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Jack Cloudie

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2019 год
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      Jack Cloudie
Stephen Hunt

A tale of high adventure and derring-do set in the same Victorian-style world as the acclaimed The Court of the Air and The Secrets of the Fire Sea.Thanks to his father's gambling debts, young Jack Keats finds himself on the streets and trying to survive as a pickpocket, desperate to graft enough coins to keep him and his two younger brothers fed.Following a daring bank robbery gone badly awry, Jack narrowly escapes the scaffold, only to be pressed into Royal Aerostatical Navy. Assigned to the most useless airship in the fleet, serving under a captain who is most probably mad, Jack seems to be bound for almost certain death in the far-away deserts of Cassarabia.Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Omar ibn Barir, the slave of a rich merchant lord finds his life turned upside down when his master's religious sect is banned. Unexpectedly freed, he survives the destruction of his home to enter into the service of the Caliph's military forces – just as war is brewing.Two very similar young men prepare to face each other across a senseless field of war. But is Omar the enemy, or is Jack's true nemesis the sickness at the heart of the Caliph's court? A cult that hides the deadly secret to the origins of the gas being used to float Cassarabia's new aerial navy.If Jack and his shipmates can discover what Cassarabia's aggressive new regime is trying to conceal, he might survive the most horrific of wars and clear his family's name. If not…

Stephen Hunt

Jack Cloudie

Contents

Epigraph

Chapter One

Jack Keats was pushed aside by the others in the…

Chapter Two

There was only one upside to being a slave, Omar…

Chapter Three

Jack stumbled to the rail at the front of the…

Chapter Four

Jack didn’t know the name of the airship field the…

Chapter Five

Omar ran through the great house’s central garden. Everywhere there…

Chapter Six

‘Help me,’ begged the six-year-old stuck down the claustrophobically tight…

Chapter Seven

‘Where is your mind today?’ demanded the cadet master, cutting…

Chapter Eight

Jack watched First Lieutenant Westwick walk across to where he…

Chapter Nine

Omar returned to the palace. There was a chiming noise…

Chapter Ten

Standing in the corridor that led to the great library…

Chapter Eleven

Jack rubbed his brow, half covered by a turban and…

Chapter Twelve

The grand vizier angrily sent a goblet spinning across the…

Chapter Thirteen

Captain Jericho leafed through the ship’s dispositions in his cabin…

Chapter Fourteen

Omar dodged aside as a miniature beyrog-like monster slashed at…

Chapter Fifteen

Jack was helped to his feet by Lieutenant McGillivray, the…

Chapter Sixteen

‘Heaven’s teeth, can’t you do this any quicker?’ asked the…

Chapter Seventeen

There were shouts verging on panic from the spotters on…

Chapter Eighteen

Omar was running through the Citadel of Flowers’ oppressive halls…

Chapter Nineteen

Omar winced as the gaggle of the citadel’s surgeons and…

Epilogue

‘Now then, laddies,’ said the gruff lieutenant on the desk…

About the Author

Other Books by Stephen Hunt

Copyright

About the Publisher

If you can smell the scent of death on the air and you do not know where the smell is coming from, then the smell is coming from you.

Ancient Cassarabian proverb

CHAPTER ONE

Middlesteel, the Kingdom of Jackals’ capital city

Jack Keats was pushed aside by the others in the gang as the shout echoed out from the shaft in the wall. They were deep in the bowels of Lords Bank, having broken in through the sewers. But even so, if the boy kept yelling like that, one of the bank’s night watchmen would hear the racket and then every member of the young gang would be done for.

‘I told you it was a mistake bringing the boy,’ said Jack. ‘He’s too young.’

‘Shut your cake-hole,’ snarled Boyd. It was hard to tell whether the gang’s leader was snapping at Jack for questioning his authority, or venting his aggression towards the boy crawling deep into the shaft running alongside Lords Bank’s main vault. Boyd leant into the dark shaft, looking in vain for any sign of the small boy’s flickering gas lantern.

‘He’s scared down there,’ said Jack. And of course, my fingers aren’t trembling from fear. That’s just the cold.

‘He should be more scared of me,’ spat Boyd, bunching his fist in anger before turning on Jack. ‘Yeah, and you’ve got two brothers his age locked up in the sponging house. And that’s where they’ll stay unless we get inside this vault. So you think of your kin, not ’im down there.’

‘The workhouse,’ said Jack. You ignorant fathead. ‘They’re in the workhouse now, not the debtors’ prison.’
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