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Rook


by Sharon Cameron
Scholastic Press, April 28th 2015

“The heavy blade hung high above the prisoners, glinting against the stars, and then the Razor came down, a wedge of falling darkness cutting through the torchlight. One solid thump, and four more heads had been shaved from their bodies. The mob around the scaffold roared, a sudden deluge of cheers and mockery that broke like a wave against the viewing box, where the officials of the Sunken City watched from velvet chairs. The noise gushed on, over the coffins, around bare and booted feet crowding thick across the flagstones, pouring down the drains and into the deep tunnels beneath the prison yard like filth overflowing the street gutters. The city was bloodthirsty tonight.

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History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a single, red-tipped rook feather left in their place. The mysterious Red Rook is the savior of the innocent, and a criminal in the eyes of the government.

Meanwhile, in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family fro financial ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to the doors of Bellamy House, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

Who needs a wedding ring when you can pick up a sword?

“…thoroughly engrossing…”
-Kirkus Reviews

“…atmospheric writing…dashing storyline…swashbuckling romance…”
-School Library Journal

Watch the trailer!

Polar Shift and World Destruction
Could it happen? Well, maybe! Geologists believe that the North and South poles have reversed at least twice in earth’s history. But even if the poles were to significantly wander (they move several degrees a year now), the protective layer of the magnetosphere, created by the earth’s spin, would be disrupted. Holes would form. Solar radiation would enter. People would die. Some at once. Some slowly. Digital records would be wiped clean. Electronic infrastructure would crash. The world as we know it would be lost.

And reform. From a dark age of survival to an enlightenment, as has happened in big and small ways throughout the history of the world. And we would make mistakes. Possibly the same mistakes. As has happened before.

A new world. And a never-ending circle. This is the world of ROOK.

And this is how you survive it.

Sword Play
If you want to live in the world of ROOK, then self-defense is a must. But a real clash of swords is very different than what’s portrayed on stage and screen. No one is clacking their blades together in a choreographed dance. It’s brutal, bloody, and every sharp edge is seeking your vital organs.
En garde: Start from a defensive position. Like this:
NOT like this.
He might have left himself just a wee bit open!
*Step 2, First strikes: Block an attack with your blade if you must, but it’s much better to duck or just step out of the way. All that clanging dulls your cutting edge.
And you might need to actually stand close enough to do bodily damage.
Oh, dear. She’s about to lose an arm. Or maybe he’s not really trying.
*Step 3: And never, ever, ever, ever do the Obi Wan spin move.
Why?
Enough said.
Shelter
How about the underground?
If you’re looking for safety, temperature control, and a solar radiation-free zone, then a nice cellar or cave system could be just the ticket. For the people of a disintegrating Paris, the vast underground beneath the city provides the perfect place. And it’s also very convenient for stashing all those extra bodies. Could Paris ever sink into its own underground, and become the Sunken City? It keeps trying. An entire street fell into a 100 feet hole in 1774, three houses in the 19th century, and 7 acres of the Clamart went down in 1961. Without the constant inspections and repairs of the underground caverns, the entire center of Paris would be a sinkhole.
Falling Satellites!
In a post polar shift world, keeping one eye to the sky is essential. Estimates say that we now have over 30,000 pieces of machinery orbiting our planet. With earthly controls taken away, machines would start raining from the skies, falling anywhere and everywhere. Some could take much longer to fall, flying for hundreds of years before being knocked off course and returning to the earth in a blaze of glory.If you live in the Commonwealth during the satellite rain, you learn to duck. If you’re a citizen of the Sunken City, you start a religion.