Authors: Margaret Rogerson
Elisabeth answered them, but they didn’t believe her, and she suspected that they never would. Not the whole story—that it was Silas who had truly
saved them all.
As soon as they reached home, Nathaniel vanished into his study, complaining about paperwork. He had volunteered to help with identifying the magical artifacts salvaged from Ashcroft Manor, which was in the process of being renovated into a new state-of-the-art hospital. Surprisingly, Lord Kicklighter himself had taken up the initiative with all the enthusiasm of a general charging
into battle. Having shut down Leadgate, he was now eyeing the other institutions that Ashcroft had funded.
Weariness descended over Elisabeth as she stood in the foyer. Strange, how many memories could exist together in a single place. There was the armchair Silas had put her in, when he’d argued with Nathaniel to let her stay. There was where they fought the Codex after it turned into a Malefict.
Where she had wiped Nathaniel’s blood from the floor after the Royal Ball, and sat waiting, not once but twice, to hear from Dr. Godfrey whether he would live or die. And where, her first morning here, Silas had brushed his gloved fingers over the empty space on the wall . . .
Some days, the memories hung over her like a weight. Each was light enough to bear on its own, but combined, they could
make it difficult to even walk up the stairs. And yet, she wouldn’t
trade them away for anything. Their existence made this house, this life, a place she had fought for and won. A place where she belonged.
“Excuse me, miss!” Mercy called out, sweeping past with a mop, broom, and bucket all balanced in her arms at the same time. Elisabeth lurched forward to help, but Mercy waved her off with a
She was the first servant Nathaniel had agreed to hire. During those initial grueling days he had refused to consider anyone, until Elisabeth had tracked Mercy down using the records from Leadgate Hospital and brought her straight into his sickroom, where Mercy had declared stoutly, “I’m no stranger to people screaming in the night. And I’m not going to judge you for it neither.” She had
moved in by the end of the day.
“Please, call me Elisabeth!” Elisabeth shouted at Mercy’s back, before she vanished around the corner. She kept trying to explain that it felt strange to be called “miss” by someone her own age. Yet, privately, that was only part of the reason why it made her uncomfortable. In truth, being addressed that way reminded her far too much of Silas.
Instead of returning
directly to her bedroom, she wandered farther down the hall and around the corner, where the once-locked door of the summoning room stood ajar. She poked her head in, gazing around at the boxes and furniture that had accumulated inside. On a whim, she pushed aside two chairs and a rolled-up rug to uncover the pentagram.
She and Nathaniel had spent countless nights in here during his recovery,
when he couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time but still insisted on making the journey down the hall. Together, over and over, they had lit the candles. Night after night, they had spoken Silas’s true name.
And each time no unearthly breeze had answered them, no stirring of the curtains or ruffling of the flames.
They had never admitted out loud that Silas was gone. She supposed that
was something that would come later. But one day Mercy had needed to move some boxes, and in her usual practical manner had happened to put them in here. More boxes had joined them, followed by other odds and ends. Weeks had somehow passed without Elisabeth noticing how drastically the room had changed.
Was that what it meant to lose someone? The pain never went away. It just got . . . covered
Meditatively, she moved the half-burnt, toppled over candles back into their proper positions. Her fingertips traced over the pentagram’s grooves. It still hurt that Silas had no memorial, no grave. This carving on the floor was all she had left to remember him by. In some ways it was as though he had never existed at all.
She would have to talk to Nathaniel about that. Perhaps they could
come up with something together. It would help Nathaniel, she thought, to have a place to visit, and perhaps leave flowers from time to time.
For now, for her, this would have to suffice.
She lit the candles, doing so in counterclockwise order out of habit. A strange sort of remembrance this was, holding a wake by herself in a room full of spare furniture. What would Silas think if he could
see her? The ceremony wouldn’t be up to his usual standards. But she doubted he would mind, even if he pretended to.
After she’d lit the final candle and shook out the match, she paused. An idea had stolen into her mind like an errant draft, elusive and unexpected.
No . . . of course that wouldn’t work. Even so, she found the thought impossible to shake.
Moving slowly, she pricked her finger
on the knife, and touched the blood to the circle. She sat back on her heels. Every time they had attempted to summon Silas, they had used his Enochian name. But what if—?
He had defied the Archon to save them. He had betrayed his own kind. The version of him that had won out in the end hadn’t been Silariathas, ruthless and cold. It had been his other side that had fought and emerged victorious,
What if . . . what if?
She steadied herself, trying to calm the furious pounding of her heart. Into the silence, she said simply, “Silas.”
At first, nothing. Then the hair hanging in front of her face stirred, as though moved by a breath. A sourceless breeze fluttered the fringe of the rolled-up carpet. A paper blew across the room, fetching up against the wall.
And all five candles
snuffed out at once.
The sophomore novel can be notoriously difficult to write, and my experience was no exception. I’m eternally grateful to my agent, Sara Megibow, and my editor, Karen Wojtyla, for their support as I struggled to write this second book. Without their understanding and patience, I would never have had the opportunity to find this story.
I owe a huge thanks to my entire publishing
team at McElderry Books. Thank you, Nicole Fiorica, for answering my ridiculous questions so kindly. Thank you also to Bridget Madsen, Lisa Moraleda, Sonia Chaghatzbanian, Beth Parker, Justin Chanda, Anne Zafian, Chrissy Noh, and Ellen Winkler for helping this book become the best it could be, inside and out. And I owe my soul to Charlie Bowater, whose beautiful cover illustrations still leave me
in awe every time I look at them.
Next, I would like to apologize to my parents, who put up with a great deal of bizarre, stress-induced behavior while I finished this book, and also made sure I didn’t starve to death. “Thank you” doesn’t begin to cover it. I’m also grateful to my
big brother, Jon Rogerson, and my honorary sister, Kate Frasca; and Denise Frasca, for supporting my work so enthusiastically.
Jessica Stoops and Rachel Boughton: you already know how much you mean to me, and that I wouldn’t be the same writer or person without the two of you. Thank you. And thank you to my dear friends Jamie Brinkman, Kristi Rudie, Erin Phelps, Nicole Stamper, Liz Fiacco, Jessica Kernan, Katy Kania, and Desiree Wilson for being the best group of people I could ever hope to know.
Fellow authors Katherine
Arden, Jessica Cluess, Stephanie Garber, Heather Fawcett, Emily Duncan, Isabel Ibañez Davis, Ashley Poston, and Laura Weymouth—thank you for your wisdom and friendship and incredible books; this journey would be lonely without you.
Last but never least, I’m grateful beyond measure to the independent booksellers who have championed my work, including Allison Senecal, Nicole Brinkley, Sarah True,
Cristina Russell, and Rachel Strolle. Thank you so much. You rock.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Enchantment of Ravens. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing, she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of
hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at
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Also by Margaret Rogerson
An Enchantment of Ravens
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This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2019 by Margaret Rogerson Jacket illustration copyright © 2019 by Charlie Bowater All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
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Map by Robert Lazzaretti
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Jacket illustration copyright © 2019 by Charlie Bowater
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Rogerson, Margaret, author.
Title: Sorcery of thorns / Margaret Rogerson.
Description: First edition. | New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books,  | Summary: When apprentice librarian Elisabeth is implicated in sabotage that released the library’s most dangerous grimoire, she becomes entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy that could mean the end of everything.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018037616 (print) | ISBN 9781481497619 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781481497633 (eBook)
Subjects: | CYAC: Apprentices—Fiction. | Libraries—Fiction. | Magic—Fiction. | Foundlings—Fiction. | Fantasy.
Classification: LCC PZ7.1.R6635 Sor 2019 (print) | DDC [Fic]—dc23
LC record available at
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