It's been six months since Kate, Michael and Emma confronted the Dire Magnus, but the trail to their long-lost family remains cold. Then Michael and Emma find the man who was the last person to see them. He knows about a secret map of a distant, mysterious land - maybe this is the clue that will lead them to their parents...
Meanwhile, Kate's connection to the Book of Time grows ever stronger, and when a dangerous trick traps her in the past, she must find new friends to help her return home.
Once more the children must embark on a daring and perilous quest to find the second Book of Beginning and harness its power. But will it be enough to save them all?
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Irreverent humor and swashbuckling adventure collide in a fetching fantasy. - Kirkus Reviews
Time travel, an Arctic ice shelf and frivolous elves converge in this second installment of The Books of Beginning.
Siblings Kate, Michael and Emma were lauded for successfully battling evil in The Emerald Atlas (2011), but soon afterward, their trusted confidant, Dr. Pym, redeposited them in a decrepit orphanage without explanation. After several months, a foreboding black cloud rolls in, catapulting the children into action. Kate escapes to 1899 Manhattan via the previous book’s titular atlas, while Michael and Emma are miraculously plucked from danger by Pym. So sets the stage for Kate’s mission to rejoin her siblings and for Michael and Emma’s journey to a secreted, lush valley in Antarctica to seek a second magic book, the Chronicle. The children aren’t strangers to magic, but their awe of magical places, allies and enemies does anything but wane here (it’s hard to be ho-hum when entranced by elves, pursued by a dragon and combatting trolls). A third-person-omniscient narration alternates between Kate and Michael, but Michael, the meekest child (and destined keeper of the Chronicle), is the primary focus as he struggles to find a fiery strength within himself. With no rest for the children, the ending is anything but a fading ember as Emma is kidnapped, separating the trio once again and setting the stage for Book 3.
Irreverent humor and swashbuckling adventure collide in a fetching fantasy. (Fantasy. 10-14) - Kirkus
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. - Publishers Weekly
John Stephens received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia in 1998. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he has worked as a writer-producer on Gilmore Girls and The O.C. He was most recently executive producer on Seasons 2 and 3 of Gossip Girl and has also directed episodes of The O.C. and Gossip Girl. John Stephens is taking leave from his television career to pursue his passion for writing for children. The Fire Chronicle is his second novel.