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Authors: Beth Cato

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BOOK: Deep Roots
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“Sir. No. I can't.”

“You can, damn it.”

“No, Captain, I
.” His voice softened. I leaned closer. “After we spoke, I sneaked into the wardrobe boxes and sabotaged both suits. Hers will glide for a while, but the boosters are dead. There's no uplift or steering.”

“Oh, my boy.” I laughed, the sound more like a wheeze through my cold-­clenched throat. “You out-­Daggered the Dagger.”

That accursed box would be buried in some high crest where the snow never melted. Maybe, after a time, the enchantment would dissipate and those captured screams would silence.

It took several minutes of precarious teamwork for us to shut the hatch. The hold secure, all of us near frozen solid, we retreated into the ship. The crew saluted me as we entered the control car. Their grins were grim, with reason. We'd vented a great deal of gas to control our ascent, and now skirted a mere hundred feet over the ground.

Dead ahead, the green-­sliver of Caskentia shone in the weak dawn light. Clouds thickened the sky. A storm was sweeping in from the ocean. If we'd gone all the way to the divide, our fates would have been guaranteed.

“The old gal is mine,” I said to Ramsay at the rudder. “I'll take her down.”

The metal wheel was warm from my co-­pilot's hold. “Crew, it's been an honor to serve with you tonight. If we live past dawn, Caskentia may well hunt for us to find out what transpired here. It may be a sorry life, but—­”

“Pardon, sir,” called the navigator. “It'll be a life.” Grunts around the cabin backed him up.

“Very well,” I said. Sheridan stood beside me, his legs braced. I wanted to order him away from this glass-­and-­steel cage that would likely crumple upon impact, but I knew he'd disobey. Feeling the pressure of my gaze, he glanced over with a small smile.

Oh, God. He trusted me, that we'd survive.

I gripped the wheel harder, willing my thoughts into the

You've been good to us, old gal. I'll do my best to be kind in these next minutes.

The sunlight from astern illuminated the skies ahead in brilliant purple and grey, the sprawling valley below an unreal, verdant green. I smiled. Views like this were why I'd taken to air as a boy, why I rarely stayed aground long.

What a beautiful, perfect dawn to share with my son.



ach of these works has been published individually, and thus has already had an acknowledgments page. To everyone I already thanked—thank you again! This collection wouldn't exist without your support.

I am forever grateful to my agent, Rebecca Strauss at DeFiore and Company. She plucked my query letter out of the slush pile and has made so many of my dreams come true. I haven't stopped dreaming, either.

I will forever be flabbergasted by the Nebula nomination for
Wings of Sorrow and Bone
. I'm deeply honored that readers found it worthy. Thank you; I'd feed you all maple cookies if I could.

Lastly, for my husband Jason, my favorite big dork, who knows when to back away slowly when I'm working and does what he can to get vacation days so I can attend conventions. He knows he'll get lots of cookies, too.



is the author of the fantasy duology
The Clockwork Dagger
, which was nominated for the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and
The Clockwork Crown
, as well as two short stories and a novella in the Clockwork realm. Her novella,
Wings of Sorrow and Bone
, has been nominated for a Nebula Award. Beth writes and bakes cookies in a lair outside of Phoenix, Arizona, which she shares with a hockey-­loving husband, a numbers-­obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

“The Deepest Poison.” Copyright © 2015 by Beth Cato.

“Wings of Sorrow and Bone.” Copyright © 2015 by Beth Cato.

“Final Flight.” Copyright © 2016 by Beth Cato.

. Copyright © 2016 by Beth Cato. All rights reserved under International and Pan-­American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable 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 hereafter invented, without the express written permission of Harper­Collins e-­books. For information, address Harper­Collins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007.

EPub Edition AUGUST 2016 ISBN: 9780062561572

Print Edition ISBN: 9780062561565

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BOOK: Deep Roots
13.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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