cover image The Fire Chronicle

The Fire Chronicle

John Stephens. Knopf, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-375-86871-9

In the exciting second installment of Stephens’s Books of Beginning trilogy—even stronger than The Emerald Atlas—siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma flee the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans with the evil forces of the Dire Magus at their heels. Fifteen-year-old Kate, carrying the Emerald Atlas she rescued in book one, travels through time to a magical version of 19th-century New York City where she falls for a heroic young man named Rafe, only to discover the dark destiny that awaits him. Younger siblings Michael and Emma, reunited at least momentarily with their eccentric wizard guardian, Dr. Pym, learn they must fly to southernmost South America and beyond to recover the legendary Fire Chronicle. Fans of The Emerald Atlas will find much to love: the adventure-driven plot, a scattering of deliciously scary moments, and Stephens’s offbeat take on Tolkienesque dragons, dwarves, and elves (“The boy elves wore stiff-brimmed straw hats. The girl elves twirled parasols on their dainty shoulders. A few of the elves carried wooden tennis rackets”) are sure to delight. Ages 8–12. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Oct.)