Ring of Fire (Century Quartet, Book 1)
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Every hundred years, four kids from four cities must save the world.
Rome, December 29.
A mix-up with their reservations forces Harvey from New York, Mistral from Paris, and Sheng from Shanghai to share a room with the hotel owner’s daughter, Elettra. The four kids discover an amazing coincidence—they all have birthdays on February 29, Leap Day. That night, a strange man gives them a briefcase and asks them to take care of it until he returns. Soon afterward, the man is murdered.
The kids open the briefcase. In it they find a series of clues that take them all over Rome, through dusty libraries and dark catacombs, in search of the elusive Ring of Fire, an ancient object so powerful that legend says even a Roman emperor couldn’t control it.
In the first book of the Century quartet, Italian author P. D. Baccalario begins a mystery that will take four cities and four extraordinary kids to solve.
From the Hardcover edition.
that Aunt Linda uses to try to hide it, and opens it up. They wait for Mistral and Sheng to join them, and then they all go down the stairs leading to the underground realm. “We’ll be nice and warm down here,” Elettra points out, shutting the door behind her, “and nobody will bother us.” “Wishful thinking,” grumbles Harvey. “You don’t know my folks.” “They seem pretty interesting to me!” says Sheng. “Yeah, sure …” Harvey’s expression is as dark as a storm cloud. “Do they get on your case?”
would be …?” “Pasquino is the name they gave to a statue the Romans would hang comical messages on, to make fun of the people in power.” Harvey holds up the professor’s journal. “Then let’s go there! We could hang this on it.” Elettra’s head shoots up. “That’s not a bad idea …,” she thinks aloud. “Um, what isn’t?” “The Pasquino isn’t far from here,” explains Elettra, pointing down a cobblestone street. “So what?” “Right next to the Pasquino,” continues Elettra, “is a quiet little place
confirms, turning the map upside down. “And this is his signature, still perfectly legible.” “It’s just plain impossible,” mutters Harvey. “So all these people,” Elettra says, cutting in, “they all knew how to use it?” “Yes.” “Did they use it to find the Ring of Fire?” “No,” replies Ermete. “It isn’t a map to the Ring of Fire.” “Hold it! Hold it!” Sheng says, jumping up, his hands held out in front of him like a goalie blocking a soccer ball. “The only thing I’ve understood up till now was
… the cloth … rrr … !” Elettra turns toward Ermete, but the engineer is staring off into space. “What are you waiting for … rrr …?” coughs Joe. “Open that thing up … rrr … ! Let me see … rrr … what the heck … rrr … it is!” Elettra touches the ring-shaped seal. She pulls on it gently, just enough to undo the strips of cloth. Inside is a circular object. It’s made of iron. Elettra’s hands hastily unravel the last strips of linen. She takes it in her hand. She holds it up. It’s a mirror. On
think we succeeded in doing just that. I need to thank Clare because she’s the most romantic, most stubborn-headed editor you could ever meet. She’s the only person who knows how to track me down on my cell phone even when it’s switched off. Thanks to Iacopo and Francesca for how they managed to see what I was writing before I even wrote it. Among my friends, special thanks go out to the two Beatrices. One will recognize herself in these pages and the other provided me with a fantastic business