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By Paul Dowswell

When Lukas Declercq is orphaned, his uncle summons him to Prague, a safe haven for Europe's maximum alchemists and usual philosophers. Uncle Anselmus is court docket health practitioner to Rudolph II, the reclusive and risky emperor. he's additionally curator of Rudolph's extraordinary cupboard of Curiosities, a chain of tremendous rooms crammed with wonders and clinical marvels. As Rudolph retreats extra into his delusion global, the specter of uprising hangs within the air. Dorantes, a diplomat from Spain, comes along with his daughter, Celestina, on a challenge from Philip II to cajole Rudolph to renounce his heretical methods. quickly Lukas discovers the bad fact at the back of Dorantes's venture. yet sinister forces have plans for Lukas too, and ahead of he can thwart the plot opposed to the emperor, Lukas needs to gamble on Celestina's loyalty with the intention to shop his personal life.

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It made a delightful clicking noise – precisely like a wide clock mechanism – and after a number of seconds the gadget started to emit a lovely ringing sound. They sat there, ready to determine what might occur. After some time Anselmus seemed out of the window. so far as he can make out, humans nonetheless walked around the bridge, and ripples from the river nonetheless stuck in flickering torchlight. He inspiration to attract this to Rudolph’s recognition, but if he observed how serene the Emperor regarded, sitting along with his eyes closed and a beatific smile on his face, he didn’t have the center to inform him. ‘Ah, Declercq,’ stated Rudolph sleepily, ‘we haven't felt so thoroughly at peace when you consider that we have been a small baby. It pleases us significantly to grasp that out of doors those 4 partitions there's not anything occurring to threaten our individual or the peace of our realm. ’ Anselmus nodded, yet he was once discovering it tough to assemble his ideas. He may suppose a thick, muggy headache approaching. He used to be determined for a breath of cool evening air, yet he didn't believe it was once his position to signify this to the Emperor. in addition to, the directions in actual fact acknowledged that home windows and doorways could be sealed. one other 5 mins handed. Now either one of them have been drowsy. Anselmus, in truth, felt as if he used to be on the backside of the ocean. The Emperor slumped again in his chair, his mouth broad open. the very last thing Anselmus heard earlier than he misplaced awareness was once the citadel clock impressive the 15 minutes. . Lukas and his rescuers heard the clock too. They have been seated via the line as regards to the North Gate, straining for breath. because it was once after hour of darkness the town gates have been locked until eventually sunrise. they discovered a barn and bedded down. ‘This jogs my memory an excessive amount of of that evening again in Momalle,’ whispered Lukas to Etienne. Dusan and Radek have been either noisily snoring loudly. ‘I wish we don’t get any longer viewers. ‘That guy you shot should you rescued me,’ he additional, because the weird and wonderful information of the evening got here again to him. ‘I’m yes it used to be the Grand Inquisitor. ’ Etienne didn’t appear shocked. ‘I can’t ponder a greater alias – the Witchfinder used to be a witch himself! ’ He looked as if it would respect the man’s deceit. ‘Strom has vanished,’ stated Etienne, ‘and Oldrich says Hlava informed him to ship you all the way down to a home as regards to the sq.. What’s happening, Lukas? ’ ‘Hlava had me despatched there? ’ exclaimed Lukas. ‘What a idiot i used to be to swallow that tale approximately Jenka! ’ ‘Why d’you imagine they desired to kill you? ’ requested Etienne. Lukas shook his head. ‘I don’t comprehend for yes, yet final evening I requested Strom if he’d offered anything to at least one of Rudolph’s courtiers. He denied it, yet i may inform he had, and he appeared very agitated that I knew. My uncle – Anselmus – he advised me he’d got a wierd desktop from somebody within the city who had tattoos on his face. i assumed it gave the impression of Strom. yet why is Hlava combined up in it too? ’ ‘What kind of computer? ’ stated Etienne. ‘Something approximately time – I can’t particularly take into account. It sounded ridiculous. ’ ‘I was once there whilst Hlava got here to speak to Strom approximately promoting it,’ stated Etienne.

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