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Picturing a World

Summer Adventure: Susanna Kearsley

10 Great Authors, 10 Unforgettable Adventures. With every “Today’s Adventure” post between August 1 and August 13, you can register to win the featured book and the grand prize of all 10 books. We’ll announce winners on August 14—tomorrow!

You may enter today’s contest by leaving a comment on Susanna’s blog.

Here’s Susanna:

Nicola’s not looking for adventure. But when a client brings a family heirloom—called “the Firebird”—to her gallery to be appraised for sale, she has to help, despite the fact that helping means she’ll have to use the psychic “gifts” she’d rather hide, and call a favor in from an old boyfriend, Rob, whose gifts are even greater than her own.

Using Rob’s abilities to “see” the distant past, they start their search in Scotland for the client’s long-dead ancestor, a little girl they know will one day own that family heirloom. When they find her, she’s in danger.

Anna sat up fully, straightening her back as her own gaze slipped to the colonel and she asked him, ‘Is the devil really on his way here?’
     Colonel Graeme, as he often did, delayed his answer with a question of his own. ‘And do ye fear the devil, Anna?’
     Anna heard again the wicked wailing of the wind, and was not sure. She looked to where her mother and her father stood, and then towards the door that was still blocked by Captain Jamieson and guarded by the colonel, and it seemed to her that nothing could so easily get past those two men and their swords, and suddenly she knew that she was not afraid. Not really.
     So she said as much. And when she asked the colonel, ‘Can your ship outrun him?’ she felt something stir within her, like the thrill at the beginning of a great adventure.

Nicola knows there are risks in following a firebird. In Russian folklore, when a firebird drops a feather, any fool who picks it up and tries to chase the bird itself is in for trouble. But…

A single white feather had snagged on a low clump of blowing grass and withered wildflowers, fighting the wind that was trying to tear it away.
     It was only a gull’s feather, ragged and plain, not a feather of flame from a firebird, but I felt Rob’s amusement before I looked up at him.
     There were those eyes again, daring me, waiting.
     ‘That’s how it begins,’ he said, ‘isn’t it?’
     Hands in his pockets, he patiently watched while I looked down again at the feather. The wind caught its end and it started to lift and on impulse I bent down and reached for it.

So two women in two different times set out on separate quests, connected by a simple carving that—just like the Firebird in the fairy tales—may lead them to a treasure nothing like the one they each set out to find.

Leaving a comment on Susanna’s blog gets you entered to win The Firebird and the other nine stories.

Keep up with the latest adventures and get more chances to win through any of the participating authors: Alison Atlee, Jessica Brockmole, T. J. Brown , Sarah Jio, Susanna Kearsley, Katherine Keenum, Stephanie Lehmann, Kate Noble, Deanna Raybourn, and Lauren Willig.
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