Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, Book 2)

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9781416975892: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, Book 2)

True love is shrouded in secrets and lies in the enchanting second book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.

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About the Author:

Cassandra Clare is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Lord of Shadows and Lady Midnight, as well as the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. She is the coauthor of The Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, as well as The Shadowhunter’s Codex, which she cowrote with her husband, Joshua Lewis. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages, a feature film, and a TV show, Shadowhunters, currently airing on Freeform. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.

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

Clockwork Prince 1

THE COUNCIL CHAMBER


Above, the fair hall-ceiling stately set

Many an arch high up did lift,

And angels rising and descending met

With interchange of gift.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Palace of Art”

“Oh, yes. It really does look just as I imagined,” Tessa said, and turned to smile at the boy who stood beside her. He had just helped her over a puddle, and his hand still rested politely on her arm, just above the crook of her elbow.

James Carstairs smiled back at her, elegant in his dark suit, his silver-fair hair whipped by the wind. His other hand rested on a jade-topped cane, and if any of the great crowd of people milling around them thought that it was odd that someone so young should need a walking stick, or found anything unusual about his coloring or the cast of his features, they didn’t pause to stare.

“I shall count that as a blessing,” said Jem. “I was beginning to worry, you know, that everything you encountered in London was going to be a disappointment.”

A disappointment. Tessa’s brother, Nate, had once promised her everything in London—a new beginning, a wonderful place to live, a city of soaring buildings and gorgeous parks. What Tessa had found instead was horror and betrayal, and danger beyond anything she could have imagined. And yet . . .

“Not everything has been.” She smiled up at Jem.

“I am glad to hear it.” His tone was serious, not teasing. She looked away from him up at the grand edifice that rose before them. Westminster Abbey, with its great Gothic spires nearly touching the sky. The sun had done its best to struggle out from behind the haze-tipped clouds, and the abbey was bathed in weak sunlight.

“This is really where it is?” she asked as Jem drew her forward, toward the abbey entrance. “It seems so . . .”

“Mundane?”

“I had meant to say crowded.” The Abbey was open to tourists today, and groups of them swarmed busily in and out the enormous doors, most clutching Baedeker guidebooks in their hands. A group of American tourists—middle-aged women in unfashionable clothes, murmuring in accents that made Tessa briefly homesick—passed them as they went up the stairs, hurrying after a lecturer who was offering a guided tour of the Abbey. Jem and Tessa melted in effortlessly behind them.

The inside of the abbey smelled of cold stone and metal. Tessa looked up and around, marveling at the size of the place. It made the Institute look like a village church.

“Notice the triple division of the nave,” a guide droned, going on to explain that smaller chapels lined the eastern and western aisles of the Abbey. There was a hush over the place even though no services were going on. As Tessa let Jem lead her toward the eastern side of the church, she realized she was stepping over stones carved with dates and names. She had known that famous kings, queens, soldiers, and poets were buried in Westminster Abbey, but she hadn’t quite expected she’d be standing on top of them.

She and Jem slowed finally at the southeastern corner of the church. Watery daylight poured through the rose window overhead. “I know we are in a hurry to get to the Council meeting,” said Jem, “but I wanted you to see this.” He gestured around them. “Poets’ Corner.”

Tessa had read of the place, of course, where the great writers of England were buried. There was the gray stone tomb of Chaucer, with its canopy, and other familiar names: “Edmund Spenser, oh, and Samuel Johnson,” she gasped, “and Coleridge, and Robert Burns, and Shakespeare—”

“He isn’t really buried here,” said Jem quickly. “It’s just a monument. Like Milton’s.”

“Oh, I know, but—” She looked at him, and felt herself flush. “I can’t explain it. It’s like being among friends, being among these names. Silly, I know . . .”

“Not silly at all.”

She smiled at him. “How did you know just what I’d want to see?”

“How could I not?” he said. “When I think of you, and you are not there, I see you in my mind’s eye always with a book in your hand.” He looked away from her as he said it, but not before she caught the slight flush on his cheekbones. He was so pale, he could never hide even the least blush, she thought—and was surprised how affectionate the thought was.

She had become very fond of Jem over the past fortnight; Will had been studiously avoiding her, Charlotte and Henry were caught up in issues of Clave and Council and the running of the Institute—and even Jessamine seemed preoccupied. But Jem was always there. He seemed to take his role as her guide to London seriously. They had been to Hyde Park and Kew Gardens, the National Gallery and the British Museum, the Tower of London and Traitors’ Gate. They had gone to see the cows being milked in St. James’s Park, and the fruit and vegetable sellers hawking their wares in Covent Garden. They had watched the boats sailing on the sun-sparked Thames from the Embankment, and had eaten things called “doorstops,” which sounded horrible but turned out to be butter, sugar, and bread. And as the days went on, Tessa felt herself unfolding slowly out of her quiet, huddled unhappiness over Nate and Will and the loss of her old life, like a flower climbing out of frozen ground. She had even found herself laughing. And she had Jem to thank for it.

“You are a good friend,” she exclaimed. And when to her surprise he said nothing to that, she said, “At least, I hope we are good friends. You do think so too, don’t you, Jem?”

He turned to look at her, but before he could reply, a sepulchral voice spoke out of the shadows,

 

“‘Mortality, behold and fear!

What a change of flesh is here:

Think how many royal bones

Sleep within these heaps of stones.’”

 

A dark shape stepped out from between two monuments. As Tessa blinked in surprise, Jem said, in a tone of resigned amusement, “Will. Decided to grace us with your presence after all?”

“I never said I wasn’t coming.” Will moved forward, and the light from the rose windows fell on him, illuminating his face. Even now, Tessa never could look at him without a tightening in her chest, a painful stutter of her heart. Black hair, blue eyes, graceful cheekbones, thick dark lashes, full mouth—he would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular. She had run her hands over those arms. She knew what they felt like—iron, corded with hard muscles; his hands, when they cupped the back of her head, slim and flexible but rough with calluses . . .

She tore her mind away from the memories. Memories did one no good, not when one knew the truth in the present. Will was beautiful, but he was not hers; he was not anybody’s. Something in him was broken, and through that break spilled a blind cruelty, a need to hurt and to push away.

“You’re late for the Council meeting,” said Jem good-naturedly. He was the only one Will’s puckish malice never seemed to touch.

“I had an errand,” said Will. Up close Tessa could see that he looked tired. His eyes were rimmed with red, the shadows beneath them nearly purple. His clothes looked crumpled, as if he had slept in them, and his hair wanted cutting. But that has nothing to do with you, she told herself sternly, looking away from the soft dark waves that curled around his ears, the back of his neck. It does not matter what you think of how he looks or how he chooses to spend his time. He has made that very clear. “And you are not exactly on the dot of the hour yourselves.”

“I wanted to show Tessa Poets’ Corner,” said Jem. “I thought she would like it.” He spoke so simply and plainly, no one could ever doubt him or imagine he said anything but the truth. In the face of his simple desire to please, even Will didn’t seem to be able to think of anything unpleasant to say; he merely shrugged, and moved on ahead of them at a rapid pace through the Abbey and out into the East Cloister.

There was a square garden here surrounded by cloister walls, and people were walking around the edges of it, murmuring in low voices as if they were still in the church. None of them took notice of Tessa and her companions as they approached a set of double oak doors set into one of the walls. Will, after glancing around, took his stele from his pocket and drew the tip across the wood. The door sparked with a brief blue light and swung open. Will stepped inside, Jem and Tessa following just behind. The door was heavy, and closed with a resounding bang behind Tessa, nearly trapping her skirts; she pulled them away only just in time, and stepped backward quickly, turning around in what was a near pitch-darkness. “Jem?”

Light blazed up; it was Will, holding his witchlight stone. They were in a large stone-bound room with vaulted ceilings. The floor appeared to be brick, and there was an altar at one end of the room. “We’re in the Pyx Chamber,” he said. “Used to be a treasury. Boxes of gold and silver all along the walls.”

“A Shadowhunter treasury?” Tessa was thoroughly puzzled.

“No, the British royal treasury—thus the thick walls and doors,” said Jem. “But we Shadowhunters have always had access.” He smiled at her expression. “Monarchies down through the ages have tithed to the Nephilim, in secret, to keep their kingdoms safe from demons.”

“Not in America,” said Tessa with spirit. “We haven’t got a monarchy—”

“You’ve got a branch of government that deals with Nephilim, never fear,” said Will, crossing the floor to the altar. “It used to be the Department of War, but now there’s a branch of the Department of Justice—”

He was cut off as the altar moved sideways with a groan, revealing a dark, empty hole behind it. Tessa could see faint flickers of light in among the shadows. Will ducked into the hole, his witchlight illuminating the darkness.

When Tessa followed, she found herself in a long downward-sloping stone corridor. The stone of the walls, floors, and ceiling was all the same, giving the impression that the passage had been hewed directly through the rock, though it was smooth instead of rough. Every few feet witchlight burned in a sconce shaped like a human hand pushing through the wall, fingers gripping a torch.

The altar slid shut behind them, and they set off. As they went, the passage began to slope more steeply downward. The torches burned with a blue-green glow, illuminating carvings in the rock—the same motif, repeated over and over, of an angel rising in burning fire from a lake, carrying a sword in one hand and a cup in the other.

At last they found themselves standing before two great silver doors. Each door was carved with a design Tessa had seen before—four interlocking Cs. Jem pointed to them. “They stand for Clave and Council, Covenant and Consul,” he said, before she could ask.

“The Consul. He’s—the head of the Clave? Like a sort of king?”

“Not quite so inbred as your usual monarch,” said Will. “He’s elected, like the president or the prime minister.”

“And the Council?”

“You’ll see them soon enough.” Will pushed the doors open.

Tessa’s mouth fell open; she closed it quickly, but not before she caught an amused look from Jem, standing at her right side. The room beyond them was one of the biggest she had ever seen, a huge domed space, the ceiling of which was painted with a pattern of stars and constellations. A great chandelier in the shape of an angel holding blazing torches dangled from the highest point of the dome. The rest of the room was set up as an amphitheater, with long, curving benches. Will, Jem, and Tessa were standing at the top of a row of stairs that cut through the center of the seating area, which was three quarters full of people. Down at the bottom of the steps was a raised platform, and on that platform were several uncomfortable-looking high-backed wooden chairs.

In one of them sat Charlotte; beside her was Henry, looking wide-eyed and nervous. Charlotte sat calmly with her hands in her lap; only someone who knew her well would have seen the tension in her shoulders and the set of her mouth.

Before them, at a sort of speaker’s lectern—it was broader and longer than the usual lectern—stood a tall man with long, fair hair and a thick beard; his shoulders were broad, and he wore long black robes over his clothes like a judge, the sleeves glimmering with woven runes. Beside him, in a low chair, sat an older man, his brown hair streaked with gray, his face clean-shaven but sunk into stern lines. His robe was dark blue, and gems glittered on his fingers when he moved his hand. Tessa recognized him: the ice-voiced, ice-eyed Inquisitor Whitelaw who questioned witnesses on behalf of the Clave.

“Mr. Herondale,” said the blond man, looking up at Will, and his mouth quirked into a smile. “How kind of you to join us. And Mr. Carstairs as well. And your companion must be—”

“Miss Gray,” Tessa said before he could finish. “Miss Theresa Gray of New York.”

A little murmur ran around the room, like the sound of a wave receding. She felt Will, next to her, tense, and Jem draw a breath as if to speak. Interrupting the Consul, she thought she heard someone say. So this was Consul Wayland, the chief officer of the Clave. Glancing around the room, she saw a few familiar faces—Benedict Lightwood, with his sharp, beaky features and stiff carriage; and his son, tousle-haired Gabriel Lightwood, looking stonily straight ahead. Dark-eyed Lilian Highsmith. Friendly-looking George Penhallow; and even Charlotte’s formidable aunt Callida, her hair piled on her head in thick gray waves. There were many other faces as well, ones she didn’t know. It was like looking at a picture book meant to tell you about all the peoples of the world. There were blond Viking-looking Shadowhunters, and a darker-skinned man who looked like a caliph out of her illustrated The Thousand and One Nights, and an Indian woman in a beautiful sari trimmed with silver runes. She sat beside another woman, who had turned her head and was looking at them. She wore an elegant silk dress, and her face was like Jem’s—the same delicately beautiful features, the same curves to her eyes and cheekbones, though where his hair and eyes were silver, hers were dark.

“Welcome, then, Miss Tessa Gray of New York,” said the Consul, sounding amused. “We appreciate your joining us here today. I understand you have already answered quite a few questions for the London Enclave. I had hoped you would be willing to answer a few more.”

Across the distance that separated them, Tessa’s eyes met Charlotte’s. Should I?

Charlotte dropped her a nearly imperceptible nod. Please.

Tessa squared her shoulders. “If that is your request, certainly.”

“Approach the Council bench, then,” said the Consul, and Tessa realized he must mean the long, narrow wooden bench that stood before the lectern. “And your gentleman friends may escort you,” he added.

Will muttered something under his breath, but so quietly even Tessa couldn’t hear it; flanked by Will on her left and Jem on her right, Tessa made her way down the steps and to the bench before the lectern. She stood behind it uncertainly. This close up, she could see that the Consul had friendly blue eyes, unlike the Inquisitor’s, which were a bleak and stormy gray, like a rainy sea.

“Inquisitor Whitelaw,” said the Consul to the gray-eyed man, “the Mortal Sword, if you please.”

The Inquisitor stood, and from his robes drew a massive blade. Tessa recognized it instantly. It was long and dull silver, its hilt carved in the shape of outspread wings. It was the ...

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