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Authors: Melina Marchetta

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic

Froi of the Exiles

BOOK: Froi of the Exiles
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Froi of the Exiles

of the Lumatere Chronicles

an imprint of



Part One The Cursemaker

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Part Two The Reginita

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Part Three Quintana

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43



Froi of the Exiles

Melina Marchetta’s first novel,
Looking for Alibrandi
, swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction when it was published, and was released as a major Australian film, winning an AFI award and Independent Film Award for best screenplay as well as the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award. Melina went on to write
Saving Francesca
, which won the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award for Older Readers; and
On the Jellicoe Road
, which won the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2009.

Melina’s next novel,
Finnikin of the Rock
, won the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel and was followed by
The Piper’s Son
, a companion novel to
Saving Francesca
, which was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and shortlisted for the 2011 CBCA Book of the Year Award for Older Readers, 2011 Queensland and New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, and 2011 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Melina’s first book for younger readers,
The Gorgon in the Gully
, was released in 2010. Her novels have been published in eighteen countries and seventeen languages.

Melina lives in Sydney, where she writes full-time. Her website is

Also by Melina Marchetta

Looking for Alibrandi

Saving Francesca

On the Jellicoe Road

The Piper’s Son

The Lumatere Chronicles

Finnikin of the Rock

For Younger Readers

The Gorgon in the Gully

To Laura
For conversations in Ravenna
and New York playlists


They call her Quintana the cursemaker. The last female born to Charyn, eighteen years past.

Reginita, she claims to be. The little Queen. Recipient of the words writ on her chamber wall, whispered by the gods themselves. That those born last will make the first, and blessed be the newborn king, for Charyn will be barren no more.

And so it comes to be that each autumn since the fifteenth day of weeping, a lastborn son of Charyn visits the palace in a bid to fulfil the prophecy. But fails each time.

They weep for fear of hurting her. But she has no tears for herself. ‘Come along,’ she says briskly. ‘Be quick. I’ll try to think of other things, but if your mouth touches mine, I will cut it out.’

Most nights she concentrates on the contours of the ceiling, where light from the Oracle’s godshouse across the gravina shines into her chamber. She holds up a hand and makes shapes in the shadows. And inside of her, in the only place she can hide, Quintana sings her song.

And somewhere beyond the stone that is Charyn, the blood of a lastborn sings back to her.

Part One
The Cursemaker
Chapter 1

roi’s head was ringing.

A fist against his jaw, an elbow to his nose, a knee to his face and they kept on coming and coming, these old men, he had called them. They came for him one after the other, and there was no mercy to be had this day. But Froi of the Exiles wasn’t born for mercy. Not to receive, nor deliver it.

Behind his attackers was a sycamore tree waiting to die, its limbs half-dragging on the dry ground beneath it, and Froi took his chance, diving high between two of the men, his hands reaching for one of the branches, his body swinging, legs jutting out. A boot to a face, one man down, then he pounded into another before the branch collapsed under his weight. He pulled it free from the tree, swinging the limb high over his head. A third man down and then the fourth. He heard a curse and a muttered threat before the flat of his palm smashed the next man who came forward. Smashed him on the bridge of the nose, and Froi danced with glee.

Until he was left facing Finnikin of Lumatere and Froi felt the feralness of his nature rise to the surface. ’No rules,’ they had declared, and the dark Goddess knew that Froi loved to play games with no rules. And so with eyes locked, they circled each other, hands out, waiting to pounce in the way the wolves in the Forest of Lumatere fought for their prey. Froi saw a bead of sweat appear on the brow of the man they called the Queen’s Consort, saw the quick fist come his way, and so he ducked, his own fist connecting with precision. But all it took was the thought of the Queen, her head shaking with bemusement and a smile entering her eyes, to make Froi think again about where to land his second blow. In that moment’s hesitation, his legs were kicked out from under him and he felt his face pressed into the earth.

‘You let me win,’ Finnikin growled, and Froi heard anger in his voice.

‘Only because she’ll kill me if I bruise that lily-white skin,’ Froi mocked through gasps.

Finnikin pressed harder, but after a moment Froi could feel that he was shaking from laughter. ‘She’ll thank you for it, knowing Isaboe.’ Finnikin leapt to his feet. They exchanged a grin and Froi took the hand held out to him.

‘Old man, did you call me?’ Perri, the Captain’s second-in-charge, asked behind him. ‘Because I’m sure I heard those words come out of your mouth.’

‘Not out of my mouth,’ Froi said, feigning innocence and spitting blood to the ground from a cut in his lip. ’Must have been someone else.’

Around the sycamore, soldiers of the Guard were picking themselves up, curses ringing the air while the lads in training began collecting the practice swords and shields.

‘If he goes for my nose again, I
I’ll hang him up by his little balls,’ one of the Guard said, getting to his feet. Froi tried to ignore the mockery.

‘Nothing little about me,’ he grunted. ‘Don’t take my word for it, Hindley. Ask your wife. She seemed happy last night, you know, with the size and all.’

Hindley snarled, knew there was no truth in the words, but the danger was in having spoken them aloud. Froi saw the snarl as an invitation and all hope of ignoring it failed as he lunged at the man, wanting nothing more than to connect a fist to Hindley’s nose for the third time that day. Because no matter what, the taunts still stung. Three years ago when he hardly knew a word of Lumateran, his tongue would twist around all the strange pronunciations of his new language, causing great amusement amongst those who saw Froi as nothing more than street scum.
Here comes the feef wif nofing to show for
, they’d taunt. Finnikin had once told Froi that the greatest weapon against big stupid men was a sharp mind. It was one of the reasons Froi had agreed to continue his lessons with the Priestking. Three years on, he had exceeded everyone’s expectations, including his own.

Today they had set up their drills in a meadow close to the foot of the mountains. Finnikin and Sir Topher had business with the Ambassador from the neighbouring kingdom of Sarnak and they had chosen the inn of Balconio as the meeting place.

‘You’re not as nimble as you used to be,’ Perri said, as they walked towards the horse posts by the rock hedges of a Flatland farm that had long been deserted. Lumatere was filled with empty farms and cottages, a testament to those who had died during the ten years of terror, which ended three years ago when Finnikin and the Queen broke the curse and freed their people.

‘He’s talking to you,’ Finnikin said with a shove.

‘No, he’s talking to you,’ Froi replied with an even greater shove. ‘Because I’d probably kill a man who called me nimble.’

Perri stopped in his tracks and Froi knew he had gone too far. Perri had a stare that could rip the guts out of a man and Froi felt it now. He knew he would have to wait it out under Perri’s cold scrutiny.

‘Except if it came from you, Perri,’ he said seriously. ‘I’d prefer the word swift, though. And you can’t say I’m not swift.’

‘What have I told you about talking back?’ Perri’s voice was cold and hard.

‘Not to,’ Froi muttered.

He knew he should have counted. It was the rule to count to ten in his head before he opened his mouth. It was the rule to count to ten if he wanted to smash a man in the face for saying something he didn’t like. It was the rule to count to ten if instinct wasn’t needed, but common sense was. It was part of his bond to Trevanion and Perri and the Queen’s Guard. Froi did a lot of counting.

They began walking again, silent for what seemed too long a time. Then Finnikin shoved him with a shoulder and Froi stumbled, laughing.

BOOK: Froi of the Exiles
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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