• Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
The Cabinet of Wonders - Marie RutkoskiSee larger image
See Hi-Res Jpeg image


email/print EmailPrint

The Cabinet of Wonders



Awards: Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year; An Indie Next Kids' List Great Read; Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers; Publishers Weekly "Flying Start"; Hawaii Nene Book Award Master List; Louisiana YR Choice Book Award Master List; Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List; Utah Beehive Book Award Master List; Utah Children's Book Award Master List; Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List

Recommendations: Booklist; Bulletin-Center Child Books; Chicago Tribune; Horn Book; Publishers Weekly, Starred; School Library Journal


Listen: Audio Excerpt
Loading the player ...
Share this book with friends through your favorite social networking site. Share:           Bookmark and Share
Add this title to your virtual bookshelves at any of these book community sites. Shelve:             
sign up to get updates about this author
add this book's widget
to your site or blog

About The Author

Marie RutkoskiMarie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles. The Cabinet of Wonders was her debut novel and was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of... More

photo: Stephen Scott Gross

Fierce Reads Tour
May 13 - 20, 2014
Meet Anna Banks, Katie Finn, Marie Rutkoski, and Lindsay Smith as they read from their newest novels.

Awards

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
An Indie Next Kids' List Great Read
Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers
Publishers Weekly "Flying Start"
Hawaii Nene Book Award Master List
Louisiana YR Choice Book Award Master List
Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List
Utah Beehive Book Award Master List
Utah Children's Book Award Master List
Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List

Recommendations

Booklist
Bulletin-Center Child Books
Chicago Tribune
Horn Book
Publishers Weekly, Starred
School Library Journal

Stay In Touch

Sign up to recieve information about new releases, author appearances, special offers, all related to you favorite authors and books.

Other Books You Might Like

cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Jewel of the Kalderash
The Kronos Chronicles: Book III

Square Fish
Upon arriving in the Romany homeland to deliver the Mercator Globes, Petra Kronos, Tomik, and Neel formulate a plan to save Petra's father, who has been...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Celestial Globe
The Kronos Chronicles: Book II

Square Fish
When Prince Rodolfo’s monsters attack her, Petra Kronos is spirited away to London. As she struggles to escape, Neel and Tomik sail the high seas in search of...
  Bonus
cover Buy
Shots at Sea
A Houdini & Nate Mystery

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Young Nate Fuller is ready for adventure as he boards the Lusitania, the biggest, grandest ocean liner ever to sail the seas. Nate is hoping to sharpen his...
cover Buy
Holes

Frances Foster Books
10th Anniversary Edition  Louis Sachar received great recognition for his groundbreaking story of Stanley Yelnats – a boy with a history of bad luck. As...
cover Buy
The Boy in the Burning House

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
An Edgar Award Winner Two years after his father's mysterious disappearance, Jim Hawkins is coping -- barely. Underneath, he's frozen in uncertainty and...
cover Buy
The BFG

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
"Well, first of all, " said the BFG, "human beans is not really believing in giants, is they? Human beans is not thinking we exist." Sophie discovers that...
cover Buy
The Shining Company

Sunburst Paperbacks
Life is secure and peaceful for young Prosper, second son of Gerontius, until the day Prince Gorthyn arrives with his hunting party. Prosper's unusual daring...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Runaway Dragon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
When Meg’s dragon, Laddy, flies away from home, she knows she must go on a quest to find him. But she hasn’t counted on her parents, the king and queen of...
  
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
Destroyer Angel
An Anna Pigeon Novel
Anna Pigeon Mysteries

Minotaur Books
Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation—an autumn canoe trip in the to the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
One Way Out
The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band

St. Martin's Press
Now an instant New York Times bestseller, One Way Out is the powerful biography of The Allman Brothers Band, an oral history written with the band’s...
  
cover Buy
Sticker Activity ABC

Priddy Books
Children will love learning the alphabet as the find the stickers, answer the questions, and color the pictures in this fun activity book! Featuring over 100 stickers.

EXCERPT

Prologue

 

The yellow hills rose and fell in sunny tops and valleys. The Bohemian countryside on this August morning looked almost like a golden ocean with huge, swelling waves.

 

A rickety cart was wending its way through a valley. Two men were perched atop the riding seat, watching the sturdy horse as it pulled them along. There was a bundle wrapped in cloth that took up most of the space in the open cart bed behind the men.

One of them, Jarek, held the reins. He coughed. “I should be paid extra for this,” he said. “What a stench.”

“What do you mean?” said Martin, Jarek’s companion. He turned around to look at the bundle.

Jarek saw him do it. “No, not that. Those blasted brassica flowers. They stink fouler than a five-hundred-year-old outhouse.”

“Oh, that,” Martin replied. “They smell sweet to me.”

The yellowness of the hills was caused by thousands of flowers, clustered and thick.

Jarek gagged. “I wouldn’t like to be one of you hill people, working the flower fields. My clothes are going to smell rotten by the time we get back to Prague.”

Too lazy to get offended, Martin leaned back in the cracked leather seat. “Many folks enjoy the smell of brassica. It’s just one of those things you love or hate. Like eating asparagus.”

“Raised with the stink as you were, I’m sure you’re used to it.”

“And remember”—Martin wagged a finger at him, pretending he had not heard Jarek’s last comment—“Bohemia needs those flowers. Bet it’ll be a good harvest this year. Soon the farmers will be out in the fields to collect the seeds and press them into oil. You can grumble like a goat about the scent, but that brassica’s used for all sorts of things.”

The horse took a turn in the dirt road and one of the cart wheels dipped into a large hole, jolting the cart.

The bundle in the back groaned.

“Here now!” Martin craned his neck to scowl at the dark shape. “None of that! You’ll give us a bit of quiet.” He made an impatient sound at the back of his throat. He took off his hat and fanned the sweat on his face. “It’s very hot,” he said, and sighed.

“Yeah,” Jarek drawled, staring ahead.

“Good money, though, this trip.”

“Hmm.” Jarek flapped the reins. “We’re almost there, anyway. Should take us about half an hour.”

“What, have you been here before? I thought you never left Prague. How do you know this area?”

“I don’t.” Jarek shifted in the seat. “But the horse does.”

Martin gave him an odd look. “And she told you how long we’ve got left, did she?”

Jarek laughed, possibly for the first time during the whole trip. “Nah, course not! I was only joking.”

But it seemed like a strange sort of joke.

“Do you know what he did?” Jarek said, jerking his chin toward the bundle, whose breathing had gotten louder and ragged.

Martin was still looking at Jarek suspiciously. “No. Didn’t ask, and that’s the honest truth.”

Jarek nodded. “It’s best that way.”

“The order,” Martin said, “came from the prince himself.”

This was news to Jarek. Learning this detail made him realize that he had been in a dark mood for the past several hours. Realizing this was like suddenly getting a cramp after sitting too long in one position. And, as a matter of fact, Jarek then thought, he did have a cramp in his lower back.

“You didn’t tell me the orders came directly from the prince,” he said.

“You didn’t ask.”

Which was true. Jarek did not ask any questions when Martin, who also took care of the prince’s horses, proposed they make a delivery to the village of Okno (with some of the profit going to Jarek, of course). And Jarek did not ask any questions when two castle menservants met him and Martin in the stables, carrying a man who seemed barely conscious, and whose face was wrapped in a bloody bandage.

“Ah, there we are,” Martin said, pointing his hand at a nest of buildings. The houses and shops began to distinguish themselves, and the dirt path became the main cobblestone road that ran straight through Okno.

The village looked prosperous. There were several stone houses. The wooden ones were in solid condition, often with pretty patterns of different-colored strips of wood decorating the window frames, many of which had real glass set into them. Shop signs advertised goods: leather tack for horses, books, carpentry, glassworks, and cloth. Women walked by in full, unstained skirts. Even a passing stray dog seemed rather fat for an independent creature. The road turned into a small square whose center was marked by a fountain that was well designed, its water bubbling over three tiers of stone.

Martin dug a parchment out of his jerkin pocket and consulted it. “Turn left here.”

 “It doesn’t make any sense,” Jarek mused.

“I am the one with the map, and you should turn left.”

“No, I mean this”—he tilted his head toward the back of the cart—“doesn’t make any sense. What could he have done to deserve that kind of punishment, and get sent home instead of being clapped into the nearest jail cell?”

“Dunno.” Martin waved his hand airily, chasing away a fly. “Maybe he killed someone.”

“Then he would be in prison or executed or both.”

“Maybe he killed the prince’s favorite dog.”

“Then he would be in prison or executed or both.”

Martin laughed.

“All I’m saying is this,” Jarek continued, “if you want to get rid of a weed, you don’t just clip some of its stems and call it a day.” The road they turned down had fewer houses. Ribbons of wind passed between the buildings and through the men’s sweaty hair. “The weed’ll grow back. There’s always the chance for revenge.”

“Him?” Martin laughed again. “Oh, I’m glad I picked you to drive. You’re a funny sort, you are. Weed or no, this fellow’s in no shape for action. Hold on now—” Martin looked at the map again and glanced at a tall, skinny stone house set far apart from the others. As they drew closer, they saw that the ground floor was a shop, its windows crowded with bizarre metal objects, clocks, and tin toys bouncing like grasshoppers. Jarek could not read the words painted over the door, but a sign hanging from the corner of the house showed a many-pointed compass. “Stop here,” Martin said. “This is it.”

Jarek pulled on the reins. His hands settled in his lap, but they still gripped the leather straps. “He may have sons. Angry ones.”

Martin thumped Jarek on the shoulder. “No fear, my friend,” he said, and pointed toward the door, which had opened. In the doorway stood a girl, tall for her age, which was twelve. Underneath a long tangle of brown hair her face was wary. She was dressed in a nightgown, but stood defiantly, as if to say that she knew that wasn’t normal but didn’t care. She stared straight at them. Her eyes were narrowed—but perhaps, Jarek thought, this was because of the sun and not because she already hated them.

Martin leaned to whisper in Jarek’s ear. “As I said, don’t worry. He’s only got her.”

It seemed to Jarek that his backache had gotten worse.

The mare sighed. Then she spoke silently in his mind the way she did with no other human, for she knew none who had Jarek’s gift to understand her. If you were a horse, she told him, you would be used to bearing such unpleasant burdens.

 


Excerpted from THE CABINET OF WONDERS by Marie Rutkoski.
Copyright © 2008 by Marie Rutkoski.
Published in 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

You May Also Be Interested In

cover Buy
Moominland Midwinter
Moomins

Square Fish
Everyone knows that the Moomins sleep through the winter, but this year Moomintroll discovers that winter is worth waking up for after all.
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Fury

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
From the creator of the Escape from Furnace series, a ferocious epic of supernatural terror, perfect for Stephen King fans Imagine if one day, without...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Unforgotten

Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR Paper
Some memories are better left forgotten After a daring escape from the Diotech scientists who created her, Seraphina and Zen believe they are finally safe...