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The Nine Pound Hammer

Cover of The Nine Pound Hammer

The Nine Pound Hammer

The Clockwork Dark Series, Book 1
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What if John Henry had a son?Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the...
What if John Henry had a son?Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the...
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Description-
  • What if John Henry had a son?

    Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the American South and falls in with a medicine show train and its stable of sideshow performers. The performers turn out to be heroes, defenders of the wild, including the son of John Henry. They are hiding the last of the mythical Swamp Sirens from an ancient evil known as the Gog. Why the Gog wants the Siren, they can’t be sure, but they know it has something to do with rebuilding a monstrous machine that John Henry gave his life destroying years before, a machine that will allow the Gog to control the will of men and spread darkness throughout the world.


    From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpts-
  • From the book

    He was being hunted.

    The man sank to his knees in black water. The night air pulsed with the reverberations of a multitude of insects, punctuated by bullfrog croaks and the occasional splash of something leaving the muddy banks for the safety of the swamp water.

    Before him, two others struggled through the marsh.

    "Go!" he cried. Dragging his legs through the muck, he pulled himself up on cypress knees to the slippery embankment. Free of the mire, he ran. The palmettos and spiny bracken tore his trousers as he ripped away low-hanging limbs and spirals of Spanish moss.

    Some distance behind, a hound bayed.

    The other two stopped before a large pond. One was a girl with wide eyes, as fierce as lightning flashes. Scratches crisscrossed her pale arms, and a gash on her cheek bled freely. Her lips trembled. By her side stood a man with long dark hair streaked with silver; it fell about his face and covered his eyes. He held the girl's arm with one hand.

    In the other he held a sparkling silver pistol.

    The girl pulled toward the pond.

    "No," the gunman said. "We need another way."

    "But . . . the hound!" she cried.

    As if in answer, a roar erupted from the dark, shaking the trees around them and silencing the buzzing chorus of insects and frogs. An icy breeze pushed back their hair as their damp clothes grew crisp.

    "Go around," the man said. "Follow the pond's edge to the north and there's a crossing."

    The gunman nodded and urged the girl forward. As the two disappeared into the brush, another roar tore through the trees, felling limbs and flattening shrubs. The moisture in the marshy earth froze, pushing to the surface in splinters of ice. At his back, the man heard the cracking of ice forming at the edge of the pond. He removed his straw hat and dropped it to the ground.

    With a snort of cold air, an enormous muzzle broke through the trees. Slowly the hound stepped out. More massive than a bull, it was seven feet at the shoulder. Its jaws were huge. Each tooth was as long as a hunting knife. Its dark metallic eyes were set deep into bone-white fur, tufted and spiked with frost. The groaning and whining of gears churned from beneath its flesh.

    The man faced the monstrous hound as it snarled and leaped forward.

    Ray jerked awake. The voices of the other orphans chirped over the rattle of the train. He was in the passenger car, Mister Grevol's exquisite passenger car, with his sister, Sally, napping at his side.

    Ray settled back onto the soft velvet bench and opened his hand. On his sweaty palm lay the lodestone. He hadn't meant to nod off with it in his hand. He knew better.

    Pushing the lodestone into his pocket, Ray craned his neck to scan the passenger car for Miss Corey. She was still not back.

    Miss Corey had given the orphans an extensive list of rules, instructions, and threats the morning before Ray and Sally and the other seventeen children boarded the beautiful, dark train with its powerful ten-wheeler locomotive:

    "Mister G. Octavius Grevol is a highly respected industrialist," Miss Corey had warbled. "He has generously allowed us passage on his personal train. I expect you"--she had looked directly at Ray, who at twelve was the oldest of the orphans--"to be well-behaved, well-mannered, and to remain at all times in the passenger car designated for our use."

    But Ray had never been very good at listening to rules, instructions, or threats. He had decisions to make and needed someplace quiet to think. As he stood, he glanced down at Sally. With her hands pillowing her dirty cheek on the upholstered bench and her tattered boots kicked up against...

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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Nine Pound Hammer
The Nine Pound Hammer
The Clockwork Dark Series, Book 1
John Claude Bemis
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The Clockwork Dark Series, Book 1
John Claude Bemis
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