Sports Roderick Townley Into the Labyrinth

ISBN 13: 9780689846151

Into the Labyrinth

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9780689846151: Into the Labyrinth

What a relief when the old story-book is republished and the characters who live inside it suddenly discover they have Readers again -- lots of Readers!Princess Sylvie finds herself rushing to get to her place whenever a new Reader -- whether in Boston or Bangkok -- opens the book. Her mother, the queen, is especially frazzled when the popular story is loaded onto the Web, a weightless, virtual world of unforeseen challenges. To cope with the stress, Sylvie convinces the Writer to add a new character, who gives yoga instruction to the storybook's cast in those moments when they have time off. But stress proves the least of their problems as strange things start happening -- words get changed around, scenes disappear -- and Sylvie and her friends must launch themselves into the labyrinth of cyberspace to confront a twenty-first-century evil that threatens to destroy their world.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Roderick Townley's first book about Sylvie, The Great Good Thing, was a Top-Ten Book Sense Pick, praised by Kirkus Reviews as "utterly winning...a book beloved from the first page." Its sequel, Into the Labyrinth, was hailed by the New York Times as "a hopping fine read." The present volume completes the Sylvie cycle.

Mr. Townley has also published the novel Sky, described by VOYA as "one hell of a book," as well as volumes of poetry, nonfiction, and literary criticism. He has two children, Jesse and Grace, and is married to author Wyatt Townley.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

"She's about to jump!" shouted Riggeloff.

"Cree! Skricket!" cried the thieves, as they turned into insects.

"You're twelve years old," intoned the queen. "It's time to think of marriage!"

The voices echoed all around her, till sometimes the girl wanted to put her hands over her ears. Still, it was a delicious noise. Sylvie had an amazing life, and she got to live it dozens of times a day, now that the book she lived in was back in print.

Her life, in print again! For years, there had been one known copy of her story, and it sat on a shelf in the second-floor bedroom of an old house. But now, through what seemed a miracle, the book was republished, and Sylvie suddenly found herself in living rooms and waiting rooms, apartments, bus stations, and the windows of bookstores.

Whatever a bookstore was. As far as she knew, The Great Good Thing was the only book in the world. Readers appeared above her with great regularity, their enormous faces peering down into her storybook world of villains and ladies-in-waiting, of spells and narrow escapes. The idea that they might also peer down into other stories never occurred to her. And if it hadn't occurred to her, it would never occur to her parents, king and queen of the realm, whose imaginations were limited to the words written for them. Finally it was Norbert Fangl, her tutor, who broke the news as they strolled one night by the Mere of Remind. A bony old fellow with sadly smiling eyes, Fangl was almost the only character in the story who was based on an actual person. In life he had been a geometry teacher, and he seemed to know everything, or could figure it out. Still, Sylvie didn't want to believe him.

"Does it disturb you, Princess," he said, "to think there might be other books?"

Sylvie thought. "It does. It's like being told there are other suns in the sky."

"There are other suns in the sky. Millions of them."

Sylvie laughed, her young cheeks bunching up. "Now you're making fun of me, Fangl."

He smiled kindly. "Am I going too fast?"

"You're not going fast, you're just talking silly."

"I'm sure you're right, Your Highness."

They continued along the curve of the shore, Sylvie doing a happy skip and not caring that mud was splashing her shoes. Tired though she was, she liked these midnight walks, when most Readers were asleep and the characters had time to themselves. The moon, always full, cast lines of wiggling silver over the water. Across the inlet lay the castle grounds with their woods and moonlit paths, and beyond them the dark turrets of the great structure itself. The distant moat gleamed weakly, sheeted with lilies, while over the whole scene drifted the delicious scent of newly printed pages.

"Although if there are other stories," said Sylvie, picking up the thread, "I'd like to know how the people in them deal with all these Readers. I hardly have time to catch my breath!"

"Most books are not as popular as The Great Good Thing."

"Really?" Sylvie felt pleased by the thought. "Really?" she said again. Her green eyes sparkled.

Just then a nearby bullfrog began a loud croaking. "Oooopen!" it belched. "Booook oopen!"

"Isn't it a little late for people to be reading?" said Sylvie with a little puff of a sigh. "Oh well." She gave her tutor a quick wave and hurried toward page 5 of the new edition, where her dialogue with the king began.

"Skraawk!" cried an orange-and-white bird, taking off from a rock. "Reader!"

"I know, I know!" cried Princess Sylvie, racing down the narrow white path between lines of words. She arrived, panting a little, just as the moon and several clouds lifted away and a boy's face appeared overhead, backlit by a reading lamp.

"Father," Sylvie declared in a firm voice, "I cannot marry Prince Riggeloff."

The king's crown was crooked and he had a cross look on his face. Evidently, he'd been napping in the anteroom. "Not marry Riggeloff?" he grumped. "For Heaven's sake, child, he is handsome, rich..."

"Kind, brave," continued Princess Sylvie. "Yes, I am aware of his qualities."

So it went, Sylvie refusing to marry before she did one "great good thing" with her life, Prince Riggeloff's bitter reaction, his thieves' stealing the castle treasure, the invisible fish saving Sylvie when she leapt from the cliff, the horrid-looking Keeper of the Cave urging the princess to kiss the wound on his forehead. Fortunately, the Reader yawned loudly and let the book close before the start of Part Three. Part Three was the most demanding section of all.

The moon came back on again, full as ever.

"Who on Earth was that?" snapped Pingree the Jester, a short, spindly fellow with a face like a walnut.

"A sixth-grader, I believe," said Norbert Fangl, "from a place called Kansas."

"Don't they sleep in Kansas?"

"Just wait," replied Fangl. "When the Japanese translation is finished, we'll have Readers all through the night."

"Don't they sleep?"

"Difference in time zones. They sleep when other Readers are awake. It's fourteen hours later there."

Fangl noticed the other characters were staring at him. "It's simple, really. You see, the curve of the Earth..."

"Oh joy!" muttered Pingree. He swatted his jingling cap against his leg and set it at an angle on his head.

"We'll get no rest at all!" the queen faintly wailed.

Fangl looked about him in surprise.

Sylvie whispered, "I'm not sure you should have brought up all that about translations. Now they've got something else to worry about."

"Good thing I didn't mention the Urdu and Icelandic."

"Are we going to have to learn all those languages?"

"It seems not. You're already in several European languages and no one seems to have noticed."

"We are?"

"You think in whatever language you're written in."

"Fangl, you are full of surprises."

"Um, excuse me, old fellow," said King Walther, draping an arm around the old teacher's shoulder and drawing him aside. He gnawed on the end of his mustache, as he always did when he fretted. "Explain to me again about this time-zone business."

Slowly the characters drifted off, each in his own direction, to get a little rest before the day began and new Readers opened the book.

"Sylvie," hissed Queen Emmeline, when they were alone.

"Mother, are you all right? Your eyebrow is twitching."

The queen, she noticed, was wearing more makeup these days, to disguise her lack of sleep. "You've got to talk with the Writer. Get her to do something!"

"What's the matter?"

"The matter?" The queen closed her eyes and shook her head a fraction of an inch. "This jumping up and down every five minutes, that's what's the matter."

Sylvie put a calming hand on her mother's arm. "I know we've been pretty busy lately."

"Busy! My dear, a queen likes to sit on her throne and reign, not scamper about like a...like a...whatnot!" She picked up her little brown-and-white Chihuahua and patted its head. "Even Lulu is nervous."

"Lulu is always nervous."

"Yesterday she barked through my whole scene by the drawbridge."

"I'll see if I can talk to the Writer."

"If you do see her," the queen went on, "ask if she can do something about this awful gown. I don't know what's wrong with it; it just hangs on me."

"You've lost weight, Mother."

The queen raised an eyebrow doubtfully, then glanced in the looking glass at the trailing gown of green silk. "Do you suppose?"

"It's obvious."

"I've never lost an ounce before."

"You've never been so busy before. You should see Prince Riggeloff. With all his racing around, he's practically swimming in his clothes."

The queen considered this. "I was wondering what was different about him. He's always looked so snappy."

"It's hard to be snappy when you're tripping over your cape."

The queen gave one of her rare smiles. "He did trip, didn't he?"

"I'll talk to the Writer," continued Sylvie, "if I can get her attention."

"Thank you, child."

"Try to rest. Things will be starting up soon."

Queen Emmeline nodded, but she wasn't listening. She was looking in the mirror. "I can see why you're the heroine," she said, in better spirits. "You always see the bright side. And those lines of dialogue! I could never manage saying all that."

"You get used to it."

"I'm too old to get used to it." Cradling the squirming dog, she glided off to her chambers. Princess Sylvie watched her go. She'd promised that she'd speak to Lily -- that was the Writer's name -- but meetings weren't easy to arrange. You couldn't just tilt your head back and shout. She had to wait till Lily had a dream that Sylvie could be part of. That happened less and less frequently, and Sylvie found it wise to make a list of things to bring up when they happened to be together.

"Mother frazzled," she scribbled. "Can she have fewer lines?" Then she wrote, "Alterations?" and slid the note into the pocket of her velvet dress.

The person she really wanted to talk to was the girl with the dark blue eyes. She always knew what to do. She might not be a whiz at logic, like Fangl, but she just knew things. Even the king consulted her. Where was she?

Sylvie stood fingering the gold locket that the girl had given her long ago. The princess clicked it open. There was her friend: the bright, almond-shaped face looking as if it could barely contain a secret, the suggestion of a smile playing about her small mouth. And those eyes, dark blue, undecided between mischief and mystery. Sylvie snapped the locket shut, absentmindedly rubbing the gold S on the lid.

The next day was busier than ever. It started with a librarian in Cleveland reading through most of Part One faster than Sylvie had ever known Readers could read. Whoever librarians were, they sure could zip through a book! The characters kept up as best they could, but the king's knights were sweating as they raced around in heavy armor pursuing Riggeloff and his thieves. In the midst of this madness, a very young girl in Maine opened the book with soft fingers and began sounding out the words of Chapter One: "'Father,' said Princess Sylvie, 'I cannot marry Prince Rig. Rigga.' Mommy, what's this word?"

At about the same time, a boy waiting for a school bus in Hackensack, New Jersey, fished the book out of his backpack and started reading where he'd left off the night before. Unfortunately, it was raining in Hackensack that morning, and cold droplets kept plunking down in the bedchamber during Queen Emmeline's scene with Sylvie. Finally the school bus pulled up and the book was shoved in the backpack.

"Sylvie," the queen hissed, "you've got to talk to the Writer!"

"First chance I get, Mother."

"It's not just me. Everyone's miserable. We can't keep up this pace."

"I know, Mother."

"How can you be so cheery?"

"I guess I'm just happy to have a book to live in again. There were all those years when we didn't."

"I hardly remember. That time is vague to me."

Sylvie looked at her mother with surprise. It was all so vivid. "Surely you remember when that boy Ricky set fire to the book we were living in."

Queen Emmeline frowned and nodded. "I think so," she said slowly.

"Ricky. Claire's brother Ricky. He was trying to make the pages look old by burning the edges, but then the whole book caught fire."

"That's right, and we escaped somehow."

"We escaped into his sister's memory."

"Was she that unattractive little girl?"

"Claire was a wonderful friend and she saved us. I would never call her unattractive."

"My dear, she had a very wide mouth and mousy little curls."

"She kept us in her memory for years when we had no book to live in. And when she grew up, she told our story to her daughter, Lily."

"I'm not saying she wasn't a fine person."

"And when Lily grew up -- "

"She wrote it down, yes. And here we are."

"Yes, Mother, here we are."

"A fine kettle of fish!"

Sylvie sighed. "Would you prefer the old days, when there was only one copy of the book and no one read us for ages at a time?"

"Much."

"Really?"

"Much-much-much."

Sylvie sighed. "Well, I'll talk to the Writer when I see her. Maybe she can cut back on your lines. But I can't promise."

As luck had it, Sylvie ran into the Writer that very night. Lily was not dreaming about the book exactly, but about something called a "talk show," which was to take place in a few days. From what Sylvie gathered from the dream, Lily was scheduled to discuss The Great Good Thing and how she had first heard the story from her mother, who had read it in a book her grandmother had owned decades before. Lily was always careful not to take credit for coming up with the plot.

Still, Lily admitted, it was gratifying to have an actual book in print and to see her own name on it. The money made a welcome change, too. Lily was able to buy a new computer to write on, and she immediately got herself hooked up to the Internet.

In the dream, Lily, looking pretty in a maroon pants suit and cream-colored blouse, was talking with a chuckling fellow with an upturned chin and his hair in a big, graying pompadour. The place didn't look a thing like the castle; there was not a turret or unicorn tapestry in sight. Instead of thrones, three chairs and a desk stood on a carpeted stage. Instead of armor, strange machines glided silently about, pointing first at the pleasant man with the puffy hair, then at Lily. This was one of Lily's Nervous Dreams, Sylvie realized, noticing numbers of brown mice nibbling at the gold fringe of the curtain and scooting along the backs of the chairs. One of the mice crept across the man's desk and stood on its hind legs to peer into his coffee cup.

When Lily was having one of her Nervous Dreams, you could never tell what might happen. Still, the man kept smiling. He spoke right at one of the gliding machines, and then leaned toward Lily confidingly.

"I just loved your invisible fish!" He chuckled and shook his head. "How did you come up with that one?"

Lily was smiling, but Sylvie saw the alarm in her eyes. "I didn't. Really!" A mouse poked its nose out of the sleeve of her blouse. Another crept up her neck. "That was just part of the story my mother told me." An electric saw backstage began screaming so loudly Lily couldn't hear herself speak.

"Look," she shouted over the hubbub, "here's Princess Sylvie now. She'll tell you!"

That was Sylvie's cue. A young assistant gave her a gentle shove, and she stepped onto the brightly lit platform while applause welled up around her. Sylvie was used to dreams, having appeared in enough of them in the past, so she threw herself into the part, happy to help Lily out, and especially happy to say lines that hadn't been pre-written for her. The sound of ...

"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

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