Blackwood by Gwenda Bond Epub Ebook – Android Books

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Blackwood - Gwenda Bond

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

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Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

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An Excerpt from Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

The first time Miranda Blackwood checked the back of her closet for a portal to another world she was eleven. That was the year her mother died. After the closet, she tried other places. She wandered small patches of woods, seeking doors hidden in twisted trees, and peered into mirrors, searching for reflections that weren’t her own.
  But Miranda grew up. She no longer hoped to step over a secret threshold and leave Roanoke Island behind forever. Instead, she grabbed whatever escapes were in reach, no matter what they were. No matter that she stayed right here.
  For three summers running, her best escape had been interning for The Lost Colony at Waterside Theater. She sanded wood, hammered nails, sewed seams, and did whatever else needed doing to make the show’s version of history – complete with musical numbers – come alive for the tourists. In exchange for those hours of scutwork done without complaint, the stage manager, Polly, let Miranda join her at the side of the outdoor stage every night to watch the show’s final scenes.
  The set’s faux oak tree, hollow boulders, and packed dirt floor passed for an abandoned settlement, except for the shining spotlights. While Miranda half-listened for her favorite part, she cocked her head back to take in the stars light years above. The view was as familiar to her as the small constellation of calluses dotting her palms, or as the lines of the play drawing to a close beside her. As familiar and set as everything in Miranda’s life.
  The season was almost over, and then she’d endure senior year. Everyone was talking about college, preparing for the next act in their lives. She wasn’t going anywhere. She wouldn’t even have this. After she graduated, it’d be time to get a year-round job that paid more bills.
  “They’ve survived!”
  The bullish voice of the actor playing Governor John White snapped her attention back to the stage. The line signaled his return to the site of the colony after his trip to England.
  Surrounded by sailors, White gasped as he pointed at the oak on the far side of the stage, the simple cloak around his shoulders flying out with the gesture. Miranda couldn’t see the word from where she stood, but the famous Croatoan was carved into the bark in desperate, crooked letters. White went on, overacting like crazy, “My granddaughter, I will see her beautiful face!”

  Miranda and Polly exchanged a look. Polly shook her head, her prematurely gray ponytail bobbing. Director Jack, aka His Royal Majesty, would give the actor a scathing note on that later.
  The governor froze, along with the sailors in the background, and the lights dimmed. This cued up the final reveal. Miranda could never help wondering where the colonists had gone. Disappearing was some trick to pull off, even hundreds of years ago when there were more wild places left. The standard theories involved bad endings and tragedy. Even on such a humid night, not knowing – knowing that no one would ever know the truth – was enough to give her a small shiver.
  A single low spotlight fixed on a solemn young blonde girl as she wandered ghost-slow through the frozen men. Her face was chalk pale.
  His Royal Majesty’s biggest change to this year’s show had been making Virginia Dare the show’s deadpan narrator. The actress, Caroline, was a local kid, seven years-old and a mean-girl-in-training, and yet, the casting worked.
  Miranda leaned over to see how the scene was playing for the crowd. The show wasn’t sold out, but the curving rows of the amphitheater were nearly full. Probably about twelve hundred people, riveted and silent as Caroline haunted the stage.
  The shadow appeared at the back of the audience. Miranda had no idea what it might be – it was definitely not part of the show – only that it was there. The large unformed shape was simply a growing darkness until it resolved into an immense, old-fashioned black ship. The kind of ship used long ago by colonists and pirates. Strange gray symbols bloomed on each of three billowing black sails, the shapes a mix of straight lines and arcs, a half-moon curving above a circle at the top. The sailcloth rippled in a wind that she didn’t feel on her skin.
  Miranda blinked. The ship was still there.
  She put her hand up, and her hand was in front of an immense black ship with tall gray sails. And the ship was moving forward now, swallowing the audience row after curving row.
  In a few seconds half the audience was gone beneath it, and Miranda’s breath caught in her throat. The ship glided steadily closer. When she turned to Polly, the stage manager smiled at her with the normal relief of reaching the end of the night. She gave off no hint of concern.
  But the ship was heading straight toward the actors, those odd symbols shifting on the sails in curving and slashing lines. The black monster gathered speed, moving faster and faster–
  When Caroline hit her mark at center stage, only a dozen feet separated her from the black ship. She gave no sign of seeing it either. She might be a brat, but she was also seven.
  “Look!” Miranda pointed and staggered forward onto the stage. Caroline opened her mouth to speak and Miranda threw herself at the girl, shielding her with her arms.
  There were a few shocked cries. Miranda closed her eyes and waited for the impact.
  And waited.
  There were more murmurs and questions from the crowd. But nothing else.

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