Sands of Time (Hermux Tantamoq Adventure Series)by Michael Hoeye
Our favorite mouse and watchmaker, Hermux Tantamoq, is up to his ears in trouble again. All of Pinchester is in an uproar over his friend Mirrin Stentrill's visionary new paintings-monumental portraits of CATS! The Pinchester Museum announces Mirrin's exhibition, and Mayor Pinkwiggin immediately vows to shut it down. After all, cats are not a popular topic in a city… See more details below
- Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible Shop Now
Our favorite mouse and watchmaker, Hermux Tantamoq, is up to his ears in trouble again. All of Pinchester is in an uproar over his friend Mirrin Stentrill's visionary new paintings-monumental portraits of CATS! The Pinchester Museum announces Mirrin's exhibition, and Mayor Pinkwiggin immediately vows to shut it down. After all, cats are not a popular topic in a city of rodents-and everyone knows they never really existed. While militant mice organize to stop the show, most of Pinchester's stylish set vies for invitations to the gala opening.
Then a mysterious old chipmunk appears in Hermux's shop with what he claims to be a map to the royal library of a prehistoric kingdom of cats. Before long Hermux is hot on a trail of treachery and deceit that leads all the way from Pinchester to an ancient tomb that lies buried in . . . The Sands of Time!
"A gripping story full of emotion and original humor. . . . Should firmly establish Hoeye as a break-out writer, one whose work can be favorably compared with J. K. Rowling and Brian Jacques." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The second installment in the ongoing escapades of mouse detective Hermux Tantamoq finds the diminutive watchmaker off on a quest to discover an ancient tomb, where the secret to mouse history (including whether or not cats ever really existed) lies buried. Hoeye's tale boasts the kind of minutely detailed world into which kids (and adults) can't wait to immerse themselves.
Read an Excerpt
The Sands of Time
A New Hermux Tantamoq Adventure
By Michael Hoeye
Copyright © 2002
All right reserved.
Do Drop In
* * *
"What a beautiful morning for watchmaking!" thought Hermux
Tantamoq as he unlocked the door to his shop. There was something
delicious in the air. He wrinkled his nose and sniffed. His
whiskers twitched. He took a deep breath.
"Ripe apples," he said. "Now that's a nice smell!"
He sniffed again. Hermux was a mouse who appreciated a
good meal. A nice, plump red apple might be just the thing for
lunch. With a thick slice of cheddar cheese. And a crusty piece
of bread. What a pleasant thought! He raised the shade and
switched on the lights. He put a sign out on the front counter
that said, I'm back in the workshop. Please ring the bell!
He took off his emerald green woolly coat with the bumblebee
buttons and hung it on a hook. Then he rolled up his sleeves
and went to work.
Hermux got Clenton Yooger's big pocket watch down from
the work shelf. All it needed was a good cleaning. He fitted his
magnifying loupe to his right eye and opened the heavy gold
case. First he removed the winding stem. Then he inserted a
tiny pair of tweezers to release the main spring, which, as everyone
knows, is the very most ticklish part of watchmaking. That's
when someone slapped him on the back.
"Tantamoq!" a shrill voice boomed in his ear.
Clenton Yooger's main spring sprang from his watch, skittered
across the workbench, ricocheted off the tool rack, and
disappeared onto the floor.
"Say! You're not Tantamoq!"
"I am too!" said Hermux.
"Tantamoq is older. He's my age!"
Hermux rubbed his eyes and studied his surprise visitor. It
was an old chipmunk. He was bit taller than Hermux, as you
might expect, but so skinny that he couldn't have weighed much
more than a mouse. He was wearing a faded, rusty-colored corduroy
jacket with patches on the elbows. And the shoulders.
And the lapels. And the cuffs. Some of the patches even had
Hermux thought chipmunks were a clownish lot in general.
But this one looked particularly odd to him. There was even
something sort of lopsided about his head. Hermux smiled to
himself. Then he noticed that the old chipmunk was missing an
ear. It was completely gone. Like someone had snipped it off
with a pair of scissors. Hermux winced. "Owl" he thought.
"That must have hurt!"
"I am Tantamoq!" Hermux told the old chipmunk. "Hermux
Tantamoq." He extended his paw. "You must be looking for
my father, Linnix. This was his shop. I took it over when he retired."
"Of course," said the old chipmunk. "Your father. He's the
one I want to see! Where can I find him? I want to see him right
"I'm sorry, but that's not possible." Hermux stopped. "My
father passed away several years ago."
"Linnix!" sighed the old chipmunk. "I didn't know. I'm so
sorry." Suddenly he seemed confused and uncertain.
"Well, maybe I can help you," said Hermux.
"I doubt it!" said the old chipmunk, shaking his head violently.
"I must be cursed! I need a watchmaker with a solid grasp
of history. Not a beginner."
"I'm not a beginner, and I'm very interested in history," argued
Hermux. "Just this summer I did a walking history tour of
South Glemmon. I visited the very factory where the first twisty
watchband was invented. Ask me anything about watches."
"I need somebody who understands mechanics. Who knows
how to put pieces together and figure things out. Someone who's
not afraid of complications."
"Well, that's me in a nutshell!" said Hermux. "I am certified
to repair cuckoo clocks of all sorts. Even the great antiques from
Grebbenland. And they are really complicated, I can tell you
that for sure!"
"This involves more than clocks and watches, my boy! I
need somebody with heart."
Hermux recalled the image of a bold young mouse standing
before her gleaming silver airplane. It was Linka Perflinger, the
renowned adventuress and aviatrix that he had met in the spring
of that year. Hermux had nearly lost his life rescuing Ms. Perflinger
from the clutches of a sinister plastic surgeon, Dr. Hiril
Mennus. In the process he had lost his heart to the dashing Linka.
But in the end she had chosen someone else.
"I have heart," he said ruefully.
"The point is that I need somebody just like your father."
"I'm a lot like my father," said Hermux. He glanced up at the
photograph over his workbench. It was a smiling picture of Linnix
Tantamoq at the National Convention of Watchmakers. He
had just been named Watchmaker of the Year. Hermux drew
himself up. "Like my father," he said proudly, "I'm not afraid of
complicated problems. And I can solve them under pressure.
Perhaps you heard about my involvement in the Perflinger
"No. Why would I?"
"Why, it was in all the papers! Earlier this year. My picture
was printed several times. Along with Ms. Perflinger and Tucka
Mertslin and Ortolina Perriflot! You can't say you didn't hear
something about it. Hiril Mennus? The Beauty Doc Murders?
Where have you been?"
"I've been working! In the field! I don't have time to waste
reading newspapers! And I couldn't get them if I did!"
"What do you do?" asked Hermux.
The old chipmunk jerked back suddenly and narrowed his
eyes. His one ear cocked and alert.
"Why do you want to know?" he asked suspiciously.
"Well, it sounds like you've got a problem. An interesting
one. And I'd like to hear about it. What can I do to help you?"
"You can start by helping me get this off," the old chipmunk
grumbled. He pointed to the tattered knapsack on his back.
"Boy, this is heavy," said Hermux, wrestling it onto the
workbench. "What's in it?" He started to unbuckle it.
"Hey!" snapped the old chipmunk. "Keep your hands off!
I'll do that!" He pushed Hermux away.
Hermux watched his irritable visitor rummage about in his knapsack.
Time had certainly not been kind to the old guy. He
looked run-down and run over. From his patched jacket to his
threadbare pants and his dusty, scuffed boots. His fur was thin
and lifeless. His paws were nicked and scarred. And then there
was the missing ear. How had that happened? He certainly
didn't look like any friend of his father's that Hermux had ever
met. And Hermux couldn't quite picture his father being good
friends with a chipmunk to begin with.
The old chipmunk interrupted his thoughts.
"If you'll have some patience for an old man's cautious nature,"
he said, "I've got something very interesting to show you.
It's a very puzzling object that I acquired recently. It raises
several questions about history. Questions that would have interested
an intelligent, imaginative watchmaker like your father.
Maybe they will interest you."
A noisy clanging in the front of the shop interrupted him.
THE "A" LIST
* * *
Someone was pounding the bell on the counter.
"Looks like you made the list, Hermux!"
It was Lista Blenwipple with the morning mail.
"And not everybody did. I can tell you that for a fact!" she
continued with great satisfaction. She appeared in the door of
the workshop. "Oh, here you are!" she said cheerily. She handed
Hermux a handful of mail.
The new issue of Watchmaker's Monthly was right on top of
the fall catalog from Orsik & Arrbale, the department store. On
its cover an athletic young field mouse was shown leaping in
midair from a towering stack of hay. He was wearing a very
catchy outfit - pumpkin-colored shorts and a thick grass-green
sweater covered with bright yellow exclamation points. There
were bills and notices. And there was a letter from Nip Setchley.
Hermux started to open it.
"Oh, that's not it, silly!" cautioned Lista. "It's not mixed in
with the everyday mail. No, indeed!" She removed a pale gray
envelope from a special inside compartment of her mailbag and
held it up before him like some sort of trophy.
"There's those that were chosen. And those that weren't,"
she went on mysteriously. "I know some people who are in for a
big disappointment-people who ought to know better than irritate
me by putting on fancy airs-people who'll be sorry that
their mail was unavoidably detained in transit."
Finally she handed Hermux the envelope. "It looks like
you'll be going."
"Where?" asked Hermux.
"Don't be ridiculous!" Lista burbled. "To Mirrin's opening at
the museum, of course! What has everybody in Pinchester been
talking about since August? Honestly, Hermux, I wonder sometimes
if you're entirely there...."
Hermux examined the envelope. It was addressed to him in
a beautiful flowing script written in dark blue ink. He opened it
carefully and withdrew the invitation.
Hermux was awfully proud of his elderly friend Mirrin.
After three long and difficult years of blindness, she had regained
her eyesight. That was barely six months ago. She had
returned to her painting studio immediately, and since then she
had created a remarkable series of paintings of the disturbing visions
she had had during her blindness. It had been Hermux
who had restored her sight. And that had come about as a result
of his surprising adventure with Linka Perflinger, Dr. Mennus,
and Hermux's neighbor, the irrepressible and ruthless cosmetics
tycoon Tucka Mertslin. But that is another story.
"Of course, you being Mirrin's good friend, there wasn't
much doubt that you'd get invited," Lista confided. "But you
can never be completely sure. Take Lanayda Prink for example.
She donates her entire collection of coffee mugs to the museum,
including all the mugs from all her trips out West, and does she
get invited? Something tells me she won't. And boy, will she be
steamed! It shows that you can never be too polite to your postal
"And now, Hermux, who is your interesting new friend?"
Hermux turned to make the introductions. But the old
chipmunk was gone. He had sneaked out of the shop without
making a sound.
"I'm afraid I don't know his name," said Hermux. "A
nervous, odd fellow. He says he knew my father. But he didn't
say how. I never found out what he wanted. I don't even know
where he's from."
Hermux ran the tip of his paw thoughtfully over the workbench
where the old chipmunk had set his knapsack.
"Although from the looks of this sand, I would say that until
recently he's been out West. Probably in the desert."
Who's in Charge?
* * *
"I don't care how famous she is!" the mayor shouted into the
telephone. "I don't care if she was blind! I don't care if she was
first mouse on earth! I will not have obscene art at the Pinchester
Museum. It won't happen! And that's that! I'll take the place
apart brick by brick and sell it for scrap. Tell that to the board
of directors!" He slammed the receiver down with a bang.
Hooster Pinkwiggin was not a wood rat to be trifled with.
He had a vicious temper, especially during election years, and a
tendency to snap first and ask questions later. Several of his assistants
had the scars to prove it. One by one they scooted back
as he glared at them in a fury.
"Paintings of cats!" he screamed. Unable to reach a single
assistant, he grabbed a pencil off his desk and bit it in two with
a sharp snap. That seemed to calm him for a moment. But not a
"Is the woman completely mad? Does she want to frighten
everyone to death with her nonsense? Is she some sort of sick
publicity hound? Pinchester is a civilized city! We don't speak
about cats in public. We don't read about them in books. We're
certainly not going to show paintings of them in the museum!"
"Mmmmh ... Mayor Pinkwiggin?" interrupted an earnest-looking
squirrel with an unusually bushy tail.
"There seems to be one more problem with Miss Stentrill's
portraits of cats."
"Apparently they're nude-"
"Nude?" exploded the mayor. "Nude?! How can cats be
nude when no one has ever seen one to begin with? How can
they be nude when they never even existed! What kind of wacko
nut is this Stentrill woman?"
His lips curled up in an ugly snarl. The assistants took bigger
steps farther back. The Mayor grabbed the telephone cord
with his front teeth. The powerful muscles in his jaws flexed.
Then he remembered the nasty shock he'd gotten the last time
he'd bitten through a lamp cord.
"I won't stand for it!" he screamed. The telephone went
"I will not be made a fool of!" he bellowed.
"They'll be sorry they tangled with me!" he roared.
"This is war!" he screeched. He legs went stiff with rage. He
began to turn himself around and around in his swivel chair.
Faster and faster.
"Close the museum immediately!" he thundered as he came
around the first time. His feet sent the desk lamp flying.
"Lock it!" he cried, spinning by. The photos of his wife and
his children and his rowboat fell over with a crash.
"Bar the door!" he snarled. Coffee cups spilled their coffee.
"Chain it!" he blared. Sugar cubes rolled from the sugar
bowl like dice.
"Nail it shut!" he croaked as he slowed to a stop. "Arrest
everybody inside!" A tower of carefully typed reports leaned
and swayed back and forth, back and forth.
"Mayor Pinkwiggin, I'm afraid that's going to be more difficult
than you think," explained the squirrel, who eyed the
teetering stack of reports hopefully. He had been up half the
night working on those reports, and getting the pages in the right
order had been harder than you'd think.
"You're new here, aren't you?" asked the mayor, sitting up
in his chair to get a better look at the squirrel.
"Yes, sir! I am!" said the squirrel.
"And your name?"
"Birbir, your honor," he said proudly. "Birbir Nifftin."
"Well, Birbir," said the mayor, leaning forward over his
desk. "Why don't you explain to me exactly what the big difficulty
"Well, sir," Birbir began. The other assistants took shelter
behind whatever furniture they could find. Birbir himself was
trying to back toward the door but discovered that the long fur
on his tail was somehow twisted up in the mayor's chair. "The
problem is the museum. You see, the city doesn't own the Pinchester
Museum. The museum owns it. It's actually private
property. We can't tell them what to do."
And that was really too much for the mayor, especially during
an election year. He launched himself at Birbir with his teeth
flashing and nipped him right on the arm.
"Ouch!" squeaked Birbir. "That hurt!"
Birbir's tail whipped spastically, and the mayor's chair un-spun
like a wild top. It threw the mayor against his desk, scooted
across the floor, knocked over the water cooler, and bounced
out the window. It landed with a loud crash on the mayor's new
car three floors below.
"We'll see who owns the Pinchester Museum!" panted the
Excerpted from The Sands of Time
by Michael Hoeye
Copyright © 2002
by Michael Hoeye.
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.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >