Voices in the Dark (The Last Descendants Series #2)

Voices in the Dark (The Last Descendants Series #2)

4.4 5
by Catherine Banner

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Asking for the truth can be as painful as telling it. . . .

Anselm Andros has clearly defined roles in his family and they are roles he plays very well—he is confidante to his mother, Maria. He is the confessor to his stepfather, Leo, a man haunted by the secrets of his past. And Anselm is also the patient, caring brother to his precocious sister,…  See more details below


Asking for the truth can be as painful as telling it. . . .

Anselm Andros has clearly defined roles in his family and they are roles he plays very well—he is confidante to his mother, Maria. He is the confessor to his stepfather, Leo, a man haunted by the secrets of his past. And Anselm is also the patient, caring brother to his precocious sister, Jasmine. When the political landscape of Malonia starts to shift, this unassuming family begins to unravel. Even though they’ve spent the past fifteen years leading a quiet life, Maria and Leo’s actions are forever linked to the turbulent history of Malonia and its parallel world, modern-day England. With so much uncertainty at home and in his world, it is more important than ever for Anselm to put all the pieces of the past together. He must listen to his own voice and acknowledge his fears and desires—whatever the cost.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Beth Karpas
This second volume of The Last Descendants stands alone as an engaging melding of three stories into one fantasy novel. Taking place sixteen years after the first book, two of this volume's tales are told from the point of view of Anselm, Maria's baby in the first novel, Eyes of a King (Random House, 2008/VOYA August 2008). Now a teenager, Anselm is on a journey alone, fleeing his war-torn home. The story of his flight is intermixed with a second tale, that of Anselm's life in the capital city on the brink of war. This second story is the heart of the book, continuing the first volume's plot. It follows Anselm as his family falls apart; his first love, Michael, moves away; and he uncovers the mystery of his true parentage. Anselm uncovers many of the events of the first novel, but readers who start with book two will not feel as if they are being force fed the previous tale, nor will fans be bored, as Banner cleverly weaves the first tale into this one. Readers will also appreciate the return of the supporting characters in Anselm's life—Maria, her mother, Leo—and Aldebaran and the king have cameos. As in the first book, there is also a tale set in modern England. This sequel is short and is clearly left hanging for book three to finish. Seen through a book Anselm is reading, it melds nicely with his own tales. Reviewer: Beth Karpas
Kirkus Reviews
A generation after the events of The Eyes of a King (2008), baby Anselm has grown into a teenager. His country, the England-analogue Malonia, is still troubled, despite the successful counterrevolution his parents witnessed during their adolescence. The anti-royalist Imperial Order is terrorizing the capital city, and their thugs have more power than the police. Soon it will be illegal to have magical powers or to be homosexual-crimes of which, respectively, his baby sister and he are guilty. Anselm's entire life falls apart around him, with his father Leo arrested, his dearest friend in flight and dangerous secrets about his parents' past coming to light. As in Leo's story, Anselm is an observer, not a player in wider political events. This dense and confusing narrative picks up a decade and a half after the previous dense and confusing narrative, without substantial recap; readers who weren't drawn in by Book I will find this offering impenetrable. But loyal fans will be rewarded by the slowly building tension that collapses a family and a nation. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Last Descendants Series , #2
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 16 Years

Read an Excerpt


I want more than anything to tell you the truth about my life. I am a criminal, also a liar. But I swear this will be a true account.

That was how I began as the coach drew away from the city, south and then west into the darkness of the moors. The woman opposite me was pretending to sleep, one arm around the shoulders of her little boy. The old man next to me kept sighing and shaking his head. He was saying the rosary; the quiet clicking of the beads was the only sound. We were all avoiding each other’s glances. The snow and fire behind us made wild patterns on the glass. Every few seconds, the old man glanced back and sighed again, as though he had left a good life behind him. Fires were blazing on the walls of the castle, throwing black smoke over the stars. I imagined that he had some ordered existence in the city, and this ritual was all that he could carry of it with him into the unknown.

I owned nothing but the clothes I wore and the contents of the pockets. I kept checking them to see that everything was still there. I had given the driver fifty crowns and my christening bracelet as payment; by the time we set off, it was nearly midnight, and the queues at the harbor stretched a mile. But I still had a pencil and a stack of papers and a box of matches and a candle and the medallion Aldebaran had given me.

We did not speak to each other. This would be a long journey, long and cold, but we were still strangers and had nothing to say. The old man beside me had his rosary beads, but ever since I was a young boy, I had put my faith in stories; they came more easily to me than prayers. When we set out on this journey, I had thought that perhaps I could write everything down and explain it. And yet the words did not come easily this time. It was nearly impossible to write with the lurching of the coach, and my heart was heavy. I put the paper back into my pocket and tried to sleep.

“Get down from the coach!” someone shouted when we had traveled a few miles. It was only the driver, cursing at a broken wheel and glancing about him with his rifle raised. Ahead were the lights of a village. We would have to stop for the night here, the driver told us. If he fixed the wheel now, the horses would be too cold to continue, and besides, this road was dangerous. We would go on to the next inn and stop there. The woman made some protest about this. A cold wind was sweeping over the snow, driving it in gusts against the windows of the carriage. We stepped down, shivering. The little boy clung to his mother’s overcoat. I offered to take one of her cases, but she shook her head. The driver unhitched the horses and led them beside him, and we walked in silence toward the lights.

None of us had money for a bed, so we all ended up in the front room of the inn. This was just a windswept village in the middle of nowhere. The little boy and his mother slept in a corner with their heads on the table. The old man got out his rosary again, then put it away and ordered a bottle of spirits and sat there drinking it and watching the snow fall. I listened to the wind growling and thought about what I would write. Then I got out the paper and pencil and began again. But it was no good. I sighed and crossed out the start of it.

The inn sign creaked and rattled in the wind outside. I could not write; every time I tried, it was wrong. When this had gone on for some time, the old man got up and came toward my table, holding out the bottle of spirits. “Here,” he said. “Maybe it will cure your writer’s depression.”

“It’s kind of you.”

He poured me a glass, then waited to see if I would let him sit down at the table. I drew out a chair. He settled slowly, flexing each finger so that the joints cracked. I could tell from his face that he had once been handsome, and his eyes were quick and kind. I sipped the spirits and waited for him to say something else.

“Where are you going?” he asked eventually.

I shrugged. “I don’t really know.”

“Neither do I. I am trying to find my family. Maybe they have gone to Holy Island; that’s what I am thinking. But there again, they could be somewhere else.”

“I’m supposed to be going to Holy Island too,” I said. “But . . .”

“But you don’t think you will,” he said. “Now that you have set out.”

“How did you know?”

“Ah,” he said. “A lifetime of studying human nature. Now, tell me what you are trying to write.”

I thought about this for a long time. “A letter to my brother,” I said eventually. “I’ve done a very bad thing. I don’t know if he’ll forgive me, but I want to explain. And I want to tell him . . .” I hesitated.

“Go on,” said the old man kindly.

“I want to tell him the truth. He’s only a baby now, but I want to record it, for when he grows up. I was never told the truth, you know? And I think if he knows it, he will stand a chance.”

He nodded for me to continue.

“And I want to tell him about our life in the city,” I said. “Because that’s all gone now. He’ll never know it.”

“Admirable,” said the old man.

“Not really,” I said. “Not if you knew.”

“So tell me,” he said. “Maybe it will make it easier to write if you tell me first.”

“Do you think so?” I said.

He shook his head. “I can’t tell. It depends.”

“It is a long story,” I said. “It would take a while to explain.”

“This will be a long journey,” said the old man.

I folded the paper and drank the rest of the glass of spirits. It burned in my chest like fire and gave me courage and made me melancholy at the same time. He introduced himself at last as Mr. Hardy. I told him my name was Anselm. We sat there talking about nothing at all for a long while, and the wind cried like voices in the dark outside. Then, as the darkness drew on, I started to tell him the story. There was nothing else to do on this bleak night. I told him how it started with our shop and with the graveyard and with the old days on Citadel Street, and there I got confused and fell silent, trying to think where it began. “With Aldebaran’s funeral,” I said eventually.

“Aldebaran is dead?” he said, and started as though he had been struck in the chest.

“Yes,” I said. “He died in July. Did you not know?”

He shook his head. Everyone in the country knew it, but this man had somehow missed the fact. He went on shaking his head and said, “Aldebaran is dead,” again, but this time it was not a question. “Tell me this story,” he said. “I want to hear.”

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Voices in the Dark (The Last Descendants Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Anselm Adams is a confidant to his mother, a confessor to his stepfather, a caring brother to his sister. Things in his life seemed fairly normal with magic, until he discovers that his past and parentage aren't exactly what they seem. With the Imperialist Order and their thugs taking over the capital city and their order targeting anyone who has magical abilities, Anselm is forced to flee his home. Soon, he is going to have to make a choice: his life or his magic. A suspense-filled, action-packed adventure. The characters are memorable, the plot is unique. Readers who have not read the first book in the series, however, will be lost reading this book. Those who like fantasy and have read THE EYES OF A KING, though, will enjoy reading VOICES IN THE DARK.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book and the one before it are books that are a must read, but will probably only be a shoud read. In this book Anselm, stepson of Leo, is the main character and it's all about him telling this old man the struggles he's been through since his uncle died. His uncle being an important man, and the death of him provoking war upon his country. The story is not based upon the war just the effects it has on the characters. Anselm tells this old man about his sister, his mother, and stepfather, and of course his uncle. You also hear stories about people in England (the setting of the book is in a dual like universe very much like our own.)You hear the troubles of Anselm and what he has done, and what his actions have caused for his unborn little baby brother or sister and even his spoiled wrotten, kind of sweet little sister Jasmine. Catherine Banner is an excellent writer and constructed this book perfectly. Her books are a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing:D I absolutly LOVE this series<3 must read!!
daikageshi More than 1 year ago
excellent condition and arrived in the amount of time i expected it to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago