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The Map to Everywhere
By Carrie Ryan
By John Parke Davis
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To Master Thief Fin, an orphan from the murky pirate world of the Khaznot Quay, the Map is the key to finding his mother. To suburban schoolgirl Marrill, it’s her only way home after getting stranded on the Pirate Stream, the magical waterway that connects every world in creation. With the help of a bumbling wizard and his crew, they must scour the many worlds of the Pirate Stream to gather the pieces of the Map to Everywhere–but they aren’t the only ones looking. A sinister figure is hot on their tail, and if they can’t beat his ghostly ship to find the Map, it could mean the destruction of everything they hold dear!
Heart-pounding escapades and a colorful cast of characters will have readers setting sail through this wholly original and unforgettable tale.
Table of Contents
A Sneak Peek of City of Thirst
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The Ghost of Gutterleak Way
Fin crouched behind a rack of bootleg flavors, trying hard to ignore the taste of rat fur and broccoli juice seeping from the grungy bottles. No more than ten minutes before, the owner of the dirty little shop, a nasty, gray-scaled old monster called Sharktooth, had let him in for a quick browse before closing time, then promptly forgotten he existed.
Plenty of people planned for a break-in, Fin thought with a smirk. Not enough planned for a break-out.
Fin kept low as the old swindler locked the shop door—after all, he was forgettable, not invisible—and watched Sharktooth lumber into the next room to go to bed. Then he waited while darkness fell in earnest over the twisted streets of the Khaznot Quay, until the high winds that constantly shrieked down from the mountain to the bay reached their evening pitch.
Finally, it was time to act.
Uncurling himself cautiously, Fin rubbed the feeling back into his legs, then crept past shelves filled with all sorts of secondhand junk to the old display case behind the counter. His prize stood out beneath the smeared glass: a golden gemerald brooch, bright and shiny as the sun. He licked his lips in anticipation.
With one careful finger, Fin found the hidden wires behind the display doors and followed them back to the traps set to protect them: a single handcatcher and a few acid squirts. Standard stuff—disarming these barely counted as practice.
"Pretty soggy, Sharktooth," Fin muttered under his breath as he popped the traps loose and jimmied the lock. "At least give me a workout next time." He grinned as he gripped the handle of the display doors. He'd be in and out before the nasty bafter even hit his pillow.
That thought vanished the moment he pulled the doors open and they let out a screech so loud it practically shredded the air. Fin shuddered. The perfect crime, spoiled by a rusty hinge!
Old Sharktooth burst from his bedroom. "Who's dyin' tonight?" he bellowed, brandishing a heavy cane.
"Shanks!" Fin shouted. He snatched the brooch. Sharktooth lunged. But a good thief moved on instinct, and Fin was the best. The cane whipped through the air just as he leapt to the counter. It smashed into the display, sending shards of glass scattering everywhere.
For a long moment, boy and beast stared at each other, waiting to see who would make the first move. Fin crouched a little, arms out, balanced and braced to run. Sharktooth studied him with eyes like black pits, double rows of jagged teeth gnashing below.
Then, with a growl, Sharktooth charged. Fin faked left, then jumped to the floor and beat feet for the exit. "Too slow!" he yelped as the old monster clattered after him, knocking busted earflutes from their shelves and sending rusty sun-funnels crashing to the ground as he went.
Fin didn't look back. He slammed the door open and burst into the darkness outside. Sharktooth's shop crouched in a short tunnel formed where two buildings had apparently decided to fall into the same alley at the exact same time; there were only two ways out. Fin chose one at random and took off.
"You little skuzzleweed!" Sharktooth cried, charging out after him.
Their footfalls clattered in rhythm against the background wail of the wind. Fin gulped. He knew he could outrace most folks; it came with being chased a lot. But a body didn't get to Sharktooth's level of sleazy without being chased a good bit itself. It was only a matter of time before Fin would go from shark bait to shark chow.
Fortunately, he had a plan for occasions like this. After all, being forgettable had its advantages for a thief. Folks' memories didn't fade quite so quickly when they caught him doing something like, oh, pilfering jewelry from their locked display cases. But one thing was sure in Fin's life: They did fade.
He ducked onto a side street and flattened himself immediately into the nearest doorway. A moment later, Sharktooth careered around the corner, roaring past Fin's hiding place. But after a few feet without sign of his quarry, he slowed to a stop, sniffing the air.
Adopting his most casual stance, Fin slipped up behind Sharktooth and tugged on the swindler's sleeve. "You looking for that girl who just came tearing through here, jangling a necklace?"
Sharktooth whipped toward him. "What? A girl?No…" He trailed off. One hand stroked his rough-scaled chin in thought. The high winds whistled overhead, making the lamplight dance in his jet-black eyes. "Coulda sworn it was a boy.… Got a good look at 'im… but now I think of it, can't quite recall.…"
Fin shrugged, sliding into his routine. "Well, it was a girl that came through here. Dark reddish hair, little shorter than me?"
Sharktooth tilted his head. "Dark hair, yeah, that rings a bell. And she was short.…"
"That's the one!" Fin announced. "Tore through here like a mountain gust, shot right down that alley." He pointed to the row of buildings across from him. "Headed to the Wharfway Warrens, by my reckon."
Sharktooth nodded. "Thanks, kid." A cruel sneer curled back up his lip. "Now, don't count on ever seeing her again," he added menacingly. His cane whipped the night air as he trotted off in the direction Fin had pointed.
"Oh, I won't," Fin chuckled when Sharktooth was out of earshot. He waited a few minutes, until he was more than certain he'd been entirely forgotten. Then he pulled his hand from his pocket. Alongside the gleaming gemerald brooch sat the velvet coin purse he'd lifted from Sharktooth's belt just a moment before.
He ran a thumb over the surface of the brooch. Yet another successful caper for the Master Thief of the Khaznot Quay. He whistled as he sauntered up the street, counting the coins in his newly acquired purse. Turned out Sharktooth had made quite the haul today!
When Fin reached the Nosebleed Heights, where the poor folks' houses clung to the steepest parts of the mountain, he took the sharpest turns down the sheerest lanes until he came to the soggy little bystreet called Gutterleak Way. His destination was the seventeenth house on the right: a rickety, narrow little place hunkered on the edge of a cliff. Atop its two usable stories, a high attic tower swayed in the wind, forever threatening to topple into the bay below.
Fin's steps slowed and his whistling trailed off. No one had left the light on for him, nor the front door unlocked. But it wasn't like he'd expected anything different. This was the only home he'd known since leaving the Orphan Preserve five years ago, when he was barely seven, but no one else knew it. Not even Mr. and Mrs. Parsnickle, who lived there, too.
But he didn't hold it against them.
With the ease of many years of practice, he jumped from the stoop to the storm gutter and shimmied his way along it until he reached the kitchen window. Fin always made sure to keep this one oiled properly, and it slid open without a sound. And just inside sat the old bread tin where the Parsnickles kept their coin.
Carefully, he pried the lid off and looked inside. Then he shook his head. Empty. The Parsnickles were too generous; if he let them, they'd give every last drillet to keep a stranger from missing a meal, and would go hungry themselves for having done it.
Fin tipped the contents of his new purse into the can, then placed the brooch on top. Mrs. Parsnickle had pawned it that very morning to Sharktooth, at a price that was a rip-off even by the swindler's normal standard. Then she'd turned right around and used the money to buy shoes for the six-and-unders at the Orphan Preserve.
Fin didn't feel bad about stealing it back, not for a second. He'd have stolen the world for her, if he could have. After all, that was what he felt like she'd given him, back when he was a six-and-under. Except for his mother, Mrs. Parsnickle was the only person he'd known who'd ever really remembered him, and she'd treated him all the more special because of it. It wasn't her fault she had finally forgotten him, too. Everyone did, eventually.
And besides, he knew she only had eyes for the under-sevens. He figured she'd only remembered him in the first place because she cared so much for the little ones. He'd just gotten too old, that was all.
At least being forgotten came with some advantages, Fin reminded himself with a smile. This was the third time he'd stolen that brooch from Sharktooth this month! Though poor Mrs. Parsnickle really did think she was losing her mind when it kept turning up in her bread tin each time.
Warmth spread through his chest as Fin replaced the tin, closed the window, and scrambled up the gutter to the attic tower, watching out for rotten molding as he went and holding on tight when the wind blew too strong. When he reached the very top, he slipped through a broken window and breathed a sigh of relief. It was good to be home.
Hunched over awkwardly, Fin pawed his way across the familiar mess that littered the floor. Mounds of cloudcatching nets tangled with self-fetching balls, old maps, and all the other junk he'd pilfered over the years but never really used. It was a testament to his thieving skill, and the biggest testament was right where he slept.
Even though there was no one there to see him, Fin produced Sharktooth's empty velvet coin purse with a flourish. "The last one!" he announced, adding it to the mound of velvet coin purses he used for a bed. Then he flopped into them face-first, luxuriating in the triumph of having completed his masterpiece.
It'd only taken three years and 462 picked pockets. The soft fuzz tickled his palms, tingling up his arms, and he didn't even mind when a cockroach skittered out of one of the pouches. He'd grown to like bugs, living in an attic and all. And at least roaches didn't bite, unlike the chitterchomps that had moved into the leather coin purses he used to sleep on.
"It was a good day," he whispered to himself, rolling onto his back. He drifted off to sleep imagining the look of happy surprise on Mrs. Parsnickle's face when she discovered the brooch the next morning.
"BLIXIN' GHOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSTTTTT!" Mr. Parsnickle's shouts filtered up through the loose attic floorboards and hammered into Fin's ears. Outside, the morning wind howled as usual, but even it was no match for Mr. Parsnickle's roaring. This was Fin's morning wake-up call; the old beast had probably noticed the missing cheese Fin had swiped for yesterday's dinner.
Fin rolled carefully off his makeshift bed, sweeping stray purses back onto it as he went. He weaved his way across the attic, crouching to avoid banging his head on the rafters, and pushed aside the sapphire-and-opal statue blocking the trapdoor to the house below. With a muted thump, he dropped into the back of an old closet the Parsnickles had never bothered refinishing (at least, not since the "ghost" had hidden all of Mr. Parsnickle's refinishing tools) and made his way silently down the stairs.
"For goodness' sakes, Arler," Mrs. Parsnickle was saying as Fin reached the hallway to the kitchen, "I've no time for your ghost nonsense! I'm late already, and the sixes will have the fives stuffed into the drying baskets by the bath pool if I don't get there soon."
Fin winced, remembering the stink of that bath pool. At least he didn't have to deal with that anymore.
"The cheese, woman, the cheese!" Mr. Parsnickle yelped from down the hall. "The blixin' ghost moved the cheese!"
Fin snuck closer. In the reflection of a nearby mirror, he caught a glimpse of Mrs. Parsnickle pushing a knot of blue-gray hair into place atop her thin frame, Mr. Parsnickle's huge red face beside her. His thick jowly cheeks quivered around his white tusks.
"Oh, you impossible orc!" Mrs. Parsnickle laughed. Then came the kissing. Fin gagged. Grown-ups were so gross.
He peeked his head around the doorjamb. Mr. Parsnickle rifled through the larder a few feet away, pulling out a loaf of bread and some toadbutter, Fin's least favorite thing ever. Mrs. Parsnickle grabbed a slice, nimbly dodging the dollop of gray ooze Mr. Parsnickle tried to swipe over it, and headed to the door. Fin was just about to slip in and nick the crusty heel when Mrs. Parsnickle hesitated on the threshold.
"Arler?" She bent down and grabbed something from the mildewed wooden stoop. When she stood, she held a carefully folded scrap of white paper pinched between her twiggy fingers.
"Whazzit?" Mr. Parsnickle asked, slathering another hunk of bread in gooey muck. He jammed it halfway into his mouth and peered over her shoulder.
"Looks to be a letter," Mrs. Parsnickle pronounced.
Fin leaned into the kitchen, farther than he ever would normally. Regular Quay folk like the Parsnickles didn't get letters. Once in a while, the Preserve would send a notice via speakfrog, or a parrotboy might bring a message from Mr. Parsnickle's relatives on the Best-Not-Visited Coast. But never an actual letter.
"Let's see here," Mrs. Parsnickle said. Her brow wrinkled as she read. "Seems to be addressed to an 'M Thief.'"
"Master Thief!" Fin blurted before he could stop himself. That was him!
Mr. Parsnickle jumped so hard he hit the ceiling, causing bits of rotting wood and grout to rain down from it. Mrs. Parsnickle clutched the note to her chest, eyes as huge as midsummer moons.
For a moment, no one said anything. Fin tried to will the words back into his mouth. He wondered what he must look like leaning half out of the doorframe, black hair uncombed against his olive skin, clothes dirty from days without so much as a splash in a fountain.
"Vagrant!" Mr. Parsnickle cried, solving the mystery. He snatched a thick-handled broom and swung it over his head like a club.
Fin swallowed, and tried the one thing he knew for sure wouldn't work. "Mrs. Parsnickle?" he whispered. "It's me, Fin?"
Mrs. Parsnickle cocked her head at him. Her eyes narrowed just a bit. He searched her face desperately for a spark of recognition. Her mouth opened, just a little, and hope exploded in his heart.
"I'm s-sorry, young man," she stuttered. "Do I know you?"
Fin sighed as the hope fizzled. Of course not. Mr. Parsnickle pointed the bristles of his broom at him, making a slow sweeping motion toward the door.
Time to go. Again.
He marched, shoulders slumped, through the kitchen. No breakfast for him this morning. But there was something he needed more than a hunk of toadbutter-bathed bread. Just at the threshold, he turned to Mrs. Parsnickle. She looked at him with the same blank stare, tinged with just a touch of fear.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
The corners of her eyes twitched and she frowned. "Breaking into houses is bad manners," she instructed him. Mr. Parsnickle snorted behind her, broom at the ready.
Fin shrugged. "Oh, not for that," he said. "For this!" In one quick motion, he jumped up and snatched the note from her hand.
Mr. Parsnickle roared and swung the broom. It smashed against the floor, missing Fin by inches.
"Shanks!" he cried, already moving. His legs pumped, carrying him out the door and down the narrow street, cobblestones bruising his feet as he went. That had been a close miss.
But the Parsnickles would forget soon enough, and no lock could keep him out. And, most importantly of all, in his hand he clutched the letter. His letter.
The Pirate Ship in the Parking Lot
It's not from a dinosaur," Marrill pronounced. She turned the old weathered bone over in her hand and swiped her damp forehead with the back of her wrist. Three seven-year-old boys stared up at her eagerly. Above, the Arizona sun blazed hot enough to half melt the soles of her sneakers. "I'd say it's most likely cow," she added.
Almost as one, their smiles dropped into frowns.
"But how do you know?" asked the oldest, Tim (or was it Ted?). They all stood in the Hatch triplets' famed archaeological dig, better known as the empty lot at the far edge of their middle-of-nowhere neighborhood.
The triplets had likely come to Marrill because of her experience in these matters. Last year, she'd spent three months on a dig site in Peru with her parents, hunting up the remains of a bird so big it ate horses for snacks. Her dad had written one of his travel essays about it, and her mom's photograph of Marrill holding a beak the size of her head had ended up in the Smithsonian.
"Because it's a bone," she said matter-of-factly. "If it were from a dinosaur, it'd be a fossil by now."
She caught the youngest Hatch, Tom (or was it Tim?), looking at her. His bottom lip stuck out, and his whole face drooped with disappointment. His brothers wore similar expressions.
Marrill felt a twinge of guilt. They'd been imagining a great discovery, and she'd messed it up by bringing in boring reality. It was a feeling she knew all too well. But thanks to her parents' jobs, she normally got to have lots of cool adventures, and she'd be leaving for more any day now. The only adventures the Hatch boys would have were the ones they made up. And now she'd ruined even that.
Studying the bone more closely, she twisted her lips. "Of course, now that I think about it…" She trailed off, then shook her head. "But no, it couldn't be."
"What?" the youngest asked, his face lighting up again.
"Well…" Marrill crouched and scratched at the ground. "When I was in Peru last year, I heard these rumors about dragon remains popping up in all sorts of places. A bone this small would have to be a baby dragon, but…"
The middle one (Tim, she was pretty sure) frowned. "Dragons aren't real."
"That's not what the Peruvian Dragon Research Center thought," Marrill said with a shrug. "Though how anyone can know for sure without looking for the rest of it…" She tossed the bone back to Ted (Tom?) and started toward her great-aunt's house. When she looked over her shoulder, the trio were huddled over the bone, chattering to one another excitedly.
She was still grinning when she turned onto her street. But when the house came into view, her steps faltered. The FOR SALE sign that had stood in the yard for weeks was missing.
Her heart thudded against her chest. They'd been stuck in Phoenix ever since her great-aunt died a few months ago, making Marrill's parents cut short their latest expedition to come deal with her things. And the house was the last piece. Every day, Marrill hoped to find a little white SOLD! plaque hanging on the bottom of the sign. And every day, she was disappointed.
She burst into the house, excitement roaring through her. She didn't even pause to savor the blast of air conditioning. Instead, she raced straight to her room and dove under her bed, pushing aside dropped drawing pencils and half-filled sketchbooks to reach the old shoe box she'd hidden there. She'd been dreaming about this moment all summer. They were finally traveling again, and she had the perfect spot for their next destination!
"We're finally leaving!" she squealed as she tore into the kitchen, box in hand. Her parents sat at the old butcher-block table, stacks of papers spread out in front of them. Marrill's one-eyed cat, Karnelius, sprawled on top of one of the piles, an orange paw batting lazily at a crumpled envelope.
"So when we got here, you told me to be thinking about where to go for your next story," Marrill rattled before her parents could even respond. "Well, guess what? I found the most perfect place!" She upended the box. Glossy pictures, maps, and pamphlets flooded the table.
She lowered her voice like a game-show announcer. "Lady, gentleman, and cat, I give you…" She paused for dramatic effect, then thrust a poster of a girl cradling a one-armed baby chimpanzee into the air. "The Banton Park Live-In Animal Rescue Reserve and Playground Fortress!"
Her parents looked stunned. They could scarcely get out a word. She paused to bask in their wonder. She understood how they felt—she couldn't imagine a better destination herself. Marrill was a sucker for any lost and homeless creature (it was how she'd ended up fostering a two-legged ferret in France, a deaf tree toad in Costa Rica, and a tailless parakeet in Paraguay). The Reserve was an entire island dedicated to nothing but the rehabilitation of animals in need. She was smiling so hard it felt like her face might actually split.
Her father glanced at her mother, who looked down at her hands clutched in her lap. Both of them appeared concerned. Her stomach dropped. Her father cleared his throat.
"Marrill," he said.
She knew that tone. It sounded like sorries, and stern explanations, and all the things she didn't want to hear.
"But wait!" she cried, hoping that if she barreled forward, maybe whatever was about to happen wouldn't. "Observe how all living areas are conveniently located within the park, so at any time of the day or night, you can wander out and find your nearest needy elephant, or kangaroo, or sloth, or giraffe, depending on your preference, all desperate for the love and care only a twelve-year-old girl can give. And let's not forget amenities like the ice-cream machine and waterslides and…"
Her voice trembled and petered into silence. Her parents' expressions looked so pained. She tried to brace herself for whatever was coming.
"Marrill." Her father cleared his throat and adjusted the wire-rim spectacles he'd picked up in a Romanian swap market. "There's something we need to tell you."
He stood and slipped his arm across her shoulders. Then he said the words she'd dreaded hearing for five years. Ever since the last time she'd stood next to a hospital bed, crying and feeling helpless inside.
"Honey, your mother's sick again."
It felt like stepping out into the Arizona sun, scorching her and leaving her breathless. Silence filled the room. Marrill stared at him, then looked to her mother, willing her to contradict him. But she said nothing.
Panic churned in Marrill's stomach. This couldn't happen. Her mom was her best friend, the person she shared everything with. She couldn't take it if her mother was sick again.
Marrill shook her head. "No," she whispered. Her father's arm slipped from her shoulders and dropped to his side limply as she pulled away from him.
But as she stared at her mother, she could see it. A little less color in her cheeks, a little thinner in the lips. Her movements more guarded and cautious. Even her bowl of cereal from this morning sat untouched by the kitchen sink. All the clues had been there, but Marrill hadn't noticed. She hadn't wanted to notice.
She spun around, pressing her hands against her face as if that could somehow stop all her fear and pain from spilling out. She hated the way she was feeling. She hated not knowing what to say, what to do.
"I'll be okay, Petal." Her mother stood and came around the table to pull Marrill into a fierce hug. Instantly, everything unique about her mom enveloped Marrill: the sound of her voice, the way she smelled, the pattern of her breathing. All the things Marrill had known from the instant she was born, the things that were as much a part of her as her DNA.
"It's just another flare-up," her mother explained, her lips against Marrill's hair. "We'll need to be near a doctor for a while, is all." She pulled back, meeting Marrill's eyes. "I'll get better and we can hit the road again. I promise."
"But I don't understand," Marrill said, trying to make sense of what was going on. "The 'For Sale' sign is gone. That means we're moving, right?"
Her father cleared his throat. "It means we're staying. We're going to keep the house. It's ours now."
Something tight coiled in Marrill's chest. She fought to keep her breathing steady, but it was difficult as her heart began to drum against her ribs. Her mother had suffered flare-ups before, ever since the hospitalization five years ago. But those had only meant slowing down a bit, not stopping.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's BookA Booklist Editors' Choice
A Chicago Public Library Best Book
A Junior Library Guild Selection
- * "Ryan and Davis' swashbuckling quest features fantastic world building, gnarly creatures, and a villain who is both spooky and formidable.... The unique details, expert plotting, charming characters, and comic interludes combine in a tantalizing read."—Booklist, starred review
- * "Wholly original.... This is an ambitious undertaking, and strong readers who enjoy adventure fiction and fantasy will inhale the first book in what has the potential to be an extraordinary series."—School Library Journal, starred review
- * "Vividly cast.... Multifaceted characters, high stakes, imaginative magic, and hints of hidden twists and complexities to come."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
- * "Fast-paced and imaginative, this adventure combines action with whimsy, injecting emotion and pathos into an otherwise lighthearted romp. It's a strong start for what promises to be a highly enjoyable series."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
- On Sale
- Sep 8, 2015
- Page Count
- 464 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers