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The Spell of Undoing – Paul Collins

The first Quentaris series went to 26 exciting titles. Unfortunately, our publisher was bought by an international company who figured 26 titles were enough for one series. This was too good an opportunity to miss. Michael and I needed a new publisher, and who better to do it than Ford Street Publishing?!

A new scenario was devised because we didn't want the "same-old same-old". So we decided that the new series will be fully illustrated and the covers would have a new, fresh look. In Spell I have a disreputable down-at-heel character sneak into Quentaris to undo the city's prosperity. Unfortunately for our poor saboteur, things go horribly wrong and the city (with him in it) gets thrown into a vortex and is set adrift in the rift caves. Let the fun begin ...
Due to a vengeful plot by warlike Tolrush, Quentaris is uprooted -- city, cliff-face, harbour and all -- and hurled into the uncharted rift-maze. Lost and adrift in this endless labyrinth of parallel universes, encountering both friend and foe, the city faces a daunting task. Somehow, Quentaris must forge a new identity and find its way home.

And nothing is ever as easy as it seems ...
Tab didn’t move till the clip-clop of the horse’s hooves faded down the cobbled street. Then, nonchalantly, she strolled down the lane that ran beside the orphanage, pausing to check that no one was watching her. Here at the back of the building, a drainpipe that Tab and the others used when they wanted to go on errands after ‘lights out’ offered easy access to one as nimble as she. Though highly dangerous, certain disreputable people liked to employ the Dung Brigaders as runners at night: it was the only way the youngsters could make any real money.

One more check to make sure the coast was clear, and Tab shinnied up the pipe. With a little persuasion, a window lifted from its latch. Tab slipped though the opening, flinching as the frame creaked alarmingly.

Creeping down the stairs, Tab made for the cellar where she had hidden her silver coins. She’d already made up her mind not to risk going for her other belongings, which were pitifully few in any case. She reached the bottom of the stairs and paused, listening.

Where was Masher Mildon, Mrs Figgin’s trusted rift world custodian? Masher, who was part-troll, hadn’t gone with Mrs Figgin’s party. Which meant he was lurking about the orphanage somewhere. The obnoxious creature, who had gotten his name because he liked ‘mashing’ children’s faces with his gigantic fists, was always spying and reporting back to Mrs Figgin.

‘Wotcha doing?’

Tab’s heart nearly stopped. If she had been thinking clearly she would have acted naturally, as though she had every right to be in the cellar. But no. Masher’s voice came so suddenly, and was so suspicious, that Tab took flight.

‘C’mere!’ roared Masher.

Tab leapt down the stairs three at a time. Behind her, Masher’s rasping breath sounded close but laboured.

‘You little wretch!’ he bellowed.

Tab hit the cellar floor running. She swung around a large boiler. The slab floor was slick. Her feet skidded as though in slow motion and she slid smack bang into a wall.

Dazed, Tab shook her head. Masher slowed, stopping just short of her. Already he was smacking his fist into the palm of his hairy hand. Tab’s insides shrank. She cast about wildly. There was no escape, and the leer on Masher’s face merely reflected that. One entrance — the stairway — was also the exit. In desperation, Tab backed away. Masher advanced. His toothless mouth was wide open and ropy threads of drool dribbled from it.

‘Cop your hiding as is right,’ Masher crooned. ‘You done wrong. Been caught out. Take what’s coming to you. Haw!’

Tab stumbled and fell. Something rattled underneath her. A metal grate. Quick as a flash, she fumbled at it with her fingers. Yes! The sluice pit. She yanked with all her strength. The grate didn’t budge. Masher laughed. Tab relaxed her grip, pushed and jiggled to loosen the grate in its seat, then pulled again. It came up with a slurping sound.

Masher’s grin hardened. He lurched forward.

Tab flung the grate across the floor. It skimmed the flagstones and crunched into Masher’s toes.

‘You li’l horror!’ he screamed, hopping on one foot while he clutched the other.

Tab sucked in her breath and went feet first into the drainpipe.

bullet The Gimlet Eye
Equen Queen
Battle for Quentaris
The Spell of Undoing
Vampires of Quentaris
The Skyflower
The Prisoner of Quentaris
Pirates of Quentaris
The Forgotten Prince
Stars of Quentaris
Stolen Children of Quentaris
Nightmare in Quentaris
The Murderers’ Apprentice
The Cat Dreamer
Princess of Shadows
Rifts Through Quentaris
The Plague of Quentaris
The Mind Master
Treasure Hunters of Q.
The Ancient Hero
Angel Fever
Stones of Quentaris
Dragonlords of Quentaris
Quentaris in Flames
Swords of Quentaris
The Revognase
The Perfect Princess
Slaves of Quentaris
Beneath Quentaris

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