Beauty and the Beast. The world knows it as a cartoon with dancing teacups and broomsticks. To twelve year old Claire La Fleur, it is family history, and the power behind Belle’s mirror is real. Every ten years her family gathers to see if the mirror will awaken, and for the last two hundred years it has slept. This time, Claire’s touch awakens the magic within the diamond looking glass, a direct portal to the past and a way to communicate with Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt. The lure of power brings with it many perils, and a betrayal close to home thrusts Claire into a treacherous underworld. To protect the mirror, she travels into the Louvre museum in the dark of night, searches abandoned subway tunnels, and walks the catacombs of
the dead. Welcome to Paris, France- where danger follows in every step.
Read an Excerpt
Together they hurried up a set of stairs and into a room filled with coffins and mummies. “This just keeps getting better and better,” said Claire. But, even she couldn’t complain about the amazing beauty of the golden sarcophagi and their bold colorful engravings. Through an archway, Claire could see into the next gallery running parallel to theirs. Along the wall, covered by glass cases, rested pages from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Without meaning to, Claire began walking toward the display. She heard rhythmic voices in her head and had no doubt they spoke the words from the tablets. The voices began chanting, their words rising and falling like music.
“Hey, Claire, this way,” said Jean-Luc.
“Did you hear that?”
“Hear what? Hurry up.”
Claire snapped out of her stupor, shaking her head in confusion. She moved to Jean-Luc’s side and followed him past the rows of coffins. Claire was still wondering about the voices she’d heard and started when she heard shuffling behind her. When she turned, nobody was there.
“Is anyone behind us?” she asked her brother.
“No, we’re the last. Come on.”
Claire scooted down the hallway, but couldn’t get rid of the feeling that someone was following her. She glanced over her shoulder. The remains of a mummy turned her way, pieces of faded yellow wrapping coming undone.
What? She focused on the mummy, but this time it was still. Weird, she thought. She grabbed her brother’s hand as they ran.
Finally they made it through the exhibit and caught up with everyone waiting for them in the crypt of the sphinx. The director sniffed as they came into the room, and then turned away.
“We’re heading to the lower level and into the remains of the medieval Louvre,” he said. “The first part is open to tourists, but once we pass into the restricted level, watch your step.”
They walked into a long curving hallway. The stone walls resembled a castle’s exterior, rough and patchy. The air smelled damp and sweet, and Claire sucked in a huge breath.
“The fortress was built by Phillip Augustus to protect Paris from attack via the Seine River,” said the director. “You are walking along what used to be the moat.”
Claire reached out her hand to feel the roughness of the stones by her side. She let her fingers trail along as she followed the group into a large room filled with arched entryways. Short columns decorated with stone palm fronds sprouted up from the floor.
“This is the Salle of Saint-Louis, and to the rest of the world, it is the end of the tour. But follow me, we shall descend one floor lower,” said the director.
Down they went, completely surround by heavy rock. The floor became uneven and the lights flickered as they descended. Then they came to an ultra-modern steel door. The director punched in a series of numbers, leaned over to let a red beam scan his eye, and then he pushed the handle of the vault. The door opened with a hiss of air.
Heading through the door, Claire stepped into a rotunda. The circular wall before her anchored several steel doors, each the personal vault of someone high up and prestigious. The director led them to one door at the end.
Jean-Luc stepped forward and entered the La Fleur family code into the keypad. Again, Claire heard the hiss of air as the door opened. She stepped around her brother, squeezing past several of the guards to get a better view. There wasn’t much to see—just wooden crates and jewelry boxes. Then she looked at the far wall, and she finally understood all the fuss.
The oval mirror rested upright against a bed of black velvet. It looked like an old-fashioned, round handheld mirror, with the exception of the large round diamond attached to its handle.
They all stood there looking, nobody moving, but then Claire heard a small hum. She looked around, but could not uncover the source of the sound. As the hum grew louder, everybody in the room noticed it, and began looking around, too. Then, the mirror started to vibrate, shaking itself spastically upon its velvet bed.
Claire’s eyes widened as she watched the mirror inch off its stand. Then, she ducked as the mirror shot straight off the velvet and cruised right at her head. Jean-Luc reached out with an easy hand and snatched it. The mirror quieted, going still in his grasp.
My name is Dorine White. I graduated from Brigham Young
University with a BA in Humanities. I am a stay at home mom with 6 wonderful kids, and call the Northwest home. Writing wise, I am a member of the SCBWI, ANWA, LDS Storymakers and the PNWA. I write middle grade and YA fantasy. My first book, The Emerald Ring, was published May 2013 by Cedar Fort Books. In 2014 the second book was published, The Ruby Pendant. The third book in the series, The Diamond Looking Glass, is due out Oct 2015 from Skyrocket Press. My first YA fantasy novel, The Awakening, came out in 2014 from Skyrocket Press. Author Website * Blog- The Write Path * Twitter @Dorinewhite * Facebook Author Page
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