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The White City

Cover of The White City

The White City

The Clockwork Dark Series, Book 3
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In The Nine Pound Hammer, John Bemis introduced middle-grade readers to a whole new approach to epic fantasy, founded on characters and themes from American mythology and lore, including the legend of John Henry. Now in the third and final book, the heroes come together at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago for a final confrontation with a businessman and tycoon who is in fact an ageless evil known as the Gog. With his Dark Machine, he intends to bend the world to his ruthless vision of progress and efficiency. It's man versus machine all over again, fighting for the soul of humanity in front of Ferris's Wheel. For fans of adventure fantasy like Percy Jackson and Peter and the Starcatchers.


From the Hardcover edition.

In The Nine Pound Hammer, John Bemis introduced middle-grade readers to a whole new approach to epic fantasy, founded on characters and themes from American mythology and lore, including the legend of John Henry. Now in the third and final book, the heroes come together at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago for a final confrontation with a businessman and tycoon who is in fact an ageless evil known as the Gog. With his Dark Machine, he intends to bend the world to his ruthless vision of progress and efficiency. It's man versus machine all over again, fighting for the soul of humanity in front of Ferris's Wheel. For fans of adventure fantasy like Percy Jackson and Peter and the Starcatchers.


From the Hardcover edition.

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    7 - 12

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    1

    chicago

    Buck rode behind the killer Stacker Lee. Buck's hands were bound, his wrists tied with coarse rope to his belt. He sniffed, drawing in the smell of horsehair and sweat mixed with his own stench from days and days of riding. Stacker had little scent of his own except for the faint tang of steel emanating from his clockwork heart.

    Although he was blind, Buck was keenly aware of his surroundings. Through his nose and the feel of wind on his skin, and with his ears, he had learned to be aware of the world in a way more powerful than those who simply viewed color, light, and form.

    The two had crossed hundreds of miles since the badlands, where Stacker Lee had taken the Nine Pound Hammer from Conker. Eastward across the blazing prairie they had ridden, camping for a scant few hours each night and riding on again with the dampness of dawn still collected in Buck's knotted hair. Over and over, at night as he dreamed and by day as he jostled behind Stacker's saddle, Buck heard again the blast of gunfire and Si's screams. The cowboy could not rid his mind of the horrific memory.

    Stacker and his men had captured Buck and Si and used them as hostages to get the Nine Pound Hammer from Conker. To ensure he would not be followed, Stacker had shot Si's tattooed hand and had kept Buck at gunpoint.

    Buck gritted his teeth in fury at the memory. How could he not have helped Si? The gun had been right there, given to him by Stacker's man as a jest. And yet Buck had not taken it up, had not used the gun to murder the clockwork killer. Buck had thrown away his own guns back at the mountains around Shuckstack. A promise to himself that he would walk a new path, a path that would redeem him. A path that would make her proud, if ever he found her again.

    Shame devoured Buck's heart. Whatever Stacker was going to do to him, whether torture or murder, Buck decided it was less than he deserved.

    "Stay here," Stacker said.

    Buck lifted his head slightly. The horse had stopped. Stacker slid down from the saddle.

    Buck listened to Stacker's boot heels crunch on paving stones and then meet wooden planks of a sidewalk. Voices surrounded Buck, as well as the noise of carriages and wagons. They were in a town. No, not a town, he decided, for what prairie town had paving-stone streets? They had reached a city, or at least the outskirts of one. Tossing his head to one side to part the nest of hair covering his face, Buck let the breeze stroke his cheeks. He moved his head slowly back and forth, feeling, listening, smelling.

    The street was lined with buildings. Shops, Buck guessed, from the large plates of glass he sensed at their fronts. After a few moments, Stacker's footsteps returned. He tied something to the side of the horse, below the Nine Pound Hammer, with the strips of rawhide that dangled from the saddle. Buck let his hair fall back over his face and leaned back as Stacker remounted.

    Stacker turned in the saddle and put the mouth of a waterskin to Buck's lips. As Buck drank a few sips, with most of the water rushing into his thick beard, Stacker said, "We've reached Chicago."

    Buck said nothing. He only swallowed the stale water.

    Stacker gulped from the waterskin and hung it back on the saddle horn. "That man said we need only ride east and the crowds will lead us to the Expo grounds. We're nearly to the White City, as they call it."

    Stacker led the horse back out into the busy street. "You make poor company, gunslinger. Fortunate for both of us I care nothing for conversation." He laughed dryly. "I suppose it makes little difference in me saying that when we...

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The White City
The White City
The Clockwork Dark Series, Book 3
John Claude Bemis
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