James Patterson brings the fifth and final book in the bestselling Witch & Wizard saga to a head by exposing the nature of power—and what it means for the heroes that have it.
Whit and Wisty Allgood have fought and defeated their world's most pernicious threats: the evil dictator, The One Who Is The One, as well as his wicked father and son. But just as the heroic witch and wizard start to settle into their new roles in governance, a deadly crime wave grips their city, with all signs pointing to a magical mastermind every bit as powerful and heartless as The One. Now the siblings find themselves persecuted as the city turns against all those who possess magic. They're questioning everything, including each other and their abilities. Can they confront the citizens' growing hostility and their own doubts in time to face the new enemy barreling toward their gates?
Book One | DEMON, BEGONE
THE ALERT COMES IN seconds after I’ve helped a barely conscious Whit into his bed. There’s been another break-in, this one at a theater down by Industry Row.
I pull the covers up to my brother’s chin. “Be safe,” I whisper, “I’ve got to run.”
Whit’s proud of me for signing on as a consultant to the police force—he says I’ll be way better at it than I was as a member of the Council—but right now he clutches my hand. Hard.
“You be safe,” he gasps, and then slips back into his fever dream. It’s a little unnerving.
A dirty kid on the street corner stares in wonder as I climb onto my chromed-out motorcycle and pull back on the throttle. His gray eyes remind me of Pearl’s, and my throat constricts in a flash of pain. I hope the hospital staff lets the Needermans light a candle for her, but after that nasty scene in the operating room, I kind of doubt they will.
I peel out into the street and tear down the main thoroughfare, going way too fast. I want everything that’s bad—Pearl’s death, my brother’s collapse, and the voices demanding that we submit—to get blown away by the wind.
I don’t know why people have started talking about magic like it’s a weapon to be confiscated. Yes, the City’s suffered through more than its share of evil magic: from The One, and the Mountain King, and loathsome Pearce, just to name a few. But who, in the end, stopped the villains? People with good magic. People like my brother and me.
It doesn’t matter to the Normals, though. Supposedly they’ve even developed a procedure that sucks the power out of you like a vacuum. Surrender your gift, they say, and you’ll live a life of peace and quiet and contentment.
Honestly, I can’t imagine anything worse.
I race down a tree-lined avenue, alongside the newly reopened art museum. A half mile past that is the almost-finished new aqueduct, still crawling with workers as busy as ants. But then I careen around a corner and have to screech to a halt, seconds before ramming into an old man carrying a squawking chicken under his arm. It’s market day: the town square is jam-packed with vendors, selling everything from fruit and vegetables to resoled shoes and jerry-rigged bicycles.
I take a deep breath, downshift, and begin to weave my way through the throngs. It’s proof that under the new Council, life’s returning to normal. Our City is healing. The kids kidnapped by the Mountain King are back with their families, and General Bloom, that dough-faced traitor, is in exile.
We had to learn the hard way that adults couldn’t be trusted with City leadership: power corrupted them too easily. By unanimous vote, we banned anyone over nineteen from serving on the Council.
And so far, so good. The market’s hopping, and the nearby central stadium—where we can host everything from foolball matches to rock concerts to benefits for new schools and health centers—is back in business.
Take that, you middle-aged cynics!
A stray dog skitters in front of me, and I swerve to the right, knocking a basket of oranges onto the ground. I don’t have time to stop, so I snap my fingers and the oranges float up, spin around, and deposit themselves back into a neat stack.
The surly vendor shoots me a black look, then makes the sign I’ve seen all too much of lately: two fingers crossed in an X in front of her chest, like she’s warding me off. It’s an ancient gesture, left over from the days when people believed in man-eating goblins and bloodthirsty bogeymen. It means, basically, Demon, begone.
Some people are so rude!
A guard stationed by the fountain raises his baton at me. “Walk the bike,” he hollers.
I pretend not to hear him. It’s not a bicycle—it’s the fastest machine in the entire City, and I’m definitely not going to walk it. But then he plants himself in front of me.
“Turn off the motor,” he says. His eyes are narrow and mean.
“I’m in a hurry,” I tell him. “Police business.”
“Turn off the motor, witch.”
The way he says that word makes it sound like a curse. My skin begins to tingle and flush. No one talks to me like that. Not today—or any day.
“I said turn off—” he begins.
But tongues of fire are licking out of my fingertips.
His eyes widen and he takes an involuntary step back, knocking over the same basket of oranges. The vendor curses, but she can pick up her own damn oranges this time.
“Oh dear, what’s this?” I say, faking total confusion. The ends of my hair have combusted, the red curls turning into the delicious heat of curling flames. “Could I maybe just… scoot by you? Sir? I, uh, seem to be on fire.…”
The guard reaches into his belt—maybe he’s going to call for backup, or maybe he’s going to actually try to handcuff me (as if!)—but I seriously don’t have time for this. So I close my eyes in concentration, and then—fwoop—my bike and I have rematerialized on the other side of him. Still in neutral, I gun the engine until it roars like a mythic beast.
The guard whirls around, reaching out to grab me, but I shift into gear and pull back on the throttle. I focus my power, and, using my own magic and the motorcycle’s absolutely kick-ass engine, I rocket into the sky, shooting over the final six market stalls before landing on the other side of the square, flames following me like the tail of a comet.
Over the engine, I can hear the crowd gasp in awe—or maybe horror. Then I launch a white-hot fireball high over the street, and it explodes into a shower of multicolored sparks.
Submit? Never. I live to burn.
Copyright © 2014 by James Patterson
Read by Spencer Locke and John Glouchevitch