About the Author
Erica lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, three dogs, parrot, and her son's snake (she really hates snakes). She is busy at work on the next Magickeepers novel.
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Excerpt from the Prologue
Princess Theatre, Montreal, Canada, 1926
The mysterious man in the black wool cloak sat in the front row of the Princess Theatre, precisely in the center seat. He set his top hat on his knees, and his rough beard straggled down, like a bird's nest after a storm. The man waited for the finale of the show, speaking to no one, not even his companion. Instead, he stared intently with pale, magnetic eyes as the most famous magician in the world, Harry Houdini, announced his next trick from the stage.
"Ladies and gentlemen, introducing my original invention, the Water Torture Cell."
As the audience hushed, Houdini, short and muscular with a head of dark hair and wearing a simple black bathing suit, was draped in chains by his wife, Bess. A policeman from the audience was brought onstage wearing a dapper uniform, badge gleaming under the spotlights. Holding up his own handcuffs, the policeman pulled Houdini's arms behind his back and clapped the cuffs on tightly, checking them several times before nodding. The chains wrapped around Houdini's body were heavy and clinked and rattled with every move he made. Finally, two huge padlocks were attached to the chains and locked dramatically with shining brass keys.
Slowly, the magician was liftedupside downand suspended over the glass torture chamber filled to the top with ice-cold water. Bess signaled, and Houdini was lowered until his head almost touched the beckoning water.
Bess told the crowd, "Take one last breath with the master, Houdini, and see how long you can hold it."
The crowd inhaled as one. Houdini filled his lungs with airone last breathand was lowered into the water, first his head, neck, then body, and finally his feet, before Bess fastened the top. The chamber was not big enough for Houdini to turn around in. A thick curtain was drawn. An hourglass was overturned.
"He must emerge before this sand runs out," Bess announced to the crowd. "Or he will drown."
Not one whisper could be heard in the theater. Patrons in fur coats and fancy theater dress leaned forward, women in plumage and jewels knotted their hands together anxiously. The man in the cloak heard people exhaling around him as they gasped for breath. He watched the sands trickling, as if he were somehow counting each grain. Now, as the sands ran down inside the hourglass, members of the audience murmured. Someone near the man in the cloak whispered, "It's impossible to hold your breath that long. They must free him."
"It's been two minutes!" Bess exclaimed from the stage, panic in her voice. "He cannot survive."
Bess parted the curtain, revealing Houdini struggling wildly with his shackles. Frantically, she closed the curtain and ran for the safety ax, ready to smash the glass and free her beloved husband from the throes of death. She raised the ax as the audience gasped in horror.
The man in the cloak saw those around him frozen at the edge of their seats as if statues. Seconds passed. The curtain rose.
The Water Torture Cell was empty.
At that moment, a dripping wet and smiling Houdini was revealed, standing atop the torture cell, arms raised above his head in triumph.
The crowd in the Princess Theatre rose to their feet as if they were one, stamping and clapping their approval, whistles and shouts of "Bravo!" ringing through the theater. But not the man in the cloak with the icy eyes. He stared, not at Houdini, but at the hourglass that had sifted the sparkling sand. He could see the lettering etched along its gold-rimmed top.
His companion leaned close to him and whispered in his ear, "Is that it, Master?"
The man in the cloak nodded, his eyes narrow with fury. "Yes."
"We must do whatever it takes."
Eight days later, Harry Houdini, revered showman, the most famous magician ever to have lived, was dead.
Table of Contents
1. A Less-Than-Stellar Birthday Report Card
2. A Gift, the Gift
3. The All-You-Can-Ask Buffet
4. The Family Tree
5. This Can't Be Breakfast?!
6. Revelations and Advertisements
7. Just a Dip in the Pool
8. Some Answers and a Return
9. A Pair of Vaults
10. A Horse of Gold
11. Grandpa's Triumphant Return
12. Accelerated Training
13. A Great Deal on a Dancing Bear!
14. Who Sneaks into a Library During the Summer?
15. An Unlikely Meeting
16. Sometimes All You Need Is a Little Push
17. An Imperial History Lesson
18. Some Questions Are Better Left Unanswered
19. Houdini's Last Trick
20. A Bargain Struck
21. A Mother's Choice
22. A Rose of a Different Hue
23. The Key and the Egg
25. Fire, Water, Wind, and Sand
26. No Going Back
27. A Prince Rises
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was an interesting book packed with historical facts (some spot on and others tweaked to fit the book). The author mixes fiction and nonfiction in an engaging way. I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next one. Nick is a fantastic main character, this book is a must read for the Harry Potter fan.
The blurb on the back is quite deceiving because it says, "What would you do for an hourglass that stopped time." and that makes it sound like the book will be about what someone does in order to obtain this object, but that's not exactly what the book is about. The Eternal Hourglass is book one in the Magickeepers series. Nick Rostov is a 13 year old boy whose father is a very unsuccessful magician living and working in Las Vegas. On his thirteenth birthday, Nick finds out some information that will change his life forever. He then spends the rest of the book trying to figure out what the key hung around his neck actually opens, and how to stay ahead of the Shadowkeepers, and thus, stay alive.
Series Review:I really enjoyed the Magickeeper series! It's written for ages 8-14, but even I got really into it and enjoyed it a lot. The stories were both woven well, with plenty of mystery and suspense to keep you reading. Once I started to read, it was hard to put it down. I never knew what to expect and was always surprised. It was like walking through a fun-house: you never knew what was going to be around the corner.My favorite characters had to be Nick and Isabella, followed closely by Isabella's pet tiger, Sascha. Sascha was just a really cool tiger. Vladimir, the hedgehog, was pretty cool, too. It was fun to watch Nick and Isabella together: they balanced each other well and would be fun people to be around. I wish they were real so we could hang out. Haley why would you want to hang out with thirteen-year-olds? Because they're magician thirteen-year-olds who can disappear and fly and look into crystal balls, and have more adventure in a day that I have in a month.The writing was good and easy to read and easy to follow, but some of the structure was a little confusing at times. It didn't take away form the action and adventure, though. I really liked the Russian culture incorporated into the stories. It wasn't overdone, but it was really fun to read the descriptions of the foods and the clothes and the decorations, and learn about some of the traditions. In the second book, The Pyramid of Souls, there was a lot of other cultures incorporated into it as well, because there were Magickeepers from Egypt and Nigeria and a Parisian clan, and Australians¿ so there were a lot of cool things that went on that we wouldn't normally think about¿even in the world of magic.I look forward to the next book in the Magickeeper series! The Eternal Hourglass came out in paperback on March 31, 2010 and The Pyramid of Souls was just published in hardback on May 1st, 2010.Content/Recommendation: clean, and suitable for ages 8-16(-ish). I'm 18 and I enjoyed it, and parents would enjoy reading the books out loud to their kids as well!
Nick is an ordinary kid in Las Vegas but on his 13th day his grandfather takes him to a magic shop where a woman asks him to look into a crystal ball. Nick sees something thus confirming he has `the gift¿. Suddenly his life changes and he goes to live with his dead mother¿s relatives in a Las Vegas hotel where he eats strange food, learns Russian and regularly encounters tigers. He also learns to do magic (not stage magic like his father, but real magic) and that he is one of a long line of Magickeepers whose task is to guard magic items from the evil Shadowkeepers.A mixture of adventure, mystery and fantasy, this book (the first in a series) is promoted as being for lovers of Harry Potter. Whilst the books are similar the characters in The Eternal Hourglass aren¿t as engaging as Harry and his friends. Recommended for fantasy lovers 9 and up.
Nick is the son of the worst magician on or off the Vegas strip, and has spent his life living in Las Vegas hotels. On his thirteenth birthday Nick¿s grandfather takes him to a Magical Curiosity Shoppe where he is given the chance to look into a crystal ball, which is a total hoax, at least that¿s what he thinks at the time. When he looks into the ball he is able to see far back in time. Not long after this he learns that magic is real, and that he is one of a long line of Magickeepers. Nick finds himself hunted by the Shadowkeeper because of a key left to him by his mother. Follow Nick as he fights to uncover the secret left to him by his mother and tries to rescue the rest of his family. This book moved a little slowly for me, and the main character was a little flat there was not much personal growth in this first book; but that is probably because of the authors need to establish a history. I look forward to the next book in this series as I hope to see more interesting character developments and new adventures.
You'd think having your birthday on the last day of school would be fun, but when your report card is dismal, you live in a hotel, and your father is the worst magician in all of Vegas? Eh.It all changes of course, when Nick's Grandfather gives him a key and the best magician in Vegas whisks him off to meet his extended family, which is full of magic. Real magic, not just illusion and trick.Not only is Nick expected to learn magic instead of sleep in on his summer vacation, he has to learn Russian, too. On top of this, there are some serious bad guys out there who are trying to steal magic and use it for evil. So much for skateboarding all summer...Kirov interweaves a lot of Russian culture, food and history (Princess Anastasia and Rasputin play major roles) in a solid adventure story complete with crystal balls, flying swords, tigers, and an hour glass that stops time.This book really sets up the series and I'm looking forward to the next one. It looks like a lot of the adult characters that Nick is meeting have both their good sides and bad sides, which is exciting. While Nick's family are the "good guys" it's apparent that they obtained many of the magical artifacts they're so carefully guarding through trickery or outright theft. Lots of murky morality to discuss. Combined with the magic and adventure (a great book for boys!) this is an excellent candidate for book discussion groups. I'm very much looking forward to the next books in the series.For reasons I can't fully explain, this book reminds me of Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians. They are similar in the fact that "boy meets a ton of distant cousins with crazy powers and goes on adventures to save the world" way, but that's similar to a lot of books. Nick never talks to the reader the way Alcatraz does, but there is something about each book that I think if you like one, you'll like the other.
I thought it was ok. Not bad, but not great.
Son of a theatrical magician, Nick is familiar with parlor and magical illusion that can appear as magic. On his 13th birthday, though, he awakens on the top floor of the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino only to meet, for the first time, his extended family. Exiled from Russia, these real magicians hide in plain sight among the neon lights of the casino. He learns that he has the gift of sight - the ability to see into the past. He also finds out that he is one of the ancient Magickeepers, charged with finding and guarding arcane artifacts from the evil Shadowkeepers. Apprenticed to Las Vegas star magician and chief Magickeeper Damian, Nick moves into the clan's palatial casino headquarters to begin his training, feeling cramped by their Tsarist lifestyle. When the family finds out that Rasputin, their most powerful enemy - who after half a century of hunting for the secret to the Eternal Hourglass is in Las Vegas - big trouble starts brewing. Believing that Nick holds the secret key to the Hourglass, Rasputin will stop at nothing to get what he wants so that he can stop time and fulfill his evil plans. Using his magic to see into the past, Nick must find a way to unravel the mystery of the Eternal Hourglass and stop Rasputin. Can he get a handle on his own powers in time to save his family and the world? THE ETERNAL HOURGLASS is a well-paced, fun fantasy adventure. The characters are well-developed, and the intermixed magic is well-crafted. The plot is intense and holds the reader's interest from start to finish. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, and mystery will all enjoy this one!