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A final quest and an ultimate betrayal.
Deep in the mountains of Romania stands a fortress, and deep within that fortress lies a chamber. In that chamber, ruling the dead for over two thousand years, lives one Shataiki bat straight from the bowels of the Black Forest. He seeks the final Books of History with which he will destroy the world.
But there are four who stand in the way.
The chosen are trapped in a new world of high technology and weapons of mass destruction. In the midst of chaos, they must find the last book before the Dark One can in this epic battle that crosses worlds, tests allegiances, and plays for keeps.
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A LOST BOOK
By TED DEKKER Thomas Nelson
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Chapter One Johnis and Silvie stood on the cliff, silenced by the sheer size of the hazy valley before them.
A sea of towering buildings, gray at this distance, had been built between ribbons of flat rock that crawled with horseless buggies. The city was constructed of structures that looked to be as large as all of Middle Forest under one roof. The entire Horde city looked like a village by comparison.
"It's called 'Las Vegas,' you say?" Johnis asked.
"That's what the sign by the road said," Silvie responded, her voice high-strung. "What do you think?"
"I think I prefer the Horde."
"It is the Horde! They've conquered the world and turned it into rock."
"You know this?" he asked, astonished. "I thought Thomas went into the Histories, not the future. This looks more advanced than any Histories I could imagine."
Johnis glanced at the two Books of History in his hands. "We're down to our two books. We have to assume that Karas and Darsal made it through with two more. And that the three in this reality are now visible. But how do we find them? They could be scattered anywhere."
"Forget the books for now," Silvie cried. "We have to find Karas and Darsal first."
"Of course," Johnis said, pacing, "but our mission is to find all seven books, and all seven are now in this reality, visible, ready to be found. We have two; Karas andDarsal have two; that leaves the last three-only Elyon knows where-in this cursed place."
"You think Alucard is here?"
She reached for his hand and held it in her own. Not out of affection, but because after hours alone in this unnerving place she needed to be close to someone. To him.
And judging by the slight quiver in his hand, Johnis needed comfort as well.
"I'm afraid, Johnis."
"We made the right choice, Silvie." But his voice was filled with doubt. "We're here to find the seven books before the Dark One does. We'll do that or die trying."
"Spoken like the good old Johnis we all know so well."
"Something's wrong with us," he said, looking at her. "I don't feel like myself."
"Really? You just now noticed?"
Johnis returned his attention to the valley. A dull roar rose from the city. "So ... where are we?"
"I told you," Silvie said. "We're in hell."
She tilted her head up at the sound of a distant roar. A huge white bird with fixed wings soared through the blue sky.
"Dear Elyon, look at the size of that thing." Johnis grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the boulders. They vaulted over one and came to a stop in the shade of several larger rocks. "I've seen them all day," Silvie said. "We've been spotted by now."
Johnis looked skyward. "They're birds?"
"If the buggies are ants, then maybe those monsters are birds," she said, sliding to her seat. "Either way, they can't possibly be good. If they're the enemy, which we have to assume, they can't be beaten, not by us."
His soft brown eyes searched hers, his mind spinning behind the fine features, messy brown hair, and high cheekbones. If there was one person who would remain strong in the most difficult situation, clinging to principle and all that was right, it was Johnis. He'd proven that over and over again.
"I need you, Johnis. I'm ... I'm lost. My emotions seem to be getting the better of me."
Johnis removed his eyes from hers and looked about, dazed.
"Maybe this is what happens when you vanish from one reality and reappear in another," she said. "What if all our innards didn't come through right?"
Johnis stood, withdrew his knife, and twirled it once. Then again, twice this time. Silvie was the master with knives, but he performed the maneuver with surprising ease.
"Our bodies seem to have come through in one piece," he said.
Silvie jerked out two of her knives, flipped them into the air in perfect symmetry, caught them by their blades, and flung them at a dead log with a flip of her wrists. They plunged into the wood with scarcely a splinter to separate them.
"You haven't lost your skill," Johnis said. "You've searched these cliffs?" he asked, pointing absently at the mounds of rocks and hills.
"Every last mole hole."
"No sign of Darsal or Karas."
"Or Alucard," she said. "Or Billos."
"Time," he said, facing her.
"Clearly it's not a consistent thing."
He nodded. "I left only moments after you and appeared hours later."
"For all we know, Karas has been here for a month," Silvie said.
"And if we're in the Histories Thomas spoke about, we've gone back in time perhaps thousands of years."
Silvie retrieved her knives and slipped them into sheaths on either thigh. "None of this helps the situation."
"No, but it gives us a starting point."
"Darsal and Karas," Silvie said. If she hadn't spent so much time looking for them already, she might share some of his enthusiasm. "Like I said-"
"We have to get into that city," Johnis interrupted, looking east.
She instantly noticed the boyish look that suddenly brightened his eyes. "Not before we understand what we're getting into."
He jerked his head to face her. "No, now. While we still have a chance of finding Karas and Darsal. Before they end up in captivity ... or worse."
"What makes you think they went into the city?"
"Where else would they go?"
"We are not going into the city without a plan that makes perfect sense to both of us," Silvie said. "We don't have the third fighting group to sacrifice this time."
It was a low blow, but he let the accusation roll off his back.
"You said you saw one of their roads over the hills?" he demanded, turning south. "How far?"
"A half-hour walk, right over the large knoll. But I don't want to rush off without feeling better about this. Not after last time. Please, we can't just walk down the road in our battle dress, climb to the top of their tallest tower, and scream for Darsal and Karas to come out of hiding."
"I do have a plan," Johnis said, with a slight grin. "Are you with me?"
"Part of the plan is that you trust me. Are you with me?"
Silvie was surprised by the sudden comfort his confidence brought her. And to be perfectly honest, she did trust him. Almost as much as she loved him.
"Will we live to tell?" she demanded.
"I have no idea."
She paused, then walked past him toward the road, guessing his plan started there. "Something is definitely wrong with us."
"Right over the knoll," Silvie had said. But the roar from the road announced its presence loudly enough.
Johnis hurried up the last part of the hill, bent over in a crouch. Standard battle guards made of leather covered his forearms and his thighs, but he preferred a blue tunic rather than the chest protectors that many of the Forest Guard wore. A month ago this young man had never seen a sword swung in battle. Now his forearm and calf guards were scarred from head-to-head confrontation with Horde.
Seeing him scramble up the knoll ahead of her, Silvie was struck by his transformation in such a short time. His skin was darkened by the desert sun, highlighting cords of muscle in his legs and arms. He might only be sixteen, but he looked much older now-in her mind he was the best of any man she'd met.
She had opted for a dark leather skirt with thigh guards. Her blonde, tangled hair was drawn back to clear her eyes. Wide wristbands broke the line between her well-toned arms and her small hands. "Delicate," Johnis called them once. Never mind that they could wield any weapon with more power and accuracy than his, which weren't large by any unit of measure.
They both wore the same leather boots that had taken them into the Black Forest on two occasions now.
"Slow down," she'd demanded ten minutes earlier.
"I'll slow down when I can make sense of this world," he had said. "We're losing light!" And he had been right; the sun was setting.
"Don't rush into another trap."
That had slowed him some, but now he could hardly control his enthusiasm. He scrambled up the sandy slope that rose above the road and flung himself to his elbows at the top. Silvie dropped in beside him and looked at the road below.
A wide road built of black stone ran over the desert, split by a straight white dash. A building with a large black and red sign marked by the word Texon stood on this side of the road, and two of the buggies were situated next to what looked like upright feeding troughs.
Having drunk its fill, one of the buggies pulled out onto the road to resume its journey.
"Dear Elyon," Johnis muttered.
Silvie glanced at him and saw that his jaw hung open. His eyes weren't on the feeding station, rather on the road beyond and on the speeding buggies that flew over the road on wheels that looked like they were floating.
"It's magic!" Johnis cried.
"Or worse," Silvie agreed.
"But they aren't animals. They're made out of solid material. I've never seen anything like it!"
"What did I tell you? They look dangerous."
"That's never stopped you before."
He said it without even looking at her, perhaps hardly hearing himself, but the words pulled Silvie into a different world. One in which she would be the first into battle, screaming to avenge her mother's death, urging Johnis to swing his sword.
In this world she was evidently more cautious. She wasn't sure she liked that.
Johnis watched a red buggy approach from their right, then fly past. "It's five, six, maybe seven times faster than a horse at a full gallop. Who in their right mind would walk?"
"We'll kill ourselves."
"It's their land. We do things their way, as we agreed," Johnis said. "If the Horde ..."
One of the Horde suddenly appeared from a car and walked to a large green garbage receptacle. For the first time, Silvie saw one of history's inhabitants closely enough to make out some detail.
Long golden hair. Blue trousers that hugged the young woman's body. A pink shirt. White moccasins. But it was the woman's face and arms that made Silvie blink as she watched.
There was no trace of disease on her skin, which meant that this particular inhabitant from the Histories was not Horde.
"She's not diseased," Johnis whispered.
They watched her dispose of her garbage and climb into a brown buggy, then speed from the feeding station. Toward the city.
"It's not a Horde city!" Johnis said, pushing himself up in such a way that anyone below would have clearly seen him above the rise, had they been looking.
Silvie grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back down. "That means nothing. They could be the precursors to the Horde, just as evil. Or a different kind of Horde. For all we know, they carry their disease under their skin."
"True. But having the same skin makes blending with them all that much easier. We have to get our hands on a buggy!"
"Our battle dress doesn't blend."
"Then we change!" Johnis faced her, eyes bright. "You could wait here and cover my back. If I'm not successful, we'll try another approach."
"What is your approach?"
He remained silent for a few beats, then jumped to his feet. "Cover my back."
Excerpted from CHAOS by TED DEKKER Copyright © 2008 by Ted Dekker. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It dosn't have pikchers!!!!!??
Is the book in picture or is it just words???