Excerpt from Assassin of Truths:
A high wizard back in medieval times had created the beasts by sewing animal parts to four slain warriors and connecting them with one soul. The beings were frightening and haunted my dreams. One creature resembled a lion with a cleft lip and claw-like hands. Another had a boar’s head with sharp tusks sticking out of its jaw. The third had two large ram horns coming out of its forehead, which pulled and distorted its face. And the final one was part lizard, with razor-sharp teeth and scales. Each could command one of the elements, but they could never separate from one another or they’d die. The creatures were a myth to me, yet I was key to their destruction.
All I had to do was find the seven Chiavi, which, when combined, would unlock the beast from its prison, buried in some elusive mountain somewhere in a world full of mystical creatures. Simple. I rolled my eyes before returning my attention to Gian’s journal.
It must be a puzzle.
There were seven letters in the clue. There were seven Chiavi.
I sat up straighter.
Which meant there were seven libraries.
We had retrieved five of the keys. I wrote down the names of the libraries where we’d found them, but none of the initials matched the letters in the acronym.
It’s not the names of the libraries. What am I missing? I stared at the page. Maybe it’s the location of the libraries. I printed them next to the libraries. No matches.
I scribbled on the page—Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland.
That has to be it. I just need two more letters. One starts with a “C” and the other an “N.”
I removed the list of libraries with artwork that could be a Chiave. Nick and I had assembled it with Uncle Philip’s help. I compared the clues for the final two Chiavi with our notes and circled the Czech Republic. Uncle Philip had suggested a painting in that library for In front of the world; he wears his honor on his chest. It was a portrait of some royal guy from the eighteenth century. He wore a uniform with a badge on his chest. It was the only library that could represent the C in the acronym.
We’d already figured out the final clue—Beneath destruction and rapine, he scribes the word, while time falls—or actually, Nick had. The thought of him made my heart tighten again.
Conemar won’t hurt him. Nick’s his son. I tried to reassure myself.
Nick believed the final clue described a mural named The Medieval Scribe in the McGraw Rotunda of the New York Public Library’s main branch. He’d gone there with his family a few years back. The image stayed with him only because he’d pretended to like it for nearly twenty minutes to impress some girl.
A smile tightened my lips as I imagined how silly he probably acted around the girl. Nick was a goofball at times. It was what I liked most about him.
But the other letters represented countries. I scanned the list of possible libraries.
A light went on in my head, illuminating the answer. He couldn’t put America down. There were too many states. He’d narrow it down to one of them. That’s what I’d do. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew that’s what he’d do, too.
So “C” for Czech Republic and “N” for New York. I had solved can figs. And I had the locations of the final Chiavi.
About Assassin of Truths:
The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.
And it’s not your normal bump-in-the- night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.
Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.
The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.
About Brenda Drake:
Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. With kids of all ages populating Brenda’s world, it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical for both younger readers and the young at heart. And because she married her prince charming, there’s always a romance warming the pages. Her favorite books are The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Kings Row by Henry Bellamann, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. When she’s not writing, she hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. In her free time, Brenda enjoys hanging out with her family, haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or just reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).