?The world is merely wallpaper. Hide behind it. “
At last Jordan Elliott has a gift. He can disappear—but at what price” The Beggar King never gives without taking. Jordan is about to discover that everything has an underside: even magic, even him.
A political coup on Jordan's fifteenth birthday brings the disappearance of many Cirrans, including his mother. Brinnian guards have imprisoned them at an unknown location.
The time is also coming for Jordan to choose a vocation and take his robes, and not a single talent has revealed itself besides a gift for mischief. On his sixteenth birthday he risks everything in a defiant act punishable by hanging. The guards spot him; he is doomed.
When the Beggar King offers him the gift of disappearing, he has no choice but to accept. Who is this man, anyway” No one believes there's such thing as a Beggar King.
But there is, and he means to bring back the undermagic, a dangerous dark power from long ago. Jordan needs this power to save his mother, so he agrees to help the sorcerer. But he discovers that the undermagic is difficult to give up once you—ve tried it. And there is always a price, a terrible price, which the Beggar King does not name in advance.
About the author
Michelle Barker lives in Penticton with her husband and family. Her poetry has been published in literary reviews around the world, including the 2011 Best Canadian Poetry anthology. A chapbook of her poems, Old Growth, Clear Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii, has just been published by Leaf Press in 2012. Michelle's short fiction has been published in several journals. She has also published non-fiction in magazines, newspapers and literary reviews, and she won a National Magazine Award in personal journalism. She is studying for her Master's degree in creative writing at UBC's optional-residency program.
Excerpt: The Beggar King (by (author) Michelle Barker)
“o you know anything about a brass door near the old library archives??Jordan asked. Sarmillion” golden eyes narrowed and his whiskers turned down. “hat door is forbidden. It” no place for a child.? ?ow ever did you hear of such a thing?? Sarmillion studied the boy, who immediately looked away, and then the undercat nodded. He could sniff out a lie as easily as a piece of fried trout. “hat sort of mischief have you been dirtying your fingers with?? When Jordan” face reddened, Sarmillion felt bad. He liked the Elliott boy, and he admired anyone who had the courage to follow the dark and twisting labyrinth that led to that door. He wouldn” do it. You could get lost. And there were spiders. ?ou didn” touch it, did you??he asked. “t” enchanted, you know.? ?our maid forgot to mention that, I suppose,?said Sarmillion. “cullery maids are not scribes and scholars, boy. They know their nutty buns, may the Great Light shine upon “m, but when it comes to enchantments their only education is whatever they learned on their grannies—laps. Once long ago Master Mimosa touched that door, I—l have you know, and two weeks later his great uncle dropped dead of a heart attack. I” telling you, it” a menace. It should never have been put there, but there” not a thing anyone can do about it now.” He grunted. “ext you—l be telling me you opened the blasted thing.? ?ndeed,?said Sarmillion. “hey say, This door does not open for fools, rascals or teenaged boys. Period. All fools, rascals and teenaged boys who find themselves in front of this door should take themselves home immediately and douse themselves in cold water and then perform ten years of penance for their stupidity. Does that answer your question?? ” forgot, you—e wise beyond your years,?said Sarmillion with a good-natured chuckle. “o, it doesn” say that. But I” under palace oath to keep certain secrets.” Like the secret of the Book of What Is, for example. The thought came unbidden, and he was quick to stuff it back down where it would keep quiet. “n Arrabel” time there was always a Landguard posted at the entrance to that hallway. You wouldn” have gotten within a hundred feet of that door.? ?hy” What” behind it that is so dangerous?”