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The Crimson Skew
Cover of The Crimson Skew
The Crimson Skew
The Mapmakers Trilogy, Book 3
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The stunning conclusion to S. E. Grove's New York Times–bestselling Mapmakers trilogy—a historical, fantastical adventure perfect for fans of Philip Pullman!
It is late August 1892, and Sophia Tims is coming home from a foreign Age, having risked her life in search of her missing parents. Now she is aboard ship, with a hard-earned, cryptic map that may help her find them at long last.
But her homecoming is anything but peaceful. Threatening clouds hang over New Orleans harbor. Sinkholes have been opening in Boston, swallowing parts of the city whole. Rogue weirwinds tear up the Baldlands. Worst of all, New Occident is at war, led by a prime minister who will do anything to expand the country westward. He has blackmailed Sophia's beloved uncle Shadrack into drawing the battle maps that will lead countless men and boys—including Sophia's best friend, Theo—to their deaths.
As Sophia puzzles out her next move, Shadrack is peeling back layers of government intrigue, and Theo is bracing himself to fight. A red fog of war is rising, and New Occident's future hangs in the balance. . . .
The Crimson Skew is the thrilling final act of S. E. Grove's acclaimed Mapmakers Trilogy—three unforgettable books set in a world like no other.
The stunning conclusion to S. E. Grove's New York Times–bestselling Mapmakers trilogy—a historical, fantastical adventure perfect for fans of Philip Pullman!
It is late August 1892, and Sophia Tims is coming home from a foreign Age, having risked her life in search of her missing parents. Now she is aboard ship, with a hard-earned, cryptic map that may help her find them at long last.
But her homecoming is anything but peaceful. Threatening clouds hang over New Orleans harbor. Sinkholes have been opening in Boston, swallowing parts of the city whole. Rogue weirwinds tear up the Baldlands. Worst of all, New Occident is at war, led by a prime minister who will do anything to expand the country westward. He has blackmailed Sophia's beloved uncle Shadrack into drawing the battle maps that will lead countless men and boys—including Sophia's best friend, Theo—to their deaths.
As Sophia puzzles out her next move, Shadrack is peeling back layers of government intrigue, and Theo is bracing himself to fight. A red fog of war is rising, and New Occident's future hangs in the balance. . . .
The Crimson Skew is the thrilling final act of S. E. Grove's acclaimed Mapmakers Trilogy—three unforgettable books set in a world like no other.
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
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  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    810
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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Excerpts-
  • From the book Prologue

    July 23, 1892

    Dear Shadrack,

    The foul weather in the Territories has continued. The heavy clouds, motionless and low, seem now to be a permanent fixture. I cannot remember when we last saw the sun. But now things have taken a turn for the worse. Something has happened this day that I have never seen before and that cannot be explained. I scarcely trust myself to describe it. Let me tell you how it happened.

    I awoke in the middle of the night to a commotion at my door. A woman I know from the nearby town of Pear Tree stood there. Esther had a look about her that I have seen only once before, on the face of a man who fled and outran a forest fire: grief, disbelief, and confusion swirled in her eyes. She seemed unsure of whether she was among the living or the dead. "Casper?" she whispered. "Is it you?"

    I told her it was. I did not understand the tale she related to me, and it had to be repeated many times. Even when I finally understood her words, I still could not make sense of them.

    She said it had started in the evening, a while still before sunset, for there was yet light enough to see. She had been taking the children's clothing down from the drying line when she saw a red vapor spilling over the stone wall of her garden. Wondering what it was, she watched the strange substance approach until it rose and swelled, immersing her and the clothesline, obscuring even her house from view. For a time she stood, waiting anxiously. She realized the vapor smelled sweet, like a flower. Then the smell changed. It grew foul—like rotting meat.

    She heard a distant scream, and the sound filled her with panic. Fighting through the fog, she burst into the house. She found the crimson vapor clogging every room and passageway, and the panic rose to terror. Calling for her children, she made her way through the house half-blind. Then she saw the intruders: three giant rats as large as full-grown men, their black eyes cruel, their yellowed teeth sharp. Seizing a knife from the kitchen, she chased them through the house, fearing what they would do or had done to her children. The rats closeted themselves in the pantry and hissed at her through the door.

    She could not find her children anywhere.

    She called for them with growing desperation, finally stumbling outside. Then she realized that her own cries were being echoed by others everywhere, in every house of Pear Tree. The entire town blazed with panic. Something tugged at her mind, some uncertainty, but she could not place it. She knew only that something was not right.

    It is the fog, she finally realized. I am confused, and it began with the fog.

    She found her way along the road, though the sounds on either side were terrifying. When she finally made her way out of Pear Tree, darkness had fallen. She could tell that she had left the fog behind, because her mind began to clear. Looking back upon the town, she could see nothing in the settled darkness, but she heard ceaseless screams and shouts. The impulse to turn back and seek her children warred with the impulse to seek help elsewhere. Uncertainly, still confused by what she had seen, she came here and woke me in the dead of night.

    I assembled all the council and within the hour we were on the road to Pear Tree. We arrived just as the gray day was dawning, putrid and damp as every day has been all this month. The crimson fog had passed, but it had left its mark in more ways than one. A thin sediment of the purest red coated every surface: the stone wall...
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from April 15, 2016
    The Mapmakers trilogy concludes with Sophia Tims still searching for her missing parents and, while she's at it, trying to prevent a cataclysmic war.When the Great Disruption occurred in 1799, the whole world was fragmented, countries and Ages thrown up against each other like jigsaw-puzzle pieces in disarray. Sophia's parents were lost, and the white girl, her uncle Shadrack Elli, and friend Theo Thackary find themselves allies in a broken world. The machinations of Prime Minister Gordon Broadgirdle have led to an impending war with the Indian Territories, and Sophia and pirate friends Calixta and Burton Morris are traveling north from New Orleans as armies amass in the Territories. Sophia, with her prodigious map-reading abilities, is to play a role in it all, with a cast of friends and allies standing up to the evil of the world. Though the scale is as grand and sweeping as the previous installments', Groves' remarkable worldbuilding is more the backdrop here, as the complex plotting proceeds like a literary chess match. Pirates, sea captains, fortunetellers, a dragon, poisonous red fog, former slave traders, and healers populate a story that may introduce young readers to the old-fashioned pleasure of settling into a long, rich, and complicated tale.A triumphant conclusion to a prodigious feat of storytelling. (Fantasy. 10 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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The Mapmakers Trilogy, Book 3
S. E. Grove
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