Nightfall

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9780399175800: Nightfall

The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.

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About the Author:

Jake Halpern is an acclaimed journalist, author, and radio producer who has written for several publications including The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.  As a contributor at NPR, Jake produced one of the most listened-to episodes of This American Life. He co-wrote the Dormia series with Peter Kujawinski and is the author of Bad Paper, a nonfiction book for adults. 

For eighteen years, Peter Kujawinski was an American diplomat, on assignment in places like Israel, Haiti and France and at the United Nations in New York.  Most recently, he was the U.S. Consul General in western Canada, which included Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.  While working as a diplomat, he started to write for adults and children.  He has contributed to the international edition of the New York Times, and with co-author Jake Halpern, Peter wrote the Dormia trilogy (DormiaWorld's End and Shadow Tree).  He lives in Chicago with his family.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

Copyright © 2015 Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

CHAPTER  1

  

MARIN WALKED INTO  THE WIND  AND  FELT IT  GENTLY   PUSH back. A few more steps and she’d be at the edge of the cliff. Her focus was on the thistle, the prickly green plants that crunched beneath her feet. What  would  happen to these  plants  during the  years  of Night?  Would  they  wither and  die,  or  would they simply lie dormant, waiting  for the first rays of sunlight to peek up from  the  horizon?  She had  asked  those  who  had been through this before, but they refused to discuss it. No one talked about the Night, even though it was almost upon them.

She stopped near the precipice. The water below was dark, almost black, and it stretched everywhere, like a liquid version of the sky. In the last year, as the sun had begun  its final de- scent, the water  had gone from blue-green to iridescent blue, and from there it grew steadily darker. A hint of its fluorescence remained, but now it provoked  a shiver instead of a smile.

Marin took a deep breath of the cold sea air. When  the sun vanished, it would get even colder. Everything would freeze—at least that’s what people at school said. In any case, by the time that happened, she’d be long gone, along with everyone  else in Bliss. Only the buildings  would  remain,  silent  and empty, en- tombed in ice.

The wind flung Marin’s wavy black hair into her face. She was  smaller  than  other  girls  her  age, but  she  was  stronger than most. Her arms and legs were long and well-muscled, the product of years spent  climbing,  hiking, and sailing. She had honey-colored eyes, long lashes,  and  bronze  skin—a striking combination, which she inherited from her mother. Her cloth- ing, however,  was plain and purely  functional: waxed  canvas pants, a raw denim shirt, and leather boots.

“Has the tide turned yet?”

Marin spun at the unexpected voice. She had been waiting for her friend Line, but instead she saw Palan—a frail man with paper-thin skin and a bald head marked  with brown sunspots. Palan had lived through several Mornings and his skin bore the proof. His cobalt-blue robe rippled in the wind, revealing a left arm that ended in a stump just above his wrist.

“I’m not sure about the tide,” Marin replied.  “What do you think?”

The old man faced Marin, his watery eyes looking past her, into the distance.  “This is my fourth  Evening,” he said quietly. He tightened the heavy wool scarf wrapped around his neck. “The sun seems to be moving faster and faster with the years.” Marin  followed  his gaze. The sun had almost  disappeared below the horizon.  Only a sliver remained visible. The entire western sky was ablaze  in magnificent shades  of orange  and red. A few degrees more and the sun would vanish completely, plunging  the island into darkness for the next fourteen years. They said this would happen soon, perhaps in a matter of days.


It sounded a bit like the end of the world to Marin, and she still found it hard to believe.

The wind blew gently and Palan sighed. “It saddens me that I will never see this place again. When I leave here—I expect I won’t return.”

Marin  reached out  and  touched his  arm.  The  old  man turned away from  the  sea, back toward  the  island’s interior, and grasped her hand. “I’ve heard movement in the forest,” he whispered.

“What do you mean?” asked Marin, worried that Palan may have become lost in his mind.

Palan gripped her hand tighter but did not reply. A muffled shout rang in the distance.

“MARIN!”

They looked up and watched a teenage  boy moving toward them. It was Line. If Palan hadn’t been there,  she would have run to him, but now she just waved back.

When he arrived,  Line appeared slightly confused.  Palan studied  them both, arched  an eyebrow, and smiled.

Line’s dark brown  eyes twinkled as he approached Marin. He was handsome in the  way that  few boys of fourteen are. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with an unkempt shock of reddish-brown hair, high cheekbones, and a cleft chin.

“Elder Palan,” said Line. “Any news of the boats?” A gust of wind pressed  his curly hair flat against his head.

Palan  straightened, as if the  use of the  honorific—Elder— reminded him  of his  role  and  station.  “Sorry,  my boy, I’ve heard nothing of the boats,” said Palan. “But I am not here for that. Come—I’ll show you.”


He  approached the  cliff ’s  edge  and  pointed   downward. Marin  and Line followed  close behind  him and peered over. The face of the cliff was shrouded in shadow,  but they could make out several thick white veins coming out of the cliff and running down its side, like a hardened trail of wax from a giant candle.

“It’s ice,” said Palan. It was colder at the edge of the cliff, and his shoulders began to tremble.  “My father  brought me to this place as a boy. The ice always begins here. It squeezes  out of the rock and then, they say, it spreads  . . . until it covers every- thing. The island turns to ice.”

Marin and Line stood close together, near Palan. Line’s fingers grazed Marin’s.

Palan leaned  over several inches  more. “Somewhere down there  is the hag.” His voice turned hoarse. “At times, when the waves break just right, you can see her.”

He took a step back from the cliff and smiled with great con- tentment, as if recalling a particularly fond memory. Marin and Line looked down at the water. It seemed no different than be- fore. Palan often spoke in riddles,  in the manner that those of such age do.

“I’d like to get a better  view of that ice,” said Line, taking off the coil of rope slung across his shoulder and pushing  up the sleeves of his sweater.  His forearms and biceps were  tan and muscled from years of rock climbing.

“As you wish,” said Palan. “But be careful. Ice is much slicker than rock.”

Suddenly  impatient, Marin  and  Line  said  good-bye.  As Palan  shuffled  back  to town,  Line  set  up  the  rope,  tying  it securely to a small brass ring jutting from the rock. Marin and Line had been climbing the cliffs that formed the island’s pe- rimeter their entire lives, and recently, it had been just the two of them.  Going off unchaperoned was frowned upon,  but at the moment,  the town was too consumed with other  matters to pay them any mind.

Just before beginning, they checked to make sure they were each  securely  fastened to  the  rope.  Marin  faced  Line.  She tucked a lock of hair behind  his ear so it didn’t dangle over his eyes. “You were  late,” she said, scowling  as if she were  cross with him.

“Just a minute  or two,” he said with  a grin. Line shook his head so that  his hair fell back over his eyes. “It won’t happen again.”

They descended steadily until the ocean spray began to mist their legs. The rays of the setting sun could not reach this area, and it was darker  than  they expected. Still, they were  able to see the veins of ice glowing in the murky twilight.

Line continued down several feet, until the ocean spray wet his heavy  canvas  pants  and  wool  sweater.  Marin  heard  him mutter in surprise.

“What is it?” she called.

Line looked up. Marin  was standing  comfortably on a tiny ledge two body lengths above him. “The tide’s turned,” he said.

“Just now?”

She climbed down to get a better  look.

“You’re right,” she said. “Look, you can see it.” She pointed to a thin  band of white  that  clung to the cliff wall near  their feet.

Line nodded.  “That dried salt is the high-water mark.”

They hugged the cliff wall. After all the anticipation, it was happening. During the fourteen years of Day, the waters around their  island  remained at high tide. Then,  just before  the  sun vanished,  the tide reversed itself suddenly  and rapidly, rolling out hundreds of miles and leaving exposed seabed where once there  had been crashing  waves. And the sea stayed away until Sunrise—some fourteen years later—when it returned just as fast. The timing of all of this was crucial for the islanders,  who migrated with the tide. Once it turned, they had just a few days to depart.

“Do you think anyone else knows?” she asked.

“I bet the okrana know.” Line adjusted his hold on the rock and shivered.  The nearby ice emanated cold with a surprising intensity.  “We should go.”

He was beginning  to climb back up when Marin saw something brown and green poking out of the frothy water.

“Line!” she called. Her voice was sharp against the muffled thump of the waves.

Line stopped.  His foot was jammed  into  a tiny crevice  in the rock, and one of his fingers curled around a slight nub. He leaned out and looked down, using his free arm and leg for bal- ance. To Marin, it looked like his finger and foot were glued to the wall. Marin shook her head and smiled. Show-off.

“What is it?” he asked nonchalantly.

“Just come look,” said Marin. Her eyes were wide and brim- ming with excitement. “There’s something in the water.”

Line climbed  back down  to join her  on the  ledge. He followed her gaze and, over the next few minutes,  they watched a human  form emerge  from the receding  tide. It jutted  out at a strange  angle, but still they could tell that it was a statue  of a woman. The head was carved in simple lines, yet her expres- sion was surprisingly intricate. Her  mouth  was gaping open, as if she were screaming or expressing great terror. The statue was big—three or four times the size of an average person.

“Palan’s hag,” whispered Line.

The water  level was dropping steadily,  and soon they saw her upper  torso. The hag brandished a shield and wore a sim- ple cloak wrapped tightly around a lean, muscular body.

“I see writing!” Marin called. “There—on the shield!”

They waited  breathlessly through several  waves, until  the trough  of one large wave revealed the following words in huge block letters: the houses must be without stain.

Marin  tried  to suppress an uneasy  feeling. The island was littered with old ruins—crumbling foundations, broken pillars, old stone walls. This statue was just another relic of the island’s past. A vestige of ancient  peoples.  Still, the phrase  seemed strangely  relevant.  The houses must be without  stain. Now that the tide had turned, everyone  in town would be cleaning their homes, preparing to leave. It was an ironclad rule—the last task before departure.

“Why is this statue here—in the ocean?” Marin asked.

Line said nothing at first. “It’s curious,”  he finally replied. “It looks very old.” He frowned as if an unpleasant thought had crossed  his mind,  then  turned to Marin.  “I’m ready  to head back. All right?”

“What’s the matter?”  Marin  asked. The sea had left a fine mist on their exposed skin and hair.

Line smiled, but it was forced. “I’m just cold, that’s all.” “Let’s go,” she said, nodding.  Line was more  her brother’s friend than hers, and she still didn’t know him that well. They began ascending the  shadowy  rock face. Marin  was about  to urge Line to climb faster  when  his foot rolled  off the rock. It was shocking—he might have fallen backward if he didn’t have a rope to grab onto. Line was one of the best climbers  in Bliss. He’d never slipped before.

“What happened?” called Marin.

“Ice,” said Line, almost as a curse. “It’s in the crags.” Together they  climbed  as quickly  as they  could,  back toward the sunlight.

CHAPTER 2

 

EVEN THOUGH   MUCH  OF THE ISLAND WAS COVERED   IN shadow,  there  were still places that caught  the light. The trail that  led back to town  was such a place. It was perfectly  situ- ated along a hill, facing the nearly disappeared sun. As a result, everything—from  the  garnet  pebbles  on  the  ground  to  the swaying remnants of wheat and grass—shimmered.

After their  cold, dark climb, even this small amount  of sun warmed Marin. It made her think  of the Desert  Lands and of her mother, who was born in that distant place. The ice had ap- peared  so suddenly—and the cold coming from it still seemed to grip her.  All of a sudden,  following  the  sun to the  Desert Lands didn’t seem like an entirely bad idea.

“It’ll be chaos in town,” said Line as they walked  up a hill dotted  with clumps of fragrant, blue-tinged bushes. He shook his head and shrugged,  as if this would be more an annoyance than anything  else. “Pure chaos.”

Marin frowned, trying to imagine their orderly town in a state of chaos.  “They send  the  envelopes  out after  the  tide  turns— right?” Of course, she knew this to be true. How many times has my father said as much? But still, now that  the  moment  had arrived, she felt a compulsion to repeat it—just to be sure.

Line nodded.  “I bet they’re doing it right now,” he replied. “And  after   that,   everything  will  shut   down—the  markets, school, even the fall wheat harvest.”

Marin thought about this. “I figured we’d have at least two more  weeks.”  She paused  for a moment  and  then  added,  “I guess that means we’ve just had our last climb together.”

Line sighed, hoping that wasn’t true.

“I knew this was going to happen,”  he said, glancing at the sea. “Anyone who  sails could  see the  tide  was going to turn sooner rather than later. I don’t know why the mayor uses that stupid lunar calendar.”

They  continued on, walking  single  file along  the  narrow path.  Marin  picked  up her ...

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Descrizione libro G.P. Putnam s Sons Books for Young Readers, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman. On Marin s island, sunrise doesn t come every twenty-four hours--it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long. Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night. Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling--bizarre, even--but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way. Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing--the twins friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing. And it may already be too late. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780399175800

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Descrizione libro G.P. Putnam s Sons Books for Young Readers, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman. On Marin s island, sunrise doesn t come every twenty-four hours--it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long. Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night. Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling--bizarre, even--but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way. Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing--the twins friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing. And it may already be too late. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780399175800

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Descrizione libro G.P. Putnam s Sons Books for Young Readers, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman. On Marin s island, sunrise doesn t come every twenty-four hours--it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long. Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night. Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling--bizarre, even--but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way. Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing--the twins friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing. And it may already be too late. Codice libro della libreria BZV9780399175800

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