Terry Deary The Fire Thief Fights Back

ISBN 13: 9780753459706

The Fire Thief Fights Back

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9780753459706: The Fire Thief Fights Back

Sam and his mother are swindling the people of Eden City with their medicine
show, selling "miracle" cures to their gullible audiences. When their ruse is
rumbled and the Eden City residents go after them, Prometheus steps in to help out. Meanwhile, they find an unlikely ally in Zeus—who helps get them out of their predicament, but not without a cost. In exchange, he wants Sam and Prometheus to help settle a score with the monsters of Greek mythology. The Fire Thief trilogy builds to a spectacular showdown between the Greek gods and a whole crew of mythical monsters—with plenty of action and Terry Deary's unique humor along the way. Readers are in for an unexpected and memorable climax.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Terry Deary is the author of over 160 books. He writes both fiction and
nonfiction to much acclaim and has a hand in the television, theater, and
radio worlds as well. His Horrible History series has sold twenty million
copies worldwide, and his books have been translated into twenty-eight
languages. Deary has won numerous awards, including Blue Peter's Best
Nonfiction Author of the Century in the United Kingdom. He was named
a Doctor of Education by Sunderland University. For more information
please visit www.terry-deary.net.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One


Ancient Greece—But I'm not sure when


The first part of my tale is from a book of legends. "Ha!" you say. "Legends
are just old lies. I want to know the TRUTH." Well, I have met one of the
legends, and I know that HIS story is true. So why shouldn't the other
legends be true? Anyway, it's the only way we can explain what happened to
me when I was a young boy. And THAT was true, because I was there at the
time. SO let's start with ancient Greece, and stop interrupting me with your
moaning about the "truth," will you?


"What do you want, fat face?" the young god asked. He wore a winged
helmet and had wings on his sandals. He carried a rod with a snake wrapped
around it. Even the snake looked shocked.


"You can't sss-speak to your mother like that, Hermes!"


"Oh, go shed your skin, you rattail of a reptile," Hermes replied and polished
his nails on his white tunic.


"You'll be sss-sorry you sss-said that," the snake hissed. A goddess lay on
a golden couch and scowled at the winged god. She was so beautiful that
you could hardly bear to look at her. Her dark hair fell in a curling cloud over
her shoulders, yet she never used curlers and hardly ever had to dye it.
If you could bear to look at her, you'd have seen her face turn red with rage
and her lips pull back tightly over her gleaming teeth. (And she never had to
go to the dentist.) Somehow she controlled her temper.


"I am Hera, queen of the gods, wife to the mighty Zeus, and ruler of the world.
Speak to me like that, and I will punish you like no god has ever been
punished, Hermes."


He blew on his nails and gave a warm smile. "Oh, knock it off, Mom. You
won't punish your dear little Hermes."


"Why not?" she spat.


"Because you need me! I am the messenger of the gods. If you didn't have
me to run errands, you'd be tramping from here to the Caucasus Mountains,
from Troy to Atlantis, just to make mischief."


She narrowed her eyes. "Mischief?"


"Yes. You know you like to go around making trouble, because you get
bored, don't you, Mom?"


She raised her beautiful chin and looked through the window of the marble
palace to the lake below and the mountains beyond. "Mischief is my job. It's
what gods do."


Hermes walked across the shining marble floor, his winged sandals fluttering.
He leaned over the goddess. "Anyway, you must want something or you
wouldn't have called for me."


"Maybe."


"Oh, come on. What is it? You want me to kidnap some human maiden
who's caught Zeus's eye? It wouldn't be the first time."


Hera glared at him, and then her face became softer and almost tearful. Her
voice was low. "It's more serious than that, Hermes. Zeus is gone."


The winged god threw back his head and laughed. "Gone? So? He's always
off somewhere, the old goat. He'll be back. He always comes back to
Olympus."


Hera blinked away a tear. "Not this time, Hermes. Not this time."
She looked around to make sure that there were no servants watching and
reached underneath the couch. She pulled out a scroll of yellow parchment
and unrolled it carefully. Hermes peered at it. There was a message there,
but not in the usual stylus and ink.


"What's this?" Hermes asked. Even the snake stretched its neck to look.


Hera explained. "Someone has taken another scroll, cut out the letters, and
stuck them onto the parchment."


"They've ruined the scroll!" Hermes said and sighed.


Hera shook her head. "What has that got to do with anything, idiot boy? The
point is that they sent this message."


"But why didn't they just write it?" Hermes asked.


"Because they didn't want us to know who sent it!" Hera said wisely.


Hermes nodded and read the message:


"Dear Hera,
I have captured Zeus. I cut out the tendons in his wrists and knees. He
cannot run. He cannot throw his thunderbolts. He is helpless. He is a
prisoner in Delphyne's cave. I will not tell you where he is unless you bring
me his crown so that I can rule the world. You have until sunset to obey, or
Zeus will lose an eye, an arm, or a leg every day till, on the last day, he
loses his head. I mean it. The crown, or your hubby gets it . . . and I don't
mean a vacation in Crete.
Your sincerely,
The secret kidnapper—Typhon"


Hermes turned as pale as his feathers. "The Typhon? The most hideous
creature in the whole world! And now he's going to rule the world."


"Not if you set Zeus free," Hera said softly.


"Not if I set Zeus free," Hermes agreed. Then he swallowed hard. "ME!" he
squawked. "This is a job for a hero—Hercules or Prometheus. Someone who
doesn't mind being blasted by a hundred dragon breaths. I'm a messenger,
Mom! Why should I go? Why can't someone else rescue Zeus?"


Hera grabbed her son by the front of his tunic. "Keep your voice down. Listen.
Everybody hates Zeus . . ."


"Well, I wouldn't say everybody, Mom. I know you do . . ."


"If Hades in the underworld gets to hear about this, he'll be up here like one of
your father's thunderbolts. He's always wanted to rule Earth. And Poseidon
down in the sea would leap like a dolphin at the chance. We've already had
to defeat the revolt of the giants . . ."


"Ugly brutes," Hermes agreed. "Their mother, Gaia, was furious!"


Hera nodded her head quickly. "And that's why Gaia created the Typhon—for
revenge." She shook the letter under Hermes's nose. "This is it."


"But you still aren't saying why I have to go after the Typhon, Mom. He's a
monster."


"He's half human." Hera shrugged.


"Oh, yes!" Hermes squawked. "It's not the human half that I'm worried about!
It's the half that has a hundred fire-breathing dragon heads under his arms
and the serpents that are wrapped around his legs!"


"Nothing wrong with sss-serpents," Hermes's snake hissed.


"There is when they can stretch out as high as his head—and he's as tall as
this palace!" Hermes moaned.


"Sss-sorry, I'm sss-sure!"


"Every one of those dragon heads spits fire," Hera explained. "He can heat
rocks with his breath and throw them at you."


The snake sighed. "I can't do that."


Hera turned to Hermes. "You are the only one I can trust. If Poseidon or
Hades takes over Olympus, they'll destroy you."


"Me? What have I ever done? I'm only a poor little messenger of the gods. I
never did anyone any harm. Not one single god," Hermes whimpered.


"You are the son of Zeus, and that is enough," Hera explained. "They will
crush you—or shut you down in Hades's underworld forever."


Hermes shuddered. "But how can a little old feathered fool like me beat a
serpent-snapping, fire-frizzling fiend like the Typhon?"


Hera lay back and thought. "First you have to find your father . . ."


"But the Typhon says in the letter that he won't tell where Zeus is hidden."


"The letter also says that Zeus is a prisoner in Delphyne's cave. The Typhon
isn't very bright."


Hermes looked miserable. "Are there no heroes brave enough to fight the
Typhon? Someone who could battle with the monster while I sneak inside the
cave?"


Hera shook her head. "When the Typhon first appeared, the gods all fled to
Egypt or disguised themselves as animals."


"Chickens," Hermes mumbled.


"Yes, chickens—or rabbits or ducks," Hera agreed. "Only Prometheus would
have been brave enough to tackle the Typhon."


"Even Prometheus is hiding," Hermes said with a sigh.


"Ah, but he's not hiding from the Typhon," Hera said. "He stole fire from the
gods and gave it to the humans. He is being hunted by the eagle-winged
Avenger."


"Can't we bring him back? Offer to pardon him if he rescues Zeus?"


Hera shook her head. "He's traveled through time—he's thousands of years
into the future. If the Avenger can't find him, then we have no chance. Only
Zeus could track down Prometheus . . . and Zeus is a prisoner of the Typhon.
It's your job. You're Zeus's son."


Hermes puffed out his cheeks and blew. "And a son's got to do what a son's
got to do. I'll go and get my maps," he said and fluttered sadly out of the
great marble room.


***
The god Prometheus was also flying. Flying far out in the galaxy of stars. A
strange monster flew by his side. A man with 50 heads on top of his square
body and 100 arms—50 down each side. He was the guardian of the gates of
the underworld—the Hecatonchires—and he was escaping.


The two legends slowed as the...

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