Whit and Wisty Allgood have finally triumphed over the evil that has long overshadowed their world with their defeat of The One Who Is The One. Now they move on to their next mission: becoming members of a governing Council that will return the Overworld to a place of creativity, magic, and freedom from persecution.
But it isn't long before the city is threatened from inside and out. The adults on the Council want to control the use of magic in the city, and a fearsome Wizard King threatens war. As Wisty begins a new relationship with an intense and mysterious boy and the pressures of leading the city bear down on them, Whit and Wisty find themselves growing apart. Will they be able to come together to fight the mounting threats that could return their world to the hands of a tyrant?
James Patterson delivers what the fans have been asking for—the story of what happens next—with an epic fourth installment about the heroic teen witch and wizard that have captured our imaginations.
Prologue | DESTINY'S RIDDLE
I CAN’T BELIEVE what I’m witnessing.
You would think it was a riot if you saw us on TV.
Shouts cut through the crisp air. Bodies push and sway. Hands rip at flags and banners, and feet kick in surveillance screens. A great bonfire swallows up the splintered pieces of the destruction.
But no fists are raised, and this isn’t a protest. I’m opening my lungs, but it’s to join the ecstatic voices in celebration: The One Who Is The One, the Overworld’s violent dictator, is dead, and the New Order regime has fallen.
We are free.
Free to listen to music—and it’s pumping through the loudspeakers.
Free to read books. We’re clutching them to our chests.
Free to believe what we want and to say what we feel. Even free to walk the streets without being arrested.
Excitement fizzes through my whole being, and every nerve stands on end as the crowd moves as one toward a vast stage in the center of the capital’s square for the ceremony marking the end of the New Order’s totalitarian regime and the return to a peaceful democracy. I’m grinning in the middle of the sea of people, and I pull my tangled hair back from my face as I jostle for a view.
A man in a smart gray suit takes the stage and taps the microphone. He’s doughy and stern-faced, with his white hair parted severely to the side, and I recognize him as General Matthias Bloom, one of the last holdouts against the New Order in the outer suburbs.
A hush falls as thousands upon thousands of eager eyes gaze up at him.
“My dear, dear friends, today is a new beginning, a beautiful beginning for all of us. And to mark that birth,” his voice booms, “I introduce to you now… your new Council!”
I’m tingly all over, almost like the electricity I feel when my magic is strong, or the awesome rush of adrenaline when I’m performing onstage. It’s like the air itself is buzzing with hope.
General Bloom starts to read off the names of seventeen men and women and seventeen kids our age: the group chosen to restore this place to the way it once was, to the City we loved before The One Who Is The One brutally enforced the madness of his New Order.
“Wisteria Rose Allgood,” he reads, and I can’t help it—tears are streaming down my cheeks as I mount the stone steps, my name echoing through the loudspeakers.
My brother, Whit, is right by my side—and this is why I love him so much—Whit has tears in his eyes, too, and he’s not ashamed. As divided as our City once was, with neighbor killing neighbor and only suspicion to feed us when food was scarce, it’s incredible to be part of the leadership that will bring us back together for something else—something good.
As I stand on that stage, representing all these united voices, the rebel in me can’t resist. I pull a scrap of a banner from my shoulder bag. I spread the crimson fabric open with two arms above my head, and the crowd starts to jeer and yell as the sign of the New Order billows in the wind.
Red means the New Order. Red means the Blood Plague. Red means death.
My brother elbows me—this whole ceremony has been planned out minute by minute, and I’m definitely straying way off script—but there’s a method to my madness, and he knows it.
I concentrate on the buildup of heat in my chest, and flames lick out from my fingertips and climb up the banner, enveloping it in seconds.
The crowd is in a frenzy of cheers and shouts, and I’m up here grinning giddily. By seeing that shock of red blackening to ash, we know that even though we can never get back the things we lost, we have overcome so, so much. And with hands clasped, hearts pounding, and a few deep breaths, we can still do this—we can mold this society into something great.
I’m a part of it, and you’re a part of it.
It’s just the beginning.
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
Read by Spencer Locke, Justin Long,
and Cassandra Morris