Rated G. Warning: contains mythical creatures such as dragons and mermaids. May be illegal in some jurisdictions.
by Sarah Prineas
The neatly lettered sign hung askew. Shards of glass spilled out from the front window, and scraps of charred paper blew around the front door, which hung crookedly from one hinge. Rafe came closer and, shaking, peered into his shop.
Shredded papers lay everywhere, in drifts on the floor and the worktable. Any representation of human or animal, Rafe knew, had been hacked out and burnt; the hearth was choked with ash and half-charred pages. Across one wall was a splash of vivid vermilion. The other colors had been tipped onto the floor and ground underfoot. Rafe crept further in, shards of the broken window crunching underfoot. With trembling hands, Rafe opened the book.
The bestiary was missing from its wooden stand in the corner. Rafe fell to his knees, pushing tattered papers aside, searching for it. A shard of glass cut his hand, and he left bloody fingerprints on every page that he touched. At last he found the book underneath his worktable, and for a moment his heart leapt; it seemed to be unharmed. With trembling hands, Rafe opened the book. He looked at it for a long moment, then closed it and laid it gently on the floor.
Most of the destruction in the shop had been done by unsubtle thinkers, typical Men of Truth, all brutality and swagger and the knowledge that they were, absolutely and rationally, Right.
But someone else had done the book. Someone subtle, surgical. The pages were nearly untouched. Except that every illuminated picture, every dragon, pard, gryphon, or mermaid, had been carefully and neatly excised.
About the Author
Sarah Prineas is an American fantasy author who lives in Iowa and once worked for the honors program at the University of Iowa. She is married to John Prineas, a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Optical Science and Technology Center at the University of Iowa. They have two children. Prineas is originally from Lyme, Connecticut. She went to college in Minnesota. She has lived in Germany.
Her first novel The Magic Thief was published in 2008 by HarperCollins in the United States. As of June 2008, foreign rights had been sold to thirteen other countries. The sequel, The Magic Thief: Lost came out in 2009 and a third book, The Magic Thief: Found came out in 2010. Before she turned to novels, Prineas wrote fantasy short stories for adult markets. In 2008, she donated her archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.
About the Narrator
Steve Anderson has narrated stories for all three Escape Artists podcasts (including a Parsec Award-winning story for PseudoPod). He narrates audiobooks and produces online videos out of a home studio at SGAcreative.com, and he writes and performs live history programs on tour at GreatTalesLive.com