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Planesrunner
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Planesrunner

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Author: Ian McDonald
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books, 2013
Pyr, 2011
Series: Everness: Book 1

1. Planesrunner
2. Be My Enemy
3. Empress of the Sun

Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Alternate/Parallel Universe
Steampunk
Alternate History (SF)
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(21 reads / 13 ratings)


Synopsis

Multiple-award-winning author making his YA debut

There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one of billions of parallel earths.

When Everett Singh's scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse-the Infundibulum-the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They've got power, authority, and the might of ten planets-some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth-at their fingertips. He's got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.

To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his Dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner's going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.

Can they rescue Everett's father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!


Excerpt

1

The car was black. Black body shell, black wheels, black bumpers, black windows. The rain sat on its shiny skin like drops of black oil. A black car on a black night. Everett Singh zipped his jacket up to his chin and flipped up his hood against the cold wind and watched the black car crawl behind his dad, pedalling his bicycle up the Mall. It was a bad bike night. Tree branches lashed and beat. Wind is the cyclist's enemy. The Institute for Contemporary Arts' non-religious seasonal decorations flapped and rattled. Everett had noticed that every year when Stoke Newington Council put up their Winterval lanterns, a storm would arrive and blow them down again. He had suggested that they put them up a week later. They hadn't even acknowledged his email. This year the storm blew as it blew every year and the decorations were scattered the length of the high street. Everett Singh noticed things like that: patterns, behaviours, connections and coincidences.

That was how Everett noticed the car. It hadn't pulled out to skim aggressively past Tejendra on his bike. It kept slow, steady pace behind him. London cars didn't do that, not with bikes, certainly not on a cold wet Monday night on a rainy Mall ten days before Christmas. His dad wouldn't have noticed it. Once Tejendra got going on his bike, he didn't notice anything. Tejendra had started biking after the split with Everett's mum. He said it was quicker, he had less of a carbon footprint and it kept him fit. Everett reported this to Divorcedads.com. The site had started as a well-meaning web space where 'kids could network about the pain of parental split-up.' The kids arrived and turned it into a forum for swapping embarrassing dad stories. The opinion of the forum was that buying a four-thousand-pound full-suspension mountain bike when the steepest thing you ever rode over was a speed bump was typical of dads when they split up. Slippednott wondered why he couldn't have bought a Porsche like everyone else. Because my dad's not like everyone else, Everett commented back.

Other dads named their sons after footballers or relatives or people on television. Tejendra named his after a dead scientist. Other dads took their sons to Pizza Express after the football. Tejendra created 'cuisine nights' at his new apartment. After every Tottenham home game, he and Everett would cook a feast from a different country. Tejendra liked cooking Thai. Everett was good at Mexican. And other dads took their sons to Laser Quest or karting or surf lessons. Tejendra took Everett to lectures at the

Institute for Contemporary Arts on nanotechnology and freaky economics and what would happen when the oil ran out. It was cool with Everett Singh. Different was never boring.

Here came Tejendra, pushing up the Mall, head down into the wind and the rain, in full fluorescents and flashers and reflecters and Lycra with the big black German car behind him. Punjabi dads should not wear Lycra, Everett thought. He put up his arm to wave. The glow-tubes he'd knotted through the cuffs traced bright curves in the air. Tejendra looked up, waved, wobbled. He was a terrible cyclist. He was almost going backwards in the wind howling down from Constitution Hill. Why didn't the black car go round him? It couldn't have been doing more than ten kilometres per hour. There it went now. It pulled out with a deep roar then cut in across Tejendra and stopped. Tejendra veered, braked, almost fell.

'Dad!' Everett shouted.

Three men got out of the car. They were dressed in long dark coats. Everett could see Tejendra was about to yell at them. The men were very quick and very sure. One of them wrenched Tejendra's right arm behind his back. A second bundled him into the back seat. The third man picked up the fallen bicycle, opened the boot and threw it in. Doors slammed shut, the black car pulled back into the traffic. Very quick, very sure. Everett stood stunned, his arm still raised to wave. He was not sure he could believe what he had seen. The black car accelerated towards him. Everett stepped back under the arcade along the front of the ICA. The glow tubes, the stupid glow tubes, were like a lighthouse. Everett pulled out his phone. The car swept past him. Tejendra was a patch of fluorescent yellow behind the darkened windows. Everett stepped out and shot a photograph, two photographs, three, four. He kept shooting until the black car vanished into the traffic wheeling around the Victoria Memorial.

Something. He must do something. But Everett couldn't move. This must be what shock felt like. Post-traumatic stress. So many actions he could take. He imagined himself running after the black car, running at full pelt up the rainy Mall, tailing the black car through the rush hour. He could never catch it. It had too much of a lead. The city was too big. He couldn't run that far, that long, that fast. Maybe he could stop a taxi, tell it to follow that car. Tejendra had told him once that every taxi driver longed to be told that. Even if he could ever track the black car through the London traffic, what did he think he could do against three big men who had lifted his father as lightly as a kitten? That was comics stuff. There were no superheroes. He could ask the people huddling under umbrellas, collars turned up, arriving for a public talk on nanotechnology: did you see that? Did you? He could ask the door staff in their smart shirts. They were too busy meeting and greeting. They wouldn't have seen anything. Even if they had, what could they do? So many wrong actions but what was the right thing, the one right thing? In the end there was one right thing to do. He hit three nines on his phone.

'Hello? Police? My name's Everett Singh. I'm at the ICA on the Mall. My dad has just been kidnapped.'

Copyright © 2011 by Ian McDonald


Reviews

Planesrunner - Ian McDonald

- valashain
  (12/31/2011)
McDonald's Y.A.

- Scott Laz
  (1/20/2012)
Fun but Disappointing from McDonald

- Triseult
  (6/26/2013)
Planesrunner

- ed.rybicki
  (1/26/2014)

Images

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