The Second Siege
The Second Siege

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Series: Tapestry Vol. 2   

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Annotation: Twelve-year-old Max and his allies risk much as they seek to acquire the Book of Origins, an artifact of unimaginable power, in hopes of halting the ancient evil that is bringing the world to its knees.
Catalog Number: #30305
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2008
Pages: 482 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-375-83897-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-20983-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-375-83897-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-20983-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2007050658
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
It's Max McDaniels' second year at Rowan Academy, a contemporary American boarding school where students are trained to fight against supernatural foes. He and his sorcerer roommate, David, along with several others, human and non, are embroiled in a quest to stop the demon Astaroth from finding the Book of Thoth, which holds the key to all creation. As governments fall to Astaroth, Max and David travel across Europe and beyond in search of the book's location. Proud, emotional Max and frail, calculating David suffer realistic setbacks and humbling experiences that change them, while Astaroth is delightful in his sly, polite wickedness. Neff's writing is infused with history and myth, and a sense of adventure: add well-rounded characters, and this makes for a captivating read. New readers should start with the first book, The Hound of Rowan (2007) as this one doesn't look back, but the dark conclusion and its potential consequences will ensure an eager readership for the third. Although Neff will not escape Harry Potter comparisons, in this volume he moves into his own distinctive voice.
Horn Book
Max and David, two preternaturally talented students at magical Rowan Academy, quest around the world and eventually beyond to prevent a demon from gaining the power to unmake creation. This dark sequel (the forces of good are continually defeated) swells in scale and scope, and Neff occasionally overrelies on summary, but overall his storytelling remains compelling.
Kirkus Reviews
A series about an American academy of magic takes a dark turn in this sequel to The Hound of Rowan (2007). Max McDaniels is the chosen guardian of his magically powerful but physically weak roommate David Menlo. Their nemesis, the recently freed demon Astaroth, wishes to get his hands on the all-powerful Book of Thoth, and it's up to Max and David to find it first and keep it safe. Tensions within the school and in the outside world threaten to destroy our heroes' will, and in the end it falls on them to determine what is best for their friends and family. There is very little catching-up in this book, so readers will need to have read the previous novel to follow much of the action. Remarkably, given the breakneck pace, Neff's writing moves from scene to scene without breaking stride or ever pushing the action too far. Characters and motivations remain clear, though the surprise ending will leave certain readers reeling. After devouring this title, young fans will clamor for more. (Fantasy. 11-15)
School Library Journal
Gr 58 Fans of The Hound of Rowan (Random, 2007) will love this sequel. Those who haven't read the first book will simply be puzzled. In their second year at Rowan Academy, Max McDaniels and his roommate David Menlo, a mystic, discover that they must live with the Witches to fulfill a pact made years before they were born. To keep them and the Book of Thoth safe from the demon Astaroth and in the hands of Rowan agents, they are "kidnapped" by an ally. While on the run, the Red Branch offers to activate Max to be its newest agent. Initially, Max demurs but after dodging danger in Europe, finding his mother in the land of the Sidh, discovering his real father's identity, and having several harrowing encounters with Astaroth, he embraces his identity as the reincarnation of Cuchulain and joins as a full-fledged agent. The Second Siege is chock-full of magic, myth, and adventure, and has some fun and interesting characters and an intense, engaging plot. That said, without the background information from the first book, it will be hard for readers to follow. Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA
Word Count: 125,499
Reading Level: 6.5
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.5 / points: 21.0 / quiz: 125610 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.7 / points:29.0 / quiz:Q45975
Lexile: 880L
Guided Reading Level: M
~ 1 ~

The Witch

Deep within a tangled corner of Rowan’s Sanctuary, Max McDaniels crouched beneath a canopy of sagging pines. It had been ten minutes since he had spied a dark shape slinking among the gray foothills far below, and Max knew his pursuer would now be close. He unsheathed his knife, using the blade’s coat of phosphoroil to study the crude map he’d scrawled before setting out. The target was still far away. At this rate, he would never make it—this opponent was much faster than the others.

Shaking off the unpleasant realities, Max concentrated instead on the illusion he had created. The phantasm was a perfect replica of Max, down to its wavy black hair and the sharp, dark features that peered cautiously from a high perch in a nearby tree. He had taken care to mark the surrounding terrain with subtle signs of passage, knowing that a trained eye would spot them.

The shrill cry of a bird shattered the pre-dawn stillness.

Something was coming.

Max’s pulse quickened. He scanned the switchback below for any sign of his pursuer, but there was only the smell of damp earth and the low sigh of the wind as it blew tatters of mist across the mountain.

While the sky brightened to a thin wash of blue, Max watched and waited, still as a stone among the roots and nettles. Just when he had decided to abandon his position, a flicker of motion caught his eye.

One of the trees was creeping up the mountainside.

At least he had thought the shape was a tree—one of several bent and broken saplings clinging precariously to the slope’s dry soil. Slowly, however, the silhouette straightened and began to thread its way up through the sparse wood. It crept toward Max’s double, as dark and shrouded as a specter. When the figure was some twenty feet away, Max realized why he had been unable to shake the pursuer.

It was Cooper.

The Agent’s scarred and ruined face looked like a fractured mask of weathered bone. His pale skin was camouflaged with dirt; his telltale shoots of blond hair were tucked beneath a black skullcap. Reaching the base of the tree on which Max’s double was perched, he drew a thin knife from a sheath on his forearm. Its blade gleamed with phosphoroil.

Cooper began climbing the tree with the fluid ease of a spider.

While the Agent climbed, Max’s pupils slowly dilated. Terrible energies filled his wiry form, making his fingers twitch and tremble.

Max sprang from his hiding place.

Cooper’s head cocked at the sound as Max hurtled toward him with his knife.

Max’s weapon struck home, but instead of meeting flesh and bone, it passed through the figure to thud against the tree in a spray of bark. Cooper’s conjured decoy dissolved in a billow of black smoke and Max realized he’d been duped.

Max whipped his head around and spied the real Cooper darting out from a nearby thicket. The Agent closed the distance in five long strides. Shifting his knife to his left hand, Max swung himself up into the tree as Cooper’s blade whistled past his ribs.

Cooper seized Max’s wrist in a grip of iron. “You’re caught,” he hissed.

With a terrible wrench, Max pulled himself free and sliced his own knife across Cooper’s shoulder, leaving a bright line of phosphoroil on the black fabric. Cooper gave a grunt of surprise. Slashing the Agent again, Max leapt clear of the tree.

In one fluid movement, Max landed and bolted up the path, veering right at the fork and dashing up the steep trail he had marked on the map. Cooper trotted after him, apparently unconcerned that Max was increasing his lead with a burst of Amplified speed. Ignoring Cooper for the moment, Max focused his attention on the coppery summit as he raced up the mountain, climbing steadily above the timberline.

It was ten minutes o

Excerpted from The Second Siege by Henry H. Neff
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

A fast-paced, genre-blending adventure—now in paperback!

The Tapestry series continues to weave threads of fantasy, mythology, science fiction, and mystery into a wholly original adventure that appeals to fans of everything from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to The X-Men. Genre-blending and fully illustrated, The Tapestry novels have caught the attention of middle-grade and young adult readers alike—and the series is only getting bigger.

In this second book of the series, grave forces are converging to seize control of the Book of Thoth, a hidden artifact whose pages hold the key to creating—or unraveling—the very threads of existence. Max McDaniels and David Menlo embark on a quest to protect the book from the demon Astaroth, who would exploit its secrets with dire consequence. And with Astaroth free after centuries of imprisonment, the world outside Rowan’s gates has already become hostile.

Far from home, cut off behind enemy lines, Max and his allies must journey across Europe, descend into the fabled Frankfurt Workshop, brave the tangled corners of the Black Forest . . . and cross beyond the veils of our very world.

"After devouring this title, young fans will be clamoring for more."—Kirkus Reviews

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