Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Debut: The Disappearing Rose by Renee Duke



And the second of today's book debuts is The Disappearing Rose by Renee Duke!  To check it out just head over to the MuseItUp store and remember the August sale!  

Back Cover

No one knows what happened to the little Princes of the Tower. That’s what Dane, Paige, and Jack are told when they start working on a medieval documentary for Dane and Paige’s filmmaker father. But then an ancient medallion transports them back to the fifteenth century and gives them a chance to discover the truth about the mysterious disappearance of young King Edward the Fifth and his brother Richard, Duke of York.

But they’d better be careful. The princes are definitely in danger, and the person responsible for their disappearance just might decide that their new friends should disappear as well.

Excerpt

After they had eaten, Dane remembered the paper under his hat. He took it out and studied his aunt’s translation but was unable to make anything of it. Holding it to one side so the others could see too, he read it out.

“Ancient portal, hear this plea,

Open for thy golden key.

Feel its power,

Know its might,

Put the Mists of Time to flight.”

Paige clicked her tongue. “Another cutesy little rhyme. We haven’t even figured out the first one yet.”

“No, but what it said about speaking words in proper tone had to be in reference to the ones in this rhyme. Trouble is there’s no knowing what they mean, either. ‘Open for thy golden key.’ What key? And how can a key have power?”

“The medallion’s gold,” said Jack. “Perhaps it’s the key. I don’t know what the ancient portal could be, though.”

“The door to some long forgotten temple in the middle of Armenia, I expect,” said Paige, standing up. “Maybe we should stick to uncovering secrets of the past that are closer to hand, like that secret passage you promised to show us.”

The boys got up, too. As soon as Dane had tucked the translation back under his hat, they went to the kitchen to ask Mrs. Purdom for what Jack called torches and he and Paige called flashlights. While she was getting them, Jack selected a key from a row of hooks hanging on the side of a cupboard and unlocked the cellar door at the back of the kitchen. “The cellar’s electrified,” he said, flicking on some lights, “but we’ll have to use our torches in the passage.”

“Mind you don’t get those costumes dirty,” said Mrs. Purdom.

“Someone else with a thing about clean clothes,” Dane murmured as they started down the cellar steps.

The cellar was a large one. It had other comparatively modern features besides electricity including a sink and, in a small room near the stairs, a chain-flush toilet.

“How come the secret passage is way down here, Jack?” Paige asked as they made their way past a row of wine racks. “In movies they’re always behind a bookcase or something.”

“It starts in an upstairs room in the oldest part of Rosebank,” Jack replied. “That room’s locked now, so we have to go in this way.”

Squeezing past some barrels, he led them into a storeroom. In keeping with the Wolverton family’s tradition of hoarding, Grantie Etta had filled it with disused furniture and other assorted junk. At the far end was a small wooden door covered by a curtain, a door Jack said was now the passage’s only entry point.

“It would have been the exit point once, wouldn’t it?” said Dane.

“No,” said Jack, pulling the curtain aside to unbolt the door. “The passage originally led out into a wood behind one of the gardens. The wood’s gone now, so that end of it was filled in and a door cut to give access to the cellar.”

He turned on his flashlight and shone it to one side of the passage entrance so the others could see the difference between the new masonry and the old.

“Come on,” he said, stepping inside.

Dane was sensitive to dust. His nose and throat quickly became irritated by the damp, musty odours that filled his nostrils as he and Paige followed Jack along the narrow tunnel they had entered. He wasn’t about to turn back though. He found the idea of exploring a secret passage just as intriguing as his sister did.

They walked along on level ground for a time. When not stepping over small piles of rubble, they had to take care not to slip on flagstones worn smooth by generations of feet. Farther on, winding stairs took them past the ground floor and into the upper part of the house.

At last Jack stopped in front of a stone ram that seemed to glare down at them from the wall. Handing his flashlight to Paige, he reached up and twisted the animal’s horns to open the passage’s other entrance. Much to his chagrin, nothing happened

“That’s funny,” he said. “I can’t seem to budge these horns.”

The ram didn’t respond to Paige’s efforts, either. Or Dane’s.

“The mechanism must be stuck,” said Jack. “Oh, well, there’s not much to see in there anyway. Just some old furniture and a painting or two.”

Dane pushed on the secret door itself, his medallion clinking against the stones at every shove.

Paige caught hold of it. “Hmm,” she said. “This thing’s supposed to open ancient portals. Let’s give it a try.” Stretching it out the length of its chain, she pressed it against the door. “It doesn’t seem to be working,” she said sadly.

“You didn’t do it right,” said Jack, entering into the game. “I expect it only opens things if you say the rhyme.”

“Oh, yes. I forgot about that. Okay, here goes.”

She chanted the rhyme in a silly, singsong voice, the kind of voice adults used for saying nursery rhymes to little kids.

“Well, that didn’t work, either,” she said, letting the medallion fall back against Dane’s chest. “I guess someone used up all its special power years ago.”

“You’re still not doing it right,” Dane said with a grin. “The words do have to be spoken in ‘proper tone’, you know. Let me try.”

The others giggled as he closed his fist around the medallion and held it next to his heart. They continued to giggle as he repeated the rhyme in solemn, majestic tones, emphasizing every word.

“Ancient portal, hear this plea,

Open for thy golden key.

Feel its power,

Know its might,

Put the Mists of Time to flight.”

Suddenly, sparks jumped at him from every side. Then a strange blue and white mist appeared, accompanied by a roaring sound. Within seconds, his ears were buzzing, and the whole passage spun around him.

Jack grabbed his shoulder in alarm.

“Dane, what’s happening?”

“I…I guess I did it right,” Dane gasped as the swirling mist engulfed them.

About the Author


Renee Duke grew up in Ontario/ B.C., Canada and Berkshire, England. Due to a treacherous re-drawing of county lines while she was out of the country, her little market town is now in Oxfordshire, but she’s still a Berkshire girl at heart. As a child, her favourite authors were Enid Blyton, Anthony Buckeridge, and Thorton W. Burgess. When she became a teen-ager, it was Jean Plaidy, Norah Lofts, Robert A. Heinlein, and Edgar Rice Burroughs who fed her voracious reading habit.

Time for reading lessened after she went into teaching, as did time for writing, which she has been doing since she was seven (the age at which she realized stories were actually made up by someone). Her work has appeared in such publications as Reader’s Digest, Zamoof!, Stitches, and Our World 50+ (Canada); Spider, Story Friends, and Pockets (U.S.A.), and My Weekly and The People’s Friend (U.K.).

Mother of one son, and servant to two cats, she resides in Kelowna B.C. with her widowed mother. She still does an occasional inter-active history unit with 6-12-year olds at an after-school care centre, but is otherwise ‘retired’ and able to concentrate on writing.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Renee.
loved what I read
Judy (Kelowna)

Marion Sipe said...

Thanks for dropping by!