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The Specter Key (Bran Hambric Series #2) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Your enemies will do anything to stop you. Your best friend might be dead. And your only hope is your father...a man you've never met-until now.

Who would you trust?
Would you even trust yourself?

Bran Hambric believes that the Farfield Curse is over with. But when he discovers a safe-deposit box in his dead mother's name-in the very bank vault where he was discovered as a ...

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The Specter Key (Bran Hambric Series #2)

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Overview

Your enemies will do anything to stop you. Your best friend might be dead. And your only hope is your father...a man you've never met-until now.

Who would you trust?
Would you even trust yourself?

Bran Hambric believes that the Farfield Curse is over with. But when he discovers a safe-deposit box in his dead mother's name-in the very bank vault where he was discovered as a boy-Bran's past comes rushing back. Now he's on a frightening path that puts everyone he cares about in danger.

When Bran's best friend, Astara, is kidnapped, Bran will do whatever it takes to save her and prevent the evil mage on his trail from claiming the power of the curse for herself. But will the magic destroy him the way it destroyed his mother?

Praise for Kaleb Nation:

"Kaleb Nation's wry sense of humor kept me smiling, even while the mystical sparks flew. Get ready for lots of surprises ..."
-D. J. MacHale, author of the Pendragon Series

"Whimsy, magic, and suspense collide in this breathtaking tale. The Farfield Curse is a story you'll want to pick up, but not put down!"
-Kaza Kingsley, author of the bestselling Erec Rex series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Nation creates a sparkling array of unusual settings and creatures that will appeal to fantasy aficionados... Marc Thompson's vocal virtuosity...gives each character a unique voice and portrays a full range of emotions for each of them, making it sound like a full-cast performance." - School Library Journal (audio book review)
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—In Kaleb Nation's sequel (2010) to Bran Hambric: The Fairfield Curse (2009, both Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), Bran battles to save his friend, Astara, who has be snatched into the world of Specters. On the way, he meets people from his past and struggles to come to grips with his parents' identities. Like the first book, this one starts slowly as the author establishes the main conflicts and relationships of the story. The interaction between characters is complex, and their relationships with each other are not always clear. It is difficult to tell if Bran's attitude toward his foster family is affectionate or loathing or if his relationship with Astara is platonic or romantic. The pace picks up about halfway through the book, and Bran is hurled from one harrowing crisis to the next at dizzying speed. Nation creates a sparkling array of unusual settings and creatures that will appeal to fantasy aficionados. However, his tendency toward overstatement makes the narrative and dialogue come across as melodramatic, especially in the action sequences. Marc Thompson's vocal virtuosity makes up for some of the weaknesses in the writing. He gives each character a unique voice and portrays a full range of emotions for each of them, making it sound like a full-cast performance.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library , UT
Kirkus Reviews

The author of Bran Hambric: The Fairfield Curse (2009) dishes up an equally maladroit sequel featuring the same sort of nonsensical plot, clumsy satirical elements and ham-fisted writing. Tucking in lines like, "It knew his name, which was enough to send terror through his skin," and, "the creature leapt forward, striking his finger with her teeth," Nation sends his young wizard-in-training on a rescue mission after a mysterious Key left him by his dead mother explodes with magic one random night and sucks the soul of his best friend/main squeeze Astara into a trap (her corpse conveniently disappears from its buried coffin some time later). Joined along the way by his previously unknown father and a Tinkerbell-style vampire fairy with obscure loyalties and motives, Bran eventually finds and destroys the trap (and the Key—supposedly, that is) in the sort of running battle with the mage who killed his mother that pauses while he dives into a lake to rescue the miraculously alive Astara and ends with everyone pretty much back where they started, poised for the next episode. Not a stand-alone, or, for that matter, a stand-at-all. (Fantasy. 11-13)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402257858
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: Bran Hambric Series , #2
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 707,942
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

As a child, Kaleb Nation had to be forced to write one page a week in creative writing. But after he finished his first story, no one could make him to stop. Age twelve, he telephoned the editor of a major publisher to pitch his book, but got to talk with security instead. Years later, his books are now produced by publishers worldwide... including the one who first turned him down.
Aside from writing, Kaleb is a blogger and a former radio host. He turned 21 in 2009 and currently lives in California.
Visit Kaleb online at kalebnation.com.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
The Woman and the Briefcase

Elspeth waited for him at the gas station.
A single row of tall pumps sat in front of the building like rust-colored phantoms staring out into the night. Stalks of wispy grass cut through cracks in the parking lot gravel and waved in the breeze, the windows of the store broken and the car wash devoid of life. No cars passed on that road-no one took that old route through the dark, sandy hills anymore. But it was where Elspeth waited, and it was where she knew he would arrive.
If anyone had passed on the deserted road, no one would have seen her in the darkness. She stood alone, her black hair blowing behind her, a streak of white dashed through it, arms crossed over the black wand hidden inside her long coat. The skies were clear, but the moon hardly shone on her face, waiting and emotionless.

An old gray van pulled off the road, one of the windows taped over with a ripped trash bag that flapped intermittently. The van jerked to a halt in the middle of the lot, and the door snapped open, creaking as a man slid out. He was short and overweight with a greasy face, hair graying and eyes bloodshot from long hours in front of a computer screen. He jumped when Elspeth stepped out, but when he recognized her, he pulled a
briefcase from the van. His gaze darted around, wary, as he had every right to be. She was wanted by every Magic Investigational Police officer in the world-but she had offered him a reward he could not refuse.

"Cold night, eh?" he said as he came forward, licking his lips with anticipation, wrapping his torn coat closely to his body. His gaze searched the hills around them.

"I presume you got it," Elspeth said. She glanced at the brief¬case, and even that small movement made him shuffle back a step.

"Money first," he demanded. "Like you promised. Had to knife through m'best mate to get these, so I'm not leaving with¬out the money."

"Very well," Elspeth said, drawing a leather bag from its resting place against the worn bricks. She passed it to him, and he took it with shaking hands.

"Count it," she said. "Hopefully it's enough to pay for your friend's casket."

He dug through the bag. It nearly slid from his fat, sweaty hands, but when he looked up, his eyes were bright.

"A casket of pure gold," he said with a harsh laugh. "Combination is 1-1-9 on the right, 1-9-5 on the left." He shoved the briefcase into her hand. She spun the dials and glanced at the contents within. "It's all there," he said to her. "The tapes, the papers, all of it. I broke the passwords to the third level administration of the Mages Council database, but that's as far as I got. If there's anything deeper, no one's going to get it besides the Primirus or the Archmages."

"Everything I need is here," she confirmed after a few moments.

The man nodded his head in farewell, but froze mid-bow, his gaze trained over Elspeth's shoulder. A pair of searing blue eyes moved in the grass behind her. Elspeth stepped to the side.

"I'm finished with him," she said, and something leapt from the darkness with a shriek that echoed against the hills. The man dropped the money and screamed horribly, falling back to the pavement, cursing and struggling, but the creature caught him by his leg, snarling in his face. The man gave one final gurgling, screamed curse before his voice was abruptly cut short by a crack and a tear. But Elspeth was already reading the papers and paid him no attention.

"Let it feed, Joris," she said as another man appeared out of the shadows of the station. "After it's done, drag what's left to his van and burn it. Let that be his casket."

Joris kept his eyes from the gruner as it fed, a shock of blond hair going to his shoulders and his strong gaze hardly wavering, even as the horrible sounds echoed in the emptiness. Elspeth stepped around the building and held the papers up so she could see the words in the faint moonlight.

Presently, the gruner loped to her side, brushing against her leg, its body like a giant dog standing on its back paws, crouched low, black with sharp bristling fur that flexed across its muscu¬lar back and head. Two blade-like tusks protruded from its lips, bearing dirty bits of the man's jacket. Its cobalt eyes were no longer hungry.

"I've covered the van with gasoline," Joris said when he returned. "We should be moving before I set it off."

"Very well," she said. She clicked the briefcase's lid shut. "I have found the answers we seek."

"They have the Key?" Joris asked.

She gave a small, dark smile. "No, they do not." Elspeth's voice carried a hint of resignation. "Which means Emry passed it on to someone before she left-either physically or by desire. I do not know."

A harsh ringing sound near Joris pierced the quiet. Shoving his hand into his pocket, he drew out a silver cell phone. The front was lit with the caller ID, and Joris blinked when he saw it: the single letter T.

"It's him," Joris breathed.

"Answer it," she said. He hesitated but finally flipped it open.

"Hello, Joris, chilly night isn't it?" came the voice of a man on the other end, almost  before Joris had a chance to turn on the speakerphone.

"Haven't heard from you in a few months," Joris said flatly. "Trouble with the police?"

The man on the other end chuckled. "I think after nearly a decade they'd have given up on us. Tell me...did my directions lead you to Bran?"

Joris stiffened. "They were correct."

"But he proved to be as difficult as I said, did he not?" the man's voice went on. "I thought you might be able to handle it, but I guess not."

"And how would you know that?" Joris hissed. "You wouldn't be living if you came within a hundred feet of me."

The man on the phone gave another laugh. "Wouldn't I?" he said. "What about sending Shambles alone, twice? You, seeing Bran at the tavern?"

 Joris's eyes narrowed, and he looked to Elspeth, who forced him to be quiet.

"Sounds like you blundered it plenty," the man reproved. "I thought I had him sitting on a plate for you. I can forgive others, but when you lost him at the garage-?"

"That's enough!" Joris couldn't contain his rage any longer. "What do you want, before I go back to that house and murder the boy right now?"

"You wouldn't dare try that," the man said slyly. "You know the boy's powers. You can't risk being caught-not with what you have at stake now that Baslyn is gone."

Joris clenched his teeth, and the man spoke again. "Elspeth, I see you're there as well."
She stood up straighter, glancing over her shoulder in a jerk she could not hide. A flower on the edge of the concrete wa¬vered in the wind. Her gaze swept from it to the grass. Nothing.

"I have a proposal for you," he said, his voice soft. "A deal that could get you the Specter Key and Bran at the same time."

Elspeth lifted her chin slightly.

"I see on your face you would enjoy Bran out of the way," the man went on, and Elspeth's eyes darted around, still perceiving no one.

"But you want the Key more," the man finished. "And I know how to get it."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2010

    As promising as the first!

    In this second book of the Bran Hambric series, Bran finds an old deposit box left by his mother with an enchanted lock. After finding the box, he is haunted by spirits who call themselves the Specters. Bran then realizes that these spirits have been enslaved by magic and there are some others in the world that will do anything to control their dark powers. The review chapters that author, Kaleb Nation, has posted for fans to read are already capturing their attention. The world of Bran Hambric is just even more intriguing as readers get to experience another adventure of this young boy. Although the Bran Hambric series is directed towards younger readers, any age can pick it up and enjoy it!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2011

    GREAT BOOK!!!!!

    Bran embarks on another great adventure along with Adi and Astara in the Specter's Key. I couldn't put it down after the first chapter! I would recommend this book to people who love magic, adventure, and suprises. HAVE FUN!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book!

    Bran Hambric: The Specter Key is an entertaining, funny, and suspenseful book with many twists and turns that make you just never wanna stop reading. Although The Frarfield Curse no doubt wins over this one, its still a good read and i cannot wait for the third book in the Bran Hambric series. Bravo Kaleb!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    This book is great. It is very well written and captures your attention from the very first page. I picked it up and couldn't put it down and I already want more. I can never get tired of this series. Kaleb Nation is a very talented author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Such a fun read!

    I thoroughly enjoyed walking into the creative mind of Kaleb Nation when I flipped open Bran Hambric: The Specter Key. The world he creates is colorful and rich in detail. The action is ongoing throughout the book which left me what was going to happen next.

    The story begins where Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse leaves off and jumps in with both feet. Elspeth & Joris share their evil plans by introducing the next challenge Bran will have to endure.

    Kaleb Nation created interesting new characters that tugged at my heartstrings. While reading, I wanted to hug Gary, smack Thomas and tip Oswald. Gary has a deep secret Bran has to seek out and discover. Thomas is hard and unfeeling but the conversations with Bran are entertaining. Oswald, is just a cool character with a kind heart.

    The conclusion had closure and didn't leave me hanging but left subtle hints of what we might see in the next book.

    Bran Hambric: The Specter Key is a delightful read that is entertaining, exciting and clean for kids. I know my children will LOVE this book and I recommend it to all families who enjoy reading together.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    IMPRESSIVE!

    Great series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    LIL BRATZ

    Bran Hambric was a sensational book. It took me in from the first chapter.

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