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The black circle, p.13
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       The Black Circle, p.13

           Patrick Carman
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  “Do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?”

  Isabel Kabra’s eyes glinted. “What a delightful expression. Ian is all show. Underneath that superior exterior is a normal boy with his own insecurities. I have … complicated children.” She waved a manicured hand. “I wanted to keep them away from this Cahill nonsense, believe me. We have such a lovely, fragrant life in London. Cars, clothes, a private plane. What more do they want?”

  “Apparently, to be the most powerful people in the world,” Amy said.

  “And what does that mean, exactly?” Isabel asked. “Have you thought about that?”

  She had. She still hadn’t grasped it. It just seemed so unreal, like something out of a movie or a video game.

  “What would be the source of your power?” Isabel asked softly. “And how would you wield it? I mean, really,” she said, chuckling, “a fourteen-year-old and an eleven-year-old ruling the world? You have to admit it’s rather ridiculous.”

  “Wow,” Amy said. “Can you do that again? I mean, insult me in a really nice way?” Amy couldn’t believe the cool, sardonic voice was her own.

  “I don’t mean to be insulting,” Isabel said in a kind tone. “Just realistic. Do you think that even if you win the hunt for the clues, the danger you face would be over?” She shook her head. “It would be just the beginning. One only has to look at history to see that. My children are poor students. But you are a great researcher. You know that history has proved that every conqueror has a fall.”

  Why does she know so much about me? Amy wondered. I know nothing about her.

  “I was so fond of your parents,” Isabel said. “They had such beauty and promise…. I was devastated when I heard about the fire. Maybe if they had lived, things would be different today. Maybe the Cahills would be a little more … civilized. But as it is, we have only one hope. The Lucians.”

  Amy snorted. “There’s a shocker. You’re a Lucian.”

  “Naturally, I feel the Lucians are best equipped to handle ultimate power. We combine the best qualities of all the Cahills. We are leaders. We have a global network in place. But you and your brother … you’re so alone. Your parents are gone, Grace is gone, there’s no one to protect you. I only want the little girl I remember — the girl in the nightie I cuddled in my lap so long ago — to grow up safe. If you only knew what …” She hesitated.


  Footsteps echoed down the hallway. Isabel turned in the direction of the noise.

  “Trust me,” she whispered. And then she hurried away.


  Copyright © 2009 by Scholastic Inc.

  All rights reserved. Published by Scholastic Inc., Publishers since 1920. SCHOLASTIC, THE 39 CLUES, and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc.

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  E-ISBN: 978-0-545-29276-4



  Patrick Carman, The Black Circle



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