In the Palace of the Khans
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A thrilling new adventure for young adults by internationally celebrated and prizewinning author, Peter Dickinson. Nigel's father is the British ambassador in Dirzhan, a small country up among the mountains way out east. It has one foot in the middle ages and one in the age of the internet. Its national myth is called The Vengeance of the Khan. On his first morning there he settles down write his blog. He's off to a good start, invited to visit the Khan's daughter Taeela, a real princess living in a real palace. Her father rules Dirzhan with an iron fist. His people are divided into feuding clans. Half his army is not to be trusted. His palace is riddled with secret passages. Only one old man knows where they run. It isn't long before Nigel and Taeela need his help, to escape from the men who have killed her father, and then make their way through a country in turmoil, find friends up in the mountains and return with a band of followers to those haunted passages so that Taeela can re-enact that ancient myth. The vengeance of the Khan. Here is a rip-roaring adventure story, a world exotic but utterly believable, a cast of fascinating characters. In short, a story by Peter Dickinson at the top of his form.
touch him he was all the time conscious of the pressure of suppressed excitement at his presence. “It’s creepy the way they won’t quite look at you,” said his mother. On the second day the journalists started to show up, trying to interview Nigel, and when they didn’t get anywhere with that just asking people about him. They didn’t get anywhere with that either. One woman spotted him and his mother leaving the market and rushed up with a microphone, but an angry crowd gathered round her before
the sound of it. The doors sighed open and he was bathed in glaring light. He staggered back, blinded. Rough hands grabbed him, hustled him out and flung him on the floor. A man shouted an order, urgent. “I’m English!” he croaked, just managing not to wet himself. “I can’t speak Dirzhani. No Dirzhani.” Silence. Hesitation. The glare vanished, replaced by ordinary electric light. Blinking, he made out soldiers standing above him, staring down. Two guns were pointing at him. He began to reach
direction in which a river runs or the height of a mountain. “You don’t mind?” She shrugged. “My father loves me, and that is enough. He is Dirzhak, and I am Dirzhak. When I am older, we will choose a man for me to marry, but when my father dies I will be Khan.” “Is that possible?” “We will make it possible. There were two Princess Khans in old times. My father has promised me.” She waited for a response, but he couldn’t think of anything to say. Taeela frowned at him, puzzled, concerned.
stocky, muscular figure. Bare-headed, with dark close-cropped hair. His smooth skin was a pale, yellowish brown, and he was wearing a brown winter coat with a lot of pockets. Below that, breeches and stockings. Without obviously posing he stood as if he was confident that people would want to look at him. Of course they would. He was President of Dirzhan, wasn’t he? The other watcher raised an arm and pointed up the hill. The President turned to look. The bearer handed each of them a gun and
“It is the last time I see him,” said Taeela. For a long while she stood there, weeping silently. He himself could hardly see for tears. Then, not letting go of his hand, she wiped her eyes with her other sleeve, closed the picture, clicked on an icon and keyed in a code. A panel opened in the surface of the console, bringing a telephone up with it. He watched which keys she used as she restored the scene in the Great Hall on the monitor and returned to her meal. He fetched the list of numbers