Whit and Wisty Allgood have finally triumphed over the evil that has long overshadowed their world with their defeat of The One Who Is The One. Now they move on to their next mission: becoming members of a governing Council that will return the Overworld to a place of creativity, magic, and freedom from persecution.
But it isn't long before the city is threatened from inside and out. The adults on the Council want to control the use of magic in the city, and a fearsome Wizard King threatens war. As Wisty begins a new relationship with an intense and mysterious boy and the pressures of leading the city bear down on them, Whit and Wisty find themselves growing apart. Will they be able to come together to fight the mounting threats that could return their world to the hands of a tyrant?
James Patterson delivers what the fans have been asking for—the story of what happens next—with an epic fourth installment about the heroic teen witch and wizard that have captured our imaginations.
Prologue | DESTINY'S RIDDLE
DUSK IS FALLING, and we’re singing. My heart seems to be lodged way up in my throat.
Having taken our vows, we thirty-four Council members stand side by side in a circle on the stage. We wear different badges of honor or war or age, but standing here together, we’re equals.
We sing the old songs today, songs we learned from our parents. Songs I sang with the Neederman family last year on the Holiday, not knowing whether my sister would live or die from the plague. As our voices waver on the final note, General Bloom takes the stage again.
“Today, we sing for new beginnings.” Applause echoes across the square. “But we sing to remember our history as well, and an older order!” He holds a hefty, yellowed tome above his head, and an audible gasp can be heard from the crowd.
I’m in awe, like everyone else. The Book of Truths. The most sacred text in the Overworld. Destiny’s riddle. The book that has defined our lives. We all grew up revering its words, but few of us have seen it, and actually touching its dusty pages seems unthinkable.
But because Matthias Bloom salvaged the book from the embers while so many great texts burned, he is its new Keeper.
At her cue, Janine strides to the podium. I’d be sweating bullets if I had to actually speak today, but she’s poised and confident, and gives the crowd a long, measured look. She’s in her standard combat boots. Her hair is as wild as ever, and she wears no makeup. But as usual, she’s luminous.
“The Book of Truths prophesized that only a sister and a brother, a witch and a wizard, could defeat The One Who Is The One,” Janine says into the microphone, her voice clear and strong. “It told of their power, of a sky filled with flames.” At the mention of my sister’s Gift of fire, the square erupts in cheers. “Among many things we celebrate today, we pay tribute to their strength and courage that led to The One’s ultimate downfall.”
Now the cheers crescendo, but Janine’s not finished. “But never forget, we are all brothers and sisters. I know the fire of life, love, and leadership is burning not just in Wisty Allgood, but in each one of us.”
No one cheers that line more than my sister. Wisty hoots her agreement, rebel-style, and I grin. Janine was just supposed to introduce Wisty and me, but give her a platform and some willing ears, and she’ll tell you what’s what every time. She’s a great speaker—articulate, endearing, whip-smart—and the crowd is eating up her every word.
So am I.
“We all have equal power and responsibility to make this City great,” Janine continues. “Because that fire inside us is hotter than any magic, stronger than any spell. It’s the spark of change and the slow burn of new hope!” She looks out over the transfixed faces, satisfied. “And now, my friends, without further ado, I give you your heroes… Whit and Wisty Allgood!”
We step forward, and the crowd pulses and chants both of our names, but I know it’s Wisty’s fire they’ve come to see today.
She doesn’t disappoint. First, sparks shoot from her hands again, but as the fire grows, my sister becomes a human torch, the flames on her head even redder than her hair. Her feet singe a black spot onto the platform, and even her gaze smolders.
Plenty of people have seen her flame out, though, so this time she takes it to the max. She swoops her hand across the sky dramatically, and a splash of light follows her arc, exploding in a million dots of color. Her hands dance inside their flames, the shower of fireworks becoming brighter as the choreography becomes more complex. It’s the most beautiful show any of us has ever seen, but there’s something deeper going on here, too.
Wisty’s magic painted across the sky says what Bloom did not: We have the freedom to write our own story now.
I gaze out across the crowded square flickering with vivid color underneath the fireworks. I take in the many faces, old and young, magic-making or not, from near and far. Color dances in their eyes, and their faces glow with a joy we’d forgotten could exist.
There’s a small group at the very edge of the crowd, apart from the rest. As I squint my eyes, trying to make out their dark clothes—street rags or shredded New Order Youth uniforms—the tallest one drags a finger slowly across his neck. My own throat goes dry.
He’s looking straight at me.
I glance at my sister to see if she noticed the ragged group on the outskirts. Wisty’s still eating up the attention, waving to the people and grinning at our parents, who are levitating above the crowd to show their support.
When I look back to the threatening figure, there’s no one there.
It’s not over yet….
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
Read by Spencer Locke, Justin Long,
and Cassandra Morris