Fiction Fest: McKenzie Wagner’s ‘Benotripia: The Stones of Horsh’ closes out September previews

Stones of Horsh, The_2x3On the verge of a new month, we pause to take one last sneak peek at one of our September fiction releases: “Benotripia: The Stones of Horsh” by McKenzie Wagner.

“The Stones of Horsh” is the second installment in the “Benotripia” series. “Benotripia: The Rescue” was the first and, like Book 2, is available in book stores and from online retailers.

“The way Wagner writes reminds the reader of an early Rick Riordan. She develops well-rounded characters [which] really adds to the enjoyment of the book and helps the story move along,” said The Deseret News of “Benotripia.”

EXCERPT:

Astro had never felt darkness like this before. He felt as if spiders were crawling up his arms, or as if black fog was encircling him, or as if he were falling into a bottomless pit. “It’s just an illusion,” he whispered, but that didn’t offer up much comfort.

They continued down the winding staircase. Astro once knelt down to study the steps carefully. They were carved of stone with many cracks in the surface. A thin layer of dust covered the staircase, and as proof Astro wiped his finger on one of them. “Astro, come on,” Roseabelle commanded. He was about to stand up, when he shouted, “Wait! Stop!”

The two peered curiously at him. “Do you have a light?” he asked.

Both of them shook their heads, but then Roseabelle paused. “Of course!” She got out her Dragocone Ray and shone it on the spot where Astro was pointing.

A collection of hieroglyphs ran down the steps. Astro started at the top of the stairs and slowly went down, pressing each picture. “What are you doing?” Jessicana asked.

Astro shrugged. “I don’t get why Horsh would spend all this time decorating a stone stairway unless it’s a vital part of finding the Stones.” “Maybe he was into décor,” Jessicana suggested, and Astro rolled his eyes.

“I doubt it.” As Astro pushed on the last hiero- glyph that the girls could see, they heard a small click. Seven cannons suddenly burst out of the wall, illuminated by Roseabelle’s Dragocone Ray.

“Well done, Astro,” Jessicana commented dryly. “Well done.” Then her eyes lit up. “Wait a second!” She ran to the cannons. “I don’t think these are cannons.”

Astro looked at her curiously. “What do you mean? What else could they be?”

“They’re entrances! And only one of them leads to the Stones of Horsh.” At her words, the room lit up and a piece of parchment fell from the ceil- ing. Jessicana snatched it up. Roseabelle gave her an appraising look.

“Nice job, Jessicana,” she commented.

Her friend scanned the paper and then gestured for Astro and Roseabelle to have a look. “Come here,” she urged. “Look.” Astro read:

Seven doorways, a single choice Which one shall you take?

One holds a monster under a lake,

One has a griffin with a major toothache. The next three hold a fiery nightmare, Another contains a child’s worst fear

But only one keeps what you seek And here are the clues of what you speak:

The second doorway is hot with an ugly face inside

The doorway to the left of the last holds a many lick of flame

The three that hold the very same thing are neighbors in space

The first is not the best but better than the fourth

And darkness be resting in the last.