Revenge of Superstition Mountain (Superstition Mountain Mysteries)

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9780805089097: Revenge of Superstition Mountain (Superstition Mountain Mysteries)

In the third and final book in this action-packed trilogy, the Barker brothers and their good friend Delilah secretly climb up to Superstition Mountain one last time. There are still mysteries to solve―is the creepy librarian really the ghost of Julia Thomas from a century before? What was their uncle Hank's role in discovering the gold mine? Can they still get into the gold mine after the avalanche that nearly crushed them? Does their cat, Josie, have mysterious powers? And, most of all, who is trying to kill them?

Elise Broach delivers a page-turning finale to this top-drawer adventure trilogy.

A Christy Ottaviano Book

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About the Author:

Elise Broach is the author of the award-winning books Masterpiece and Shakespeare's Secret, and Desert Crossing. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yale University and lives with her family in Easton, Connecticut. Her novel Masterpiece has been optioned for film.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER 1

A SECRET MEETING

 

“WHAT WAS THAT?”

The librarian’s voice cut through the cool night air, and Simon shot Henry a quick, silencing glance.

They were huddled against the rough concrete wall of the library building, in the shrubbery below the open window, with Delilah and Jack wedged up against them in a tangle of elbows and knees. Twigs and leaves scratched their faces. As usual when Henry was desperate to keep perfectly still and quiet, he was beset with discomforts. He suddenly had to go to the bathroom; his legs itched; he felt sure he was about to sneeze. The more he considered how terrible it would be if he did sneeze, the more he felt a sneeze welling up inside him.

It had been Simon’s idea to eavesdrop on the August meeting of the Superstition Historical Society, to hear firsthand what the treasure hunters were up to. On the other side of the window, the meeting had just ended, and the librarian Julia Thomas, president of the historical society, had asked the members of the executive committee to remain behind. From what Henry could tell, after the scrape of chairs and murmur of departing voices, there were only three people left in the room: the creepy librarian, Officer Myers—the big, stern policeman who had first warned the boys to stay away from Superstition Mountain—and a man they figured had to be Richard Delgado, the caretaker at the cemetery, who was the historical society’s secretary and whose addled daughter Sara was living proof of the mountain’s eerie grip. A year ago, she had returned from its wilds in a fugue state, frightened and talking nonsensically. To Henry, it seemed like she had left the saner part of herself somewhere in the mountain’s caves and canyons … with the bones of the people who’d died or disappeared there while searching for the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine.

The gold mine! Even now, crouched in a sweaty human tangle under the screen of branches, Henry could picture the gold. He remembered its breathtaking luster in the dark mine, sparkling in the beam of the flashlight. It was the secret that he, Simon, Jack, and Delilah had kept all summer long: they had found the Lost Dutchman’s Mine! The treasure that person after person had climbed Superstition Mountain in the hopes of finding, for over a century.

Of course, once the avalanche buried the mine’s entrance, it was impossible to know if anyone would ever see the gold again. Simon, Henry, and Jack had barely managed to escape, and only because of Delilah’s warning. But in the moments before the cascade of boulders thundered down the canyon wall, Jack had grabbed a fistful of sparkly golden flakes … and this was the sole remnant of their discovery. For the past month, he had kept them safe in an Altoids tin under his dresser, and sometimes, when the boys were playing a game in his room, he would take out the tin and wave it imperiously under the noses of his brothers, reminding them that he was the only one with real, actual gold from the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Then Simon would produce the gold nugget from the old Spanish saddlebag that Henry and Delilah had found in the canyon, and a heated argument would ensue about which was more valuable, the single nugget or the collection of golden flakes.

It was good they had those bits of gold, Henry thought. Sometimes during the long, hot sweep of the summer—while Delilah’s broken leg healed and the boys spent their days playing games with her or riding their bikes or keeping track of Josie, who was determinedly independent even for a cat—it had been hard to believe the gold was real. The gold mine was a secret; they could tell no one. It seemed not just separate from but at odds with the rest of their daily lives in the tiny town of Superstition, in the home the Barker family had inherited a few months ago from Mr. Barker’s cattle-wrangling, poker-playing, adventure-loving uncle, Hank Cormody, who had died in his eighties after a long, eventful life. Uncle Hank was a former U.S. Cavalry scout and the relative for whom Henry had been named—in what he sometimes felt was a cruel joke designed to make him painfully aware of all the ways in which he was not brave, exciting, and adventurous.

But Mr. Barker had idolized his uncle and loved telling stories about him, and throughout their childhoods the boys had a special place in their hearts for their great-uncle Hank, even though they had met him only a handful of times and barely knew him. He sent them funny birthday cards and inappropriate presents (like a shiny silver cap gun for Henry’s birthday, which Mrs. Barker had promptly confiscated), and every once in a long while he burst into their lives for Thanksgiving or a holiday weekend, brimming with jokes and tales about his life in the West. Sometimes Henry felt he didn’t so much know Uncle Hank as know of Uncle Hank. But nonetheless, the impression was a vivid one, of flowing white hair, a booming voice, and hands patterned with interesting calluses and scars.

The Barkers had moved to Uncle Hank’s brown, shingled house in Superstition in June, at the end of kindergarten for Jack, and fourth grade for Henry, and fifth grade for Simon. They had met Delilah, who was Henry’s age, shortly afterward. Henry could scarcely believe all that had happened to them since then, over the course of the long summer, in the shadow of the great, spooky mountain whose essential mystery they had yet to solve.

So here they all were, frozen beneath the screen of leaves and branches outside the library window, listening and trying not to be heard. Henry felt like Harriet the Spy, the main character from one of the books he loved. He wished he had a notebook to transcribe the conversation flowing through the window.

“What do you mean? I didn’t hear anything,” a man’s voice said, and Henry recognized it as belonging to Officer Myers.

“Something outside,” Julia Thomas replied. Heels clicked against the floor, approaching the window, and a man’s heavier footsteps followed. Beneath the twiggy canopy, Henry held his breath, and he saw Jack’s eyes grow wide.

“Do you see anything out there?” the librarian asked.

“No. You’re getting paranoid, Julia.” The voices were now above their heads, floating through the thin night air. After a minute, the footsteps left the window.

“I’m not paranoid, I’m careful. Which is more than I can say for you and Richard. That rock slide was your fault! We may have lost our only chance of getting to the gold.”

Henry gasped. “They started the avalanche,” he whispered.

“I thought so,” Simon answered softly. “They were watching us the whole time. That means they know where the gold mine is.”

Delilah tensed. “They could have gotten us killed.”

“Yeah,” Jack repeated, “KILLED.” In the dark beneath the bushes, Henry could see him clench his fists.

Beyond the windowsill, the three adults were now arguing.

“I told you, my foot slipped,” Henry heard Richard Delgado say testily. “I had no way of knowing that would bring down half the mountain!”

“You should have watched where you were stepping,” Mrs. Thomas snapped. “The gold mine is buried behind a wall of rock now.”

“Hang on,” Officer Myers interrupted. “Who says that was the gold mine? We have no idea what the kids found in there. For all we know, it was just a cave.”

Mrs. Thomas answered curtly, “No. It’s the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. I’m certain of it. And now that we know those children are after the gold, we have to move quickly.”

Beneath the bushes, Henry squirmed, rubbing the back of his hand against his nose.

“What’s the matter?” Delilah whispered, watching him.

“I think I might sneeze,” Henry whispered back.

Simon shook his head. “Well, don’t. Shhhhh, this is important.”

Through the window, the debate continued. “Then what do you want to do?” Mr. Delgado asked. “As you said, if it is the gold mine, it’s buried under a mound of boulders.”

“We can either try to break through the boulders or find another way in,” the librarian answered.

“You’d need dynamite to break up those rocks,” Officer Myers said. “And it would be pretty hard to have an explosion up there in the canyon and keep it a secret.”

Mr. Delgado mumbled his agreement. “What about your other idea? The gold from the mine that might still be somewhere near town—the nuggets that Jacob Waltz took and kept in a candle box under his bed. You said he might have left the candle box with the neighbor lady when he died—why don’t we work on finding that?” He paused. “It’s a lot easier than going up the mountain again. And safer. That place is…” His voice trailed off.

Henry turned to Delilah. Box of gold? They had heard the story of Jacob Waltz and the gold mine from their geologist friend Emmett Trask. Back in the late 1880s, when the old miner was being cared for on his deathbed by his neighbor, the original Julia Thomas, he supposedly gave her directions to the mine, and maybe even a map … but this was the first Henry had heard about a box of gold under the bed. The directions to the mine had survived on a scrap of paper the children had found in Uncle Hank’s desk, in the hidden compartment of his orange metal coin box … written by someone other than Uncle Hank.

Mrs. Thomas sounded impatient. “The deathbed ore? Because as I told you, we have no idea where to begin to look for that. Some believe that he didn’t give it to Julia at all. That it was stolen by someone when she left Waltz’s deathbed to get a doctor, and he died while she was gone.”

“People have been looking for that deathbed ore forever,” Officer Myers interjected. “But what about the ghost town? We know she stayed there before and after her trip up the mountain to look for the gold.”

The ghost town! Henry remembered the desolate silence of Gold Creek, with its row of ramshackle buildings … and the shattered floorboards of the Black Cat Saloon, where Simon had fallen, disappearing into a cellar where something or someone had lain in wait for him.

“Yes, the ghost town,” Mr. Delgado echoed. “That’s exactly where we should be looking. At the old hotel, where she stayed with those German brothers. What if they left something behind?”

Simon nudged Henry. “See? We have to go back,” he whispered. “Before they do.”

Henry opened his mouth to agree, but suddenly the sneeze he’d been suppressing burbled up into his throat and his nose. He sucked in his breath, trying to swallow it, but something—part sneeze, part breath, part sputter—escaped.

Ahhhhh-phhhht!

Simon, Jack, and Delilah stared at him in horror.

Inside the room, a chair scraped the floor, and heels came clicking furiously toward the window.

“That!” Julia Thomas exclaimed. “Do you hear it now? There’s someone outside the window.”

 

Text copyright © 2014 by Elise Broach

Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov

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Book Description Henry Holt Company Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the third and final book in this action-packed trilogy, the Barker brothers and their good friend Delilah secretly climb up to Superstition Mountain one last time. There are still mysteries to solve - is the creepy librarian really the ghost of Julia Thomas from a century before? What was their uncle Hank s role in discovering the gold mine? Can they still get into the gold mine after the avalanche that nearly crushed them? Does their cat, Josie, have mysterious powers? And, most of all, who is trying to kill them? Elise Broach delivers a page-turning finale to this top-drawer adventure trilogy. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780805089097

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