The City in the Lake

The City in the Lake

by Rachel Neumeier

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375849596
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 07/08/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 312
File size: 467 KB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

RACHEL NEUMEIER is the author of several fantasy novels for both adults and young adults, including The Floating IslandsThe City in the Lake was both her first novel and her first YA.


From the Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

The City is beautiful at sunset, almost as beautiful as the Lake itself. The waters of the Lake run with crimson and flame-orange and deep lavender as the sun sinks beyond its farther shore, colors pouring across the water all the way to Tiger Bridge. At that moment the exotic lilies carved into the Bridge, crumbling with age, look whole and alive in the moving light and cerulean shadows.

But after darkness falls, it will be the tigers of the Bridge that look real and alive. They shake themselves out of stone and come down from their pedestals, the lambent fires of sunset in their eyes, to stalk on great velvet paws through the night—so it is said.

At the moment between sunset and dark, the wind off the Lake sometimes dies and the air becomes utterly still. If that pause lasts long enough, it is said, the water becomes a mirror in which a man may see his true face reflected, as well as the reflection of the eternal City. Few would linger at Tiger Bridge to look into the still Lake at that moment, both because truth can be a dangerous thing and because of the tigers that wake out of stone in the night. But that is the story that people in the City tell.

That, at least, is a true story. The Bastard, who did not fear velvet-footed hunters, came to Tiger Bridge sometimes to watch the sun set and look into the glass-still Lake. The face he saw in the water was indeed not the face the simple mirror in his Palace apartments reflected. The Bastard could not have explained even to himself where, precisely, the difference lay. But it was to try to find out that he came to Tiger Bridge.

The Bastard had a name: Neill. He had a place in the court as elder brother to Prince Cassiel and son of Drustan, who was King. But he was not the son of Ellis, the Queen. The Bastard’s mother had been a woman who had wandered into the City and the King’s bed from some far country beyond the shores of the Lake, beyond the farthest borders of the Kingdom. She had given her son her fine ivory skin, her ash-pale hair, and her dark secretive eyes. And she had given him a heritage that ran outside the bounds of the Kingdom, a mixed blessing at best.

The woman had lived in the City for a season, for a year—long enough to carry and bear the King’s son. Then she had walked out of the City. Though I go, this child will keep my presence always near you, she had said to the King, laying the baby in his hands—so the tale went. May he flourish in this Kingdom.

Possibly the King did not appreciate reminders of his dalliance, especially once he married his Queen. It was well known he did not favor his illegitimate first-born son. Still, if he did not love Neill, he acknowledged him and kept him close to power. Kings have no need to be ashamed of the evidence of their indiscretions as other men may, and more than one royal bastard has grown up to rule when all the children born on the right side of the blanket have been sickly, or girls. From childhood, then, the court had called the boy Lord Neill to his face with careful deference, and, behind his back, sometimes with no less respect, Lord Bastard.

When the Bastard was twelve years old, the true Prince was born, merry and bold even as a baby and beloved by all the City. By that time, folk in both the Palace and the City had learned well the habit of respect toward his elder half brother. The Bastard, even as a child, had a way of keeping his own secrets while finding out the secrets of others, and although he spoke softly, he never forgot a slight. So people said in the court. And that story, too, was true.

The Bastard watched the sun sink below the Lake, sending fire across the water, and waited for the wind to die. But the quiet on this night did not last long enough for the waves to grow still, and so the Lake did not turn into a mirror. The Bastard was, however, philosophical about small disappointments. He turned away from the Bridge, pausing for a brief moment to study the stone tigers before walking away. They were still stone under his gaze. After he turned his head . . . who knew what they might become? The Bastard walked back across the City to the Palace. Once he might have heard the soft pad of a great cat, but though he stopped in the street to look patiently into the dark for one shadow softer-footed and more dangerous than others to separate itself from the night, he saw nothing.


From the Hardcover edition.

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City in the Lake 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
UN1C0RN More than 1 year ago
Join Timou and a unique cast of characters who lead uncertain lives and strive for the impossible. When a deadly family secrete is out those who were hidden from it are put in horrible position no one foresaw. Join an amazing young woman who has to put aside the wants of her heart and search through stillness from a truth she never wanted. Niel never wanted anything more than to be loved by his father and now has to keep the kingdom safe in his absence while Joshua just wanted to live his life in peace but sees Timou's face in the rain. Three very different people find their lives coming together in grave purpose with little hope, but still they fight! A magical tale whose heart lies in stillness!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The story begins with the disappearance of a Prince. The heart of the Kingdom is the City, the heart of the City is the King, and the heart of the King is the Prince. After the disappearance of the Prince, many things go wrong, from the city to the farthest outlying villages.

Timou lives in a remote village where her father is a powerful mage. When the damage to the Kingdom becomes too much for them to ignore, Timou's father, Kapoen, makes a trek to the City to attempt to find the cause of it all. When he doesn't return, Timou decides it is up to her to unravel the mysteries in the Kingdom.

The world Ms. Neumeier created is very well put together and the characters are very distinctive. There were some elements that I wonder if they were suitable, such as the King's first illegitimate son being identified as Lord Bastard throughout the story, but I came to realize that it was really one of many talking points that teens can discuss with their parents.

THE CITY IN THE LAKE is listed as a young adult story, but I feel it would also be very appealing to adults. There were many layers to the Kingdom, just as there are many layers to this book. It was well written and inviting . I found the story to be very descriptive and it felt like a movie playing in my head. I enjoyed the book very much, but there may be elements in the story that some parents don't feel they are yet ready to introduce their children to.
Vampirate_queen on LibraryThing 5 months ago
When I read this book, I was really disappointed. There didn't appear to be a climax, and everything was the same: boring. Nothing new really happened. You almost expected every move the characters made.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The kingdom's heart, its prince, has disappeared and no one can find him. Across the kingdom things begin to go seriously wrong, and Kapoen the mage sets out for the city to see what he can do to help, cautioning his daughter Timou to stay at home and not come seeking after him. But Timou doesn't listen. Nor does one who loves her heed her caution to wait behind when she leaves. In the city, the Bastard, the prince's older brother, takes the throne when his father the king also disappears. The Hunter with his yellow owl eyes is stalking the night and something much worse is lurking ready to prey on the kingdom and its people.Disparate and lovely, Neumeier winds the threads of story together making a cohesive whole of lives and worlds. Although the cover is uninspiring, the story is very readable if a bit obtuse in spots. I wouldn't mind reading this again and/or discussing it, as I suspect there are allusions and allegorical meanings I missed the first time through.
jcloke on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This fantasy novel is written and illustrated beautifully. The author is poetic and celebrated the joys and darness of beauty in nature. The illustrations take the reader on a magical journey of a city underneath a lake.
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