After awhile the moon rose, pale and thin. A dull ache spread up her legs and across her back. Father had destroyed Eleanor and killed Ezekiel. Sooner or later he would destroy
Bartholomew, too. If Dell stayed here, would she become dry and brittle like Auntie? Or like Father, sullen and bitter? She took out her puppet and slipped him on her hand. “Bartholomew,” she said, “we can’t stay here any longer.”

“But there’s no place to go,” he said, “except the City of Cannibals.”

“We’ll find the Brown Boy.”

“The Brown Boy! And what will he do? Fight off the cannibals? Are you mad?” Before he could say another word, she stuffed him in her pocket and hurried back to the cave. Her family had gone to bed, but a few embers still burned in the gray ash of the fire.



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City of Cannibals

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“You will not show yourself to the boy.”
“Yes. I mean, I won’t, Father.”
“Or venture past your mother’s cross.”
He gripped his spoon as if it were a knife.
“You know why it is called the City of

Of course Dell knows. But here on the mountain, all she has is her embittered family—a brother who torments her, an auntie who berates her, and a father who’s a drunk.

And once she arrives in the city—if the cannibals don’t eat her first—surely the Brown Boy will help her. Not that she’s ever spoken to him, but she has seen him leave sacks of supplies for her family. Dell has waited long enough. She escapes to the city.

The City of Cannibals is indeed fraught with dangers and surprises. The Brown Boy, Ronaldo, seems to love the fishmonger’s daughter AND he’s about to become a Benedictine monk. John the Joiner asks Dell whether she’s signed the Oath of Allegiance to the king, and if she will deliver secret letters to the Benedictine monastery. Worrisome messages about sheep and wolves.

Dell has good reason not to sign the Oath. So does Ronaldo. But the king’s command is clear: every subject must sign or die a traitor’s death. If Dell defies the king, can she save herself and Ronaldo?