The Children of the King
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Internationally acclaimed author Sonya Hartnett tells a hauntingly beautiful story set during World War II.
Cecily and Jeremy have been sent to live with their uncle Peregrine in the English countryside, safe from the war, along with a young refugee named May. But when Cecily and May find two mysterious boys hiding in the ruins of a nearby castle, an extraordinary adventure begins.
then, and possibly didn’t hear. But Heloise heard, as did the milliner. “Cecily,” said her mother, “that was uncouth. I didn’t raise you to scream in the street like an urchin.” “It wasn’t me!” “Don’t argue.” Heloise glared steadfastly at a hat. “Just apologise. Cecily.” “Sorry,” Cecily sighed. “Sorry,” May whispered, when Mrs Lockwood turned away. “It’s all right,” said Cecily, and it was all right; it made something better. Fortunately Heloise didn’t like the hats, so they were able to
now, could vitally improve on what had been said. Heloise, who liked silence, nevertheless felt compelled to break this one: “You must be tired, Peregrine.” “A little,” her brother-in-law admitted. “I’m angry,” said Jeremy. “I’m so angry.” His fists were closed, his lovely eyes hard, but he was ignored. Everyone was angry; no one assumed he was angrier than most. Cecily raised her head above the parapet of Byron’s ears. “Will you tell us more about the Duke, Uncle?” “Oh no,” tisked her
this war! We don’t have enough soldiers, we don’t have good aeroplanes, they’re not afraid of us! We need to fight, but we aren’t fighting! We’re not going to win! And when we lose, it will be bad. This isn’t a game between kids. Everything will change. Our whole lives will change. Everything good will disappear and never come back. They hate us. And they’re going to win.” Agony radiated off him — the agony of being insignificant, the agony of a child’s fears. He was terrified, and his mother
come to Peregrine’s face at the end of the story, a shadow of hard disgust. And Cecily didn’t think to ask why May, who, though brave, was just a little girl, would be so eager, even desperate, to talk to a pair of ghosts. By the time the family gathered for dinner, the world was normal again. Rain was falling, which was typical, Heloise and Peregrine spoke, as was their habit, as though they’d only recently met, and Jeremy asked his uncle questions about the land. It was almost as if the war
slide from his fingers to the floor, where it landed with a bump beside its twin. “I knocked on the door, and there was no answer, so I turned the handle and walked in. I expected Father to be at his desk, wearing that expression he always has when we interrupt his work — very cross, but also very pleased, as if he’d been interrupted on the verge of some decision he didn’t want to make. So my face was turned to the desk as I walked into the room. And he wasn’t there — his chair was empty —