The Fourth Ruby
The Fourth Ruby
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Series: Section 13 Vol. 2   

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Annotation: Jack Buckles, a thirteenth-generation tracker whose senses are on the fritz, and Gwen Kincaid, a clerk hoping to become an apprentice quartermaster, are framed for stealing a legendary jewel--one of a set of rubies thought to bring the owner loyalty, knowledge, and power--and they must locate the remaining rubies before the thief does or risk his unleashing a reign of terror worse than Genghis Khan's.
Catalog Number: #6512507
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 408 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-481-46713-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-481-46713-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016053567
Dimensions: 19 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
A year after The Lost Property Office, Jack Buckles is in training at the Ministry of Trackers. Only the young sensory-enhanced detective is having trouble getting a "spark," or enhanced read. Still, he must try to locate world-scattered cursed rubies before criminal masterminds do. The action never stops in this Holmes-like mystery with the magical flavoring of Harry Potter.
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Horn Book
Word Count: 71,780
Reading Level: 5.3
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.3 / points: 11.0 / quiz: 194532 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 710L
Guided Reading Level: P
The Fourth Ruby

Chapter One

NIGHT HAD FALLEN on London's Baker Street. The orange glow of the streetlamps reflected off pavement that seemed perpetually wet. A good number of pedestrians still walked the sidewalks, mostly heading home from the cafés. Teatime had barely passed, and in London, tea was more than just hot drinks.

A little south of Regent's Park and a little north of the Baker Street Tube station--near 221B--one particular pedestrian opened his palm and let an etched gold cube drop to the ground. He kept on walking. No one shouted after the man to tell him he had dropped something. No one noticed at all.

The cube clinked and clacked like a metal die, only not quite the same, thanks to tiny gems at each of the eight corners. It paused once, balancing on a single jewel for an unnatural space of time, then rolled on for another meter or so before coming to a complete stop. There it sat in the grime, glittering and anonymous, as a group of twenty-somethings strolled by. Their scarves and their laughing faces were reflected in a darkened shop window, amid lettering that read LOST PROPERTY OFFICE.

Once the laughing pedestrians were safely past, the cube shook and bobbled. Its sides split open, unfolding into eight spindly legs, each crowned with one of the tiny gems. The spider pushed itself up. It lifted a bulbous glass abdomen filled with sickly green syrup and then skittered across the pavement to climb a rainspout, utterly oblivious to the irony of its actions. Reaching the top unscathed, it raced across the roof, spiraled its way up a steaming vent pipe, and disappeared inside.

The creature descended for what seemed like ages, spiked feet clicking all the way. It took several branches, making lefts and rights into joining pipes, but always it continued downward, deep into a massive, secret underground tower known as the Keep.

Finally, the spider came within view of a blazing fire and slowed. It crept, inch by inch, to the underside of a great mahogany hearth, training its tiny cameras on a pair of children seated in high-backed velvet chairs in an otherwise dark room. The boy, a teenager, sat staring into the blaze. The girl, younger, her tiny form dwarfed by the Victorian chair, gazed at him with an expression of concern. After a moment, the boy stood to inspect the hearth, and the spider scrambled back out of sight.

Then again, there might never have been a spider in the first place. Maybe the gold flashes the boy saw in his mind's eye had nothing to do with a metal cube or tiny gems clacking on pavement. Maybe the silvery spikes had not been the clickety-clicks of a clockwork spider skittering down a pipe. Maybe the glittering confetti he saw had not been pedestrian laughter at all. Maybe the boy had imagined the whole thing.

Jack Buckles, a tracker by birth, had been struggling with his unusually keen senses. A year before, he had defeated a grown man in a smoky bell tower using only sound and feel to guide his actions. But these days, even the noisy Quantum Electrodynamic Drones--better known as QEDs--that hummed around the Ministry of Trackers could sneak up on him. Jack's senses had been failing him for months.

Of course, on the off chance Jack's senses had been correct, if a clockwork spider had really crawled down into the Keep to look for him, then that would be very, very bad.

Excerpted from The Fourth Ruby by James R. Hannibal
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.

Jack and Gwen are back in this dynamic follow-up to The Lost Property Office.

It’s been a year since Jack Buckles discovered the Keep beneath Baker Street, an underground tower no Section Thirteen was ever supposed to see; a year since his dad fell into a coma. Nothing has been the same since. Jack’s tracker abilities are on the fritz, Gwen’s not speaking to him and, what’s worse, there’s a pounding voice in his head calling for “the flame.”

Then, Jack and Gwen are framed for the theft of a historic crown jewel—the Black Prince’s Ruby, one of three cursed rubies said to bring knowledge, loyalty, and the command of nations to whomever wields them all. Now, they must retrieve the other jewels before the true thief does, or risk unleashing a reign of terror unlike anything history’s ever seen.

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