Authors: Alister E. McGrath
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #General, #Fiction, #Religious, #Christian, #Social Issues, #Family, #Fantasy, #Fantasy & Magic, #Brothers and Sisters, #Philosophy, #Oxford (England), #Good & Evil, #Siblings, #Values & Virtues, #Good and Evil
The Aedyn Chronicles
Copyright © 2010 by Alister McGrath
Illustrations © 2010 by Wojciech Voytek Nowakowski All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Zondervan.
ePub Edition MARCH 2010 ISBN: 978-0-310-41016-4
Requests for information should be addressed to: Zonderkidz,
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data McGrath, Alister E., 1953-Chosen ones / Alister E. McGrath.
p. cm.—(The Aedyn chronicles ; bk. 1) Summary: When Peter and Julia go to stay with their grandparents in Oxford, England, they discover a mysterious garden, which serves as a portal to a world where they are greeted as the saviors of a people enslaved by evildoers.
[1. Fantasy. 2. Brothers and sisters—Fiction. 3. Good and evil—Fiction.] I.
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Table of Contents
Share Your Thoughts
Ten little ships raced across the sea, seeking
safety from the disaster that engulfed their island.
Men, women, children, and animals looked back in
fear. Beyond the foamy wake of their ships they
could see a plume of smoke and ash rising into the
sky, spreading out against the horizon as it hit the
atmosphere. The flashes of light and sheets of
flame illum inated the ash. Some of the
passengers wept, reduced to tears at the sight of
their homeland’s devastation.
Those in the first ship looked anxiously
towards their leader. Marcus could save them, if
anyone could. He had warned them of a coming
disaster, had urged them to flee. He had
supervised the building of ships and the loading of
provisions for a voyage. Yet nobody really knew
where they were bound
if they had any destination
beyond a watery grave. None of the great sages
had ever spoken of land beyond the southern
horizon. Yet that was the course Marcus had set for
Days passed without any sign of land. Marcus
kept watch at the bow, peering into the emptiness,
trying to conceal his growing anxiety from those
around him. Somewhere ahead there had to be an
an island that appeared on no maps.
Above him the eagles circled, searching for signs
of land. Yet nothing had yet been seen. Marcus
wondered, not for the first time, if he had been
mistaken. But he squared his shoulders and kept
his hardened eyes on the horizon. Everything
depended on him.
nce upon a time an old house stood in the English town of Oxford. It was built close by the ancient city wal s, ivy growing over its stonework and mul ioned windows, and was the sort of place with lots of dark corners and hidden stairways. And in this house lived a professor, his wife, and an old tabby cat.
The professor’s special interest was reading about ancient battles, both at land and at sea. His ramshackle study was fil ed with paintings of famous naval engagements. The professor had never actual y been to sea but rather liked the idea of it, and no one was prouder when his son became a captain in the Royal British Navy. His wife was the cozy, grandmotherly sort of person who specializes in scrumptious teas and biscuits. She had jol y round cheeks and an enormous lap for children to fal into.
On one particular day, not al that long ago, the house was al in a flurry of preparation for the arrival of two special visitors: their grandchildren. Their mother had died not quite a year ago, and with their father off at sea they needed a place to spend the school holidays. The professor’s wife had spent the morning in preparation, airing out sheets and blankets, sweeping floors, and dusting cabinets. The professor had spent the morning choosing interesting books to leave in the spare bedrooms.
For Peter, aged fourteen, he had selected a history of Admiral Nelson’s tactics at the Battle of Trafalgar.
It had been a bit more difficult for him to find a suitable book for Julia, aged thirteen, but final y he chose a fine book on ancient Greek politics and left it on her bedside table. His wife saw it as she placed a vase of freshly cut flowers from the garden by Julia’s bed and hastily replaced it with a copy of
Alice in Wonderland.
The children arrived that evening with al the ordinary bustle that completes a long journey. They were both hugged and kissed nearly to death, relieved of their bags, offered a vast assortment of sweet things, and shown to their rooms. Peter col apsed at once on top of his bed, not even bothering to undress, but Julia wasn’t tired. She washed, changed into a long nightgown and sat on the edge of the bed, brushing her long hair absentmindedly and looking out through her window at a wal ed garden beneath her. She sighed deeply.
Normal y, it had been agreed, she and Peter would be al owed to stay with friends during school breaks when their father was away. But this time their father had shore leave and was coming home to see them. There was something he had to tel them, he’d said in his message. So Julia and Peter had been told to go straight from their boarding schools to the old house in Oxford. Their father would join them there as soon as his ship docked in Plymouth.
Julia would have so much preferred to go to Lucy Honeybourne’s home in Kent. They could have gone swimming together, and maybe even gone shopping in London for a day. She did love her grandparents, but they were so…wel , so old-fashioned. Thank goodness they had final y left her alone for the night. She laid down the brush and leaned back on the pil ow, riffling idly through the pages
of Alice in Wonderland
and listening to her brother’s snores through the wal .
Julia did not real y like Peter very much. He was interested in things that bored her, like machines and gadgets and sport, and since they had both been sent off to school they hardly ever saw each other. But, she admitted to herself, even Peter would be better company than her grandparents.
The thought froze in her head as her eyes and ears fixed themselves on the old ornate door. It was opening, slowly, creaking as a beam of light marched across the floor. But a moment later she relaxed. The old tabby cat had entered her room and leapt onto the bed beside her.
“Why, hel o Scamp!” She lifted him up and tickled him under his chin. Scamp purred appreciatively. Both were glad to have some company. Julia walked to the window, scratching the tabby behind his ears as she went, and looked through the glass at the wal ed garden below, its fountain burbling gently.