresses made up another one (at hideous expense) and the whole process began again.
Most clients, even nobles, visited the Mistresses in their trading lodges above the spinner pits. It was only by a very special concession to the Princess Royal that her Coronation gown was being constructed in the Palace itself. Blue would have been happy to give the Mistress a state apartment, but they insisted on setting up their workshop in the servants' quarters. Blue discovered the reason when she entered it.
'Why's it so cold in here?' she demanded, her breath frosting.
One of the Silk Mistresses glanced up from her bench. If she was impressed by the sudden appearance of the Princess Royal, she didn't show it. 'The fabric is unworkable at higher temperatures' she said.
Blue shivered and hugged herself. 'I've come for the fitting,' she said shortly. 'Is everything ready?'
The Mistress stood up and walked towards her. She was a tall, elegant matron with waist-length hair and her own gown was divine. That was the great thing about spinner silk. It made any woman look wonderful; any woman who could afford it, that was.
'Of course, Serenity. Please follow me.'
Blue allowed herself to be led across the workshop. The Mistresses had moved their entire operation into the palace, to judge from the garments they were creating. Blue hoped they hadn't moved their spinners in as well. She like arachnids - she even owned an illegal psychotronic - but silk spiders were the size of terriers, too large even for her.
The Mistress opened a door to a second room, smaller than the first and empty of workbenches. There was a stunning purple and gold gown draped over a wooden form and illuminated by a gently glowglobe. The fabric shimmered as if enchanted.
Despite herself, Blue sucked in her breath. It's amazing.'
The Mistress smiled lightly. 'Indeed, Serenity.'
On impulse Blue said, 'What's your names, Silk Mistress?'
'Peach Blossom, Serenity.'
'It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, Peach Blossom,' Blue said sincerely. She took a step closer to the garment. Although the temperature of this room was perhaps a degree or two higher than that in the workshop, her breath was still frosting. 'Do I have to undress to try it on?' 'Yes, Serenity. It will fit, of course, but your body heat will set the material to conform to your figure now and forever. Assuming you don't tear it as you put it on.'
'I'll be careful,' Blue promised.
The material felt... elusive. Not quite slippery, yet somehow distant, as if it belonged in another dimension. Blue desperately wanted to put it on quickly - the room was so cold she was already shivering - but forced her numbing fingers to move with slow deliberation. The gown slid over her head and down her body like a slick of perfumed oil. She felt warmer at once and sensed the catalytic process as the spinner threads began to set.
'Well, done, Serenity!' Peach Blossom said. 'You may move now - it's quite safe.' Blue moved and the gown moved with her. She was suddenly energised, as if someone had lit a euphira cone.
'You look wonderful, Your Highness,' Peach Blossom said. 'Please come through and show the other Mistresses.'
Although Blue had never thought much about her appearance, she thought about it now. She felt graceful. She felt beautiful. She felt as elegant as the Silk Mistress herself. Her movements were a dance. No wonder the Mistresses could command such high prices for their designs: the effect of wearing one was quite extraordinary.
There was a burst of spontaneous applause as she walked back into the workroom. Several of the Silk Mistresses even stood up, smiling their delight. Blue smiled back in sincere appreciation, but at that moment of triumph an unexpected thought occurred: just wait until Henry Atherton sees me in this!
Excerpted from The Purple Emperor by Herbie Brennan 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.
Posted June 12, 2013
Posted January 20, 2013
I love the characters and the series more and more with every book! Lots of twists and turns make the book unpredictable and a page turner.
Love the humor, too! I couldn't put the books down and had to read all the books in the series!
Posted August 14, 2007
Holy crap, man. These books are ALMOST at th top of my list except I have to agree with the fact that they are somewhat predictable, or mabye it's just my intellect'Joking'. These books have the standard Fantasy foundations, along with these unexpected and sometimes wonderfully gruesome additions. But when compared to the more, uh, accomplished and EXPERIENCED writers, it seems rather, uh, unstable. It is a funny story with a dark underside. Good touch!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 13, 2006
This is a book written by Herbie Brennan about how a young child and his sister (i read it a while ago and never wrote a review so i dont remember the names) and how they become apart of the royal family of this whole seperate dimension. But the boy doesnt even want to be a the new purple emperor, and yet he doesnt have a choice. Meanewhile there are dark forces about, traitors, enemys, treason,magic and fantasy... but it is kind of hard to follow. If you dont like reading, but ur deciding to give it another chance... i dont think you should start with this book, but i really enjoyed it :-)
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 22, 2006
this is one of the best fantasy books i have ever read. you might not understsand some of the things if you havn't read the first book Faerie Wars but as the story progresses it explain a lot of it.For all those Harry potter and Inkheart fans this is the book for you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 14, 2006
I read this book a while ago but never wrote a review! I think it is amazing and is 10x better than Faerie Wars which I also enjoyed. Herbie describes how faeries are in such a different way form everyone else and how they become small it is amazing. I would sugest it for all faerie fanatics like me. To this day it is still my favorite book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2006
Faerie Wars was awesome, but The Purple Emperor is SO MUCH better! There's more things going on, more action, more new creatures and it's longer and keeps you reading and reading. I can't wait for the next one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2006
I just couldn't put it down. Now i am waiting exspectantly on the next book. I just loved Henry and Blue's relationship and especially Henry's idea in the end that will make the next book even more interesting about how Lord Hairstreak is going to try to get on the throne. And i also cant wait to see wat goes on with Pyrguys and Nymph. I thought this book was as good as the first. It brought the four friends together and introduced diferent people of the realm making it exciting and a fantasy book you wouldn't want to miss.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 21, 2006
The Purple Emperor was better than Faerie Wars! It was a lot more exciting, with more action than the first book. It was also better because you already knew all the characters, so there was a lot less description and explanation for characters. I especially appreciated the ending, which I hoped and anticipated to happen. That was the onlyt real flaw: it was somewhat predictable. Otherwise, awesome!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 22, 2005
I looooove Herbie Brennan, but I don't think this book ranks as high as the last. The Purple Emperor is awesome and a must read for those who've read Faerie Wars or who enjoy fantasy in general. I only have one bad thing to say about this book--it's ending. Mystifying, captivating, yet bittersweet. I want to read so much more of the adventures of Henry, Pyrgus, and Holly Blue!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2005
This book was better than the first Faerie Wars which i thought was wasome as well. It keeps your mind going and you can't put it down. My favorite book i've ever read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 15, 2005
I read all of the negative book saying that this book was slow. NO WAY! I thought the first one was better,but i still couldn't put this one down! I think this is a definite must read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2005
i really liked faerie wars...i mean i liked how the author joined 2 very different characters together. Faerie wars was definitely not something i regretted reading. The purple emperor just seemed...i dunno...lame. don¿t get me wrong it's still good! but...could be way better if it was written bit differentlyWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2005
this book was really good. not as good as the first, which was awesome, but it was still good nonetheless. people give it bad reviews but its not that bad. you just have to want to know what happens after the first emperor dies. i liked it all in allWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 7, 2005
Posted July 12, 2005
Posted April 19, 2005
I liked faerie wars quite alot because it had a pretty interesting plot and was extremly exited to get the sequal, but i was very diapointed, almost all the adults acted like children I mean wasn't Chalkhill saposed to be this big evil enamy but he bassicly broke down and cryed every other chapter and his thought's were so infantile the only thing keeping me reading was hoping it would get better...Holly Blue kind of pissed me off...I don't know why it was just something about the way the author described her as spunky that annoyed me..you should be able to tell for yourself that she is spunky (which you couldnt) the author shouldnt have said she was something she obviusly wasn't. Pyrgus was cool in my opinion and Brennan did have many good ideas, the only thing he has to work on his developing his charectersWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2005
i love these books! they were so awesome i just loved them. it was a bit confussing but it was the best. i loved those little lie detecter dog things they were cool.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2005
Look...anyone whos says they didn't like the book shouldn't be reading fantasy novels or series. This book was maybe even the best story I ever read in the Fantasy catagory. I'm 17 years old and it kept me reading throughtout every part of the story and I became instantly addicted. Herbies first book was freaking sweet! and I definetly thought 'The purple emperor ' was just as good, in not better.Also the way the author makes the characters is perfect. I was especially liking the love relationship thing between Blue and Henry. After I finished Brennan's first book I just craved more and after reading his second book I still want more. This book along with the first one are a MUST HAVE. I can only hope that Brennan will make a third book after 'The Purple Emperor'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 27, 2005
i wanted to read this book really badly when i found out it was out. i mean, Faerie Wars was really good, but i found this book slow, boring, and almost anti-climatic. there were just too many chapters (105 chapters to about 425 pages). characters switched too much at chapters and you would have to guess who they were talking about cuz it would just say 'he' did... This book was definitely disappointing!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.