No Naked Ads -> Here!
No Naked Ads -> Here! $urlZ
Wisdoms kiss, p.1
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Wisdom's Kiss, p.1

           Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Wisdom's Kiss

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Table of Contents






  An Introduction, Presenting Several Important Characters, But Not All of Them







  Wisdom's Kiss




  ENHANCED_An Introduction, Presenting Several Important Characters, But Not All of Them





  A Glossary of One-and-Twenty Unusual Words Found in Wisdom's Kiss

  Wisdom's Kiss Bonus Content (by section)

  Author Q&A

  The Geographic Gazetteer

  Bonus Material: Queen of All the Heavens

  Author Commentary: Queen of All the Heavens >

  Author Commentary: The Imperial Encyclopedia of Lax >

  More Bonus Material: Fairy Tales & Songs, Recipes And Deleted Prose

  Bonus Material: Author Commentary on Characters

  Excerpts from Princess Ben

  Also by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


  A Note from the Author of Wisdom's Kiss

  Congratulations! You're the proud reader of a bouncing new baby enhanced e-book. An e-book (as you know because you're reading this) is like a regular paper book but in a digital electricity-based platform. An enhanced e-book, on the other hand, is a book with bells and whistles—anything from images to video, audio, music, text—that will make the reading experience more interesting, more informative, and more valuable. An enhanced e-book is akin to a deluxe-edition DVD with deleted scenes, director's commentary, actor bios, bloopers, and so forth.

  Wisdom's Kiss doesn't have images, video, music, or bloopers. Sorry. It only has text. But it has a lot of text. Embedded within the “real” book are links (over two hundred of ‘em) to another whole book's worth of prose: extra scenes, encyclopedia entries, the lyrics to the comic ballad “Pass the Bucket, Queenie!” and loads of commentary by the author (me) about characters, inspiration, the Globe d'Or, and the writing process. If you're the kind of person who likes background information and inside scoops, then you could spend hours wandering around the enhancements like someone with an all-night pass to a museum.

  Now, you can use this enhanced e-book however you want. Just like a paper book, you can read the last page first (I know people who do this, but I also know people who eat bugs for fun) or read only the chapters divisible by seven. You can seek out those two-hundred-odd links and start poking around the enhancements first thing. For what it's worth, however, this is not what I envisioned. I wrote Wisdom's Kiss as, you know, a book, with all the elements neatly intertwined and happy, the suspense plotted just so. If you immediately plunge into the enhancements, you will—I'm warning you—learn more about the ending and the characters and the plot twists then you might initially want to know.

  Here's what I recommend: first read the book without the enhancements. It's fun, it's linear, it tells the story that Wisdom's Kiss meant to tell. Once you've finished, you can start poking around the enhancements. This doesn't mean you have to read the book again; goodness, no. But if you're curious about Wilhelmina's backstory, or Elephantine Stiltdancers, or ladies-in-waiting, or pumpkin pudding, or questions for reading groups, or an author-to-author Q&A, or the full text of Queen of All the Heavens ... Well, now's your chance. If you find yourself in an enhancement that doesn't grip (not everyone cares about the origin of the word “loophole,” for example), then skim, or skip; there's loads more to read.

  In case you're wondering, I don't own an e-book reader. In fact, I've never even read an e-book. I did purchase one recently because my husband and I were on vacation and he had a sudden yen for The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and I—inconsiderately enough—hadn't thought to pack my copy. (Also there wasn't room in the suitcase, given the ten books I was already lugging.) I like paper books. I like their smell. I like holding them and buying them and the satisfaction that comes from preserving the good ones in permanent storage systems that never, ever need recharging. If the book is good enough, I'll buy more copies so my friends can smell them too.

  But. Back in the summer of 2009 as I was working on the first draft of Wisdom's Kiss, I kept coming upon articles about these miraculous new electronic products that would change the way people, you know, do stuff, including the way they read. Books henceforth could be told nonlinearly, with layers of images and reference material and data. Silly me, I'd always thought that linear narration was the whole point: you start at the beginning of the story and read to the end, right? It's a story line, after all—“line” as in “linear.” But I could see what these journalists and prognosticators and developers were driving at, and my new book seemed to be uniquely suited for this sort of layer-upon-layer enhancement; layerwise, Wisdom's Kiss is a veritable onion.

  Every article I found on e-readers I forwarded to my agent: we could do this! Eventually through either enthusiasm or exhaustion, my publisher agreed, then put me to work creating extra content. Some of my ideas—an animated map tracing the heroes' journey, for example, or an audio version (preferably recorded in an Irish pub) of “Pass the Bucket, Queenie!”—were complete nonstarters. But others had merit and are included here.

  Use the images below to help you navigate the enhanced e-book and bonus materials:

  Wisdom's Kiss

  Glossary & Geographic Gazetteer

  The Imperial Encyclopedia of Lax

  Queen of All the Heavens

  Author Commentary

  Character Commentary



  Excerpts from Princess Ben


  To read Wisdom's Kiss without enhancements, click


  To read Wisdom's Kiss with enhancements, click


  For Bonus Materials, click



  Wisdom's Kiss

  Glossary & Geographic Gazetteer

  The Imperial Encyclopedia of Lax

  Queen of All the Heavens

  Author Commentary

  Character Commentary



  Excerpts from Princess Ben

  Copyright © 2011 by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

  All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce

  selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin

  Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York,

  New York 10003.

  Houghton Mifflin is an imprint of

  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

  The text of this book is set in Abrams Venetian, Centaur MT, Clois Oldstyle, and Perpetua.


  Murdock, Catherine Gilbert.

  Wisdom's Kiss / written by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

  p. cm.

  Summary: Princess Wisdom, who yearns for a life of adventure beyond the

  kingdom of Montagne, Tips, a soldier keeping his true life secret from his

  family, Fortitude, an orphaned maid who longs for Tips, and Magic the cat

  form an uneasy alliance as they try to save the kingdom from certain destruc-

  tion. Told through diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biogra

  phies, and a stage play.

  ISBN 978-0-547-56687-0

  [1. Adventure and adventurers—Fiction. 2. Supernatural—Fiction.

  3. Princesses—Fiction. 4. Soldiers—Fiction. 5. Household employees—

  Fiction. 6. Orphans—Fiction. 7. Cats—Fiction.] I. Title.

  PZ7.M9416Wis 2011



  Created in the United States

  E-ISBN 978-0-547-55082-4

  To Nick and Mimi

  Truth requires many voices,

  for it is a relentless foe

  but a most unobliging mistress.

  An Introduction, Presenting Several Important Characters, But Not All of Them

  A Life Unforeseen


  Privately Printed and Circulated

  TRUDY'S SIGHT revealed itself one warm summer night when the child was no older than three.

  The Duke's Arms had been lively all evening, denying Trudy's mother even a minute to put her to bed, for Eds made it clear that customers always came first, and Mina was the inn's sole server. Trudy, however, was an easy child, happy to play in a kitchen corner with her yarn doll and tattered little basket, her head a halo of auburn curls streaked with gold. So settled, she did not observe the stranger's arrival or his demand for a meal and a room, and right quick with them both. Nor for that matter did anyone else pay notice to this rawboned traveler missing half an earlobe, for dusty foreigners stopped there daily. Mina was just beginning to serve him when Trudy wandered in from the kitchen, caught sight of the man, and began to scream.

  The room quieted at once, and Mina rushed over to take her away. Yet Trudy stood unbudging. "Go!" she shrieked, pointing at the stranger with one small shaking finger. "Go away! Go away! Go away!"

  The man flinched at the clamor, and more so at the two dozen pairs of eyes now focused upon him. He flicked a hand toward Trudy and demanded that Eds take the brat from earshot; this place was supposed to be an inn for God's sake, not a damned madhouse.

  That may have been the man's gravest mistake, for while Eds readily agreed about the racket, he abided no criticism of his beloved Duke's Arms. He also knew, with the innate discernment of a successful host, that though this fatherless child meant little to him, she was a favorite with the locals, unlike, say, the miller's youngest son, who—everyone agreed—was a rascal through and through. The regulars who kept the Duke's Arms solvent during the lean summer months were now muttering among themselves, uneasy about this stranger who so distressed their wee sweet Trudy.

  Eds thus, without another moment's consideration, ordered him to leave.

  "Ye can't toss me out!" the man spat back. "This is a public hostel, it is, and I've nowhere else to sleep!"

  "It's my establishment, and I operates as I please," Eds replied coolly. "Besides, I hear tell the heavens make a very fine blanket"—a riposte, it should be confessed, that he had wielded many times, always to widespread mirth. His patrons laughed now, but smiles faded as the stranger cursed Eds and with cold viciousness described his imminent and painful demise. It was only Eds's girth, and cudgel, that got the stranger past the threshold, and no one objected when Eds slammed the door behind him.

  Trudy's mother by this time had managed to carry her up to their attic bed, though her wails reverberated through the building. The public rooms emptied soon thereafter, the locals heading home in twos and threes, and in twos and threes they searched their barns and outbuildings before locking every door, so unnerved were they by the child's reaction, and by the stranger's ruthless air. Trudy continued to sob about the awful man "out there" until Mina finally took her outside to see the empty road for herself. The girl peered through the moonlight in every direction and, inexplicably calmed, fell asleep on her mother's shoulder.

  Oh, how tongues wagged the next morning, and, oh, how the inn's patrons were teased. What was Eds adding to his beer, the wives asked, that made men fearful old maids? Did a child's tantrum turn Bacio into a village of milksops? Sheepishly the men shrugged, unable themselves to explain their spooked reaction to one ill-tempered customer. Vindication arrived soon enough, for not halfway through morning chores a squad of soldiers rode into town—imperial soldiers, not the duke's preening guards, and their weapons were polished from use, not show. Halting at the Duke's Arms, they asked if anyone had seen a lone traveler, a gaunt man with a severed ear. Eds had only begun to answer when the soldiers wheeled and galloped off toward the pass.

  Well. Chores now stopped outright, and pigs and children whined unfed as the good folk of Bacio clustered to gossip over this unprecedented turn of events. Henpecked husbands stood tall, pointing out that their women were right grateful now. Little Trudy, muzzy yet from lack of sleep, received numerous kisses for being the first to notice the villain in their midst.

  How much of a villain they did not learn until late that afternoon, when the soldiers returned grimly bearing two bodies: one of their own, who in searching an abandoned shepherd's hut had drawn his weapon too late, and the mangled-ear stranger, whom the squad then set upon and killed at last. This man, the soldiers explained, had robbed and murdered his way across the empire, seeking in particular backwoods inns, and as evidence they displayed the wealth of a dozen victims found in his pack. How had the villagers known to turn him away? For otherwise they'd be burying, not chattering, this sunset.

  All eyes turned to Trudy playing tag with the miller's boy. She could provide no explanation other than that the man had "looked bad," and shyly she asked if she could pet the ponies. Smiling, the sergeant hoisted her up to stroke the nose of his majestic warhorse, and over her copper curls he informed the villagers that they owed this child their lives.

  Needless to say, the residents of Bacio began observing Trudy, and so noticed that she had a talent for staying out of trouble (unlike Tips, the miller's boy, who would dance on the rooftops like the very devil himself). She was always elsewhere when Eds flew into one of his great rages, and often would coax Mina away as well before the man began seeking targets for his ire. When one day Trudy happened upon Tips and two other boys taunting Lloyds's prize new ram, she begged Tips to play with her instead—to which he readily acceded, for they were the dearest of friends—and therefore the lad was (for once) innocent when the enraged ram burst from his pen, never to be seen again. Yet when young women asked Trudy to prophesy their true love, or Eds sought her opinion of an odd-looking customer, she could only shake her head sadly. Soon, ashamed that she provoked such disappointment, she took to hiding herself away at the approach of any would-be supplicant.

  So, they concluded, the girl did have a talent. It was not magic, to be sure—there was no such thing as magic, and any fool claiming otherwise would end up in an asylum, or worse—but a certain limited gift. Tips in his inimitable fashion put it best: "It's simple, really: all the feeling most folks get after something happens, Trudy just happens to feel before." Phrased that way, then, yes, the girl could often see the future, but only her own, and the potential futures of those she loved—sometimes the near future, sometimes not for days hence. But she could not always see enough to avert trouble, and certainly not when it mattered most.

  The day the beggar woman limped into town, Trudy, now aged ten, was hanging sheets to dry and so did not observe the woman pass from house to house seeking aid for her sick baby. Nor would Trudy speak, ever, of what her sight revealed when finally she laid eyes on the pair. But from her hysteria, and the sobbing manner she clung to her mother, the residents of Bacio knew it could not bode well. In the days that followed, the deadly fever claimed one life after another, and while some survivors muttered that Trudy should have done more to warn them all, the compassionate pointed out that the girl suffered as much as anyone, and praised how she had nursed her mother without respite until the woman left this earth.

  But in truth they rarely paid much attention to Trud
y at all. The girl's sight was her own private blessing and her own private curse. The villagers had grief and toil enough, with no time for needless woolgathering. Yes, Trudy was an orphan now with nowhere to go, but others had it worse, others without a pretty face or that mass of Titian curls.

  So alone, Trudy had no option but to remain at the Duke's Arms as servant and drudge, her only solace in Tips, who had lost his father in the fever. Such was her life, its cramped bonds of village and labor, and such her life would doubtless have remained forever, were it not for the thunderbolt of upheaval that the world now knows as Wisdom's Kiss.

  Memoirs of the Master Swordsman


  Impresario Extraordinaire ♦ Soldier of Fortune

  Mercenary of Stage & Empire



  Famed Throughout the Courts and Countries of the World


  The Great Sultanate




  A Most Marvelous Entertainment. Not to Be Missed!


  THIS DAY I WAS TRAVELING SOLO. My latest endeavor had failed, and the great campaigns for which I would become universally renowned were as yet only a promise, though a promise that burned in my breast with unwavering fire. Retaining a powerful memory of the reprobates I had encountered at Devil's Rift, I chose prudence over valor and crossed into Farina via Alpsburg Pass. This route I found delightful in the extreme, for the alpine valleys in the heat of summer present no hardship beyond the cicadas, which crowd the forest treetops in such numbers that their screeching threatens to deafen the hapless traveler. Hardened by the cacophony of war, however, I greeted the buzzing uproar with a cheery smile and, doffing my hat toward their arboreal realm, wished the creatures success in their amorous pursuits.

Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Add comment

Add comment