Quentaris - Sherryl Clark
I’ve been researching pirates for about eight years, and have
written several pirate books, both long and short. When I was asked
to write a Quentaris novel, and it could be about pirates, I was very
excited. I wanted to take my characters to another world where pirate
ships ran on wheels, a world where there was no water, only wind.
I had a picture of Mars in my head, all red and rocky, with vast plains.
I’ve been on several sailing ships, including the Endeavour
replica, and spent a lot of time trying to understand how the sails
and ropes work. It was a challenge to put that in the book without
I also liked the idea of a huge feral cat, and the way many people
these days are getting tattoos that are like their own totems. So
Captain Blackwine has his cat tattooed on his chest (which led to
the great cover image).
Kiall and Eena’s father has been thrown in prison for failure
to repay merchants for goods lost in a series of disastrous shipwrecks.
Desperate to save him, their only option is to go fortune-hunting
in the rift caves – but they can’t afford a guide. Kiall
decides to sneak onto a pirate ship and travel through the caves.
If he can just steal gold from the pirates and bring it back, all
will be saved …
Kiall groaned in his sleep and flung one arm above his head. The nightmare
held him in its grip — he was trapped in a dark hole with chains
around his wrists and ankles, then somewhere a door banged and a hand
grabbed his arm.
‘Kiall! Wake up!’ The hand shook him hard and slowly the
chains dissolved. He opened his eyes and, seeing only a dim shape,
panicked for a moment.
‘Kiall!’ It was his twin sister, Maya, proving he was
no longer in the hole.
‘What? Whatsa matter?’ Kiall struggled to sit up, and
heard shouting and banging coming from below.
‘It’s Papa. The City Watch is arresting him. You must
come.’ Maya didn’t move back fast enough and Kiall stood
on her foot as he leapt out of bed. She only grunted and pushed him
ahead of her as she raced back downstairs.
In the hallway, two guards held Kiall’s father tightly while
their sergeant fastened metal bands around his wrists. Paolo had not
gone easily — a vase lay in shards on the tiled floor and a
painting hung askew. Kiall’s mother, Ysabel, stood in her nightgown,
holding a candle that guttered in the draught from the open front
door. ‘Why are you arresting him?’ she cried.
‘He’s not a criminal.’
‘Shouldn’t have put up a fight then, should he?’
the sergeant snapped.
‘What do you expect?’ Paolo said, wincing at the tight
bands. ‘Barging into our house before dawn. I thought you were
The sergeant snorted and pushed Paolo towards the door.