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Authors: Alex Milway

The Mousehunter

BOOK: The Mousehunter
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Copyright © 2008 by Alex Milway

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Little, Brown and Company

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at
www.lb-kids.com

First eBook Edition: February 2009

First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Faber and Faber Limited

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

ISBN: 978-0-316-06997-7

Contents

Prologue: Welcome to Old Town

The Mousekeeper

The Sharpclaw Mouse

The Privateer

The Messenger Mouse

Running Away

The Rigger Mouse

The Flying Fox

The Elephant Mouse

The Giant ’s Reach

The Sylakia Mouse

Algernon

The Moose Mouse

The Creeping Fog

The Magnetical Mouse

The Silver Shark

The Powder Mouse

Mousebeard

The Dung Mouse

Giant Island

The Howling Moon Mouse

The Stolen Cargo

The Golden Mouse

The Mutinous Crew

The Orange Mouse of Niladia

The Return to Old Town

The Methuselah Mouse

A Secret Past

The Comet Mouse

The Old Town Spy

The Miramus

The Shadow of Pirate’s Wharf

The Nosferatu Mouse

The Day of Execution

The Cadaver Mouse

The Tail End

The Boffin Mouse

The Bond of Friendship

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

 

A
LEX
M
ILWAY
was born in 1978 in Hereford, England. After finishing art school and spending a number of years in magazine publishing, he finally managed to finish a book. He now lives in London with his girlfriend and a curly-haired cat called Milo.

For Katie

A mouse of little consequence is a rare thing indeed.

Isiah Lovelock

PROLOGUE

Welcome to Old Town

T
HE NIGHT HAD BEEN QUIET SO FAR — ONLY THREE
bodies to speak of, and none of them carried anything of worth to Mr. Droob. It was a bad night’s work if fewer than ten washed ashore, and to bide his time he sat quietly spying the river, rubbing his hands to keep warm.

At the riverside, the Pirate’s Wharf gibbet creaked and swayed in the breeze, the last remains of its long-dead pirate struggling to cling to its irons. Mr. Droob watched the thin fog roll off the water, enveloping the dying glow of the street lamps. He saw his assistant leap up to ring the warning bell: another body approached.

Mr. Droob strode down to the river, buttoning his jacket on the way. His assistant waited silently, watching as the body floated nearer. In his arm rested a long hooked pole, and with a looping stretch he dropped it onto the body. It caught at the waist, and he pulled it in.

A quick glance showed clearly that it was the body of a man, and a sailor at that: his blue flared trousers, dirty and torn, and his bloodstained shirt were the clothes of the merchant navy.

With a stomach-churning groan, his assistant took hold of the heavy, lifeless body and dragged it up the bank. With little ceremony he searched the corpse, checking for rich pickings. There seemed nothing of any worth, no pocket watch, knife, or coins, but tied to the man’s neck was a small wooden box.

Mr. Droob picked it up and shook it gently. It weighed very little, but there was something inside. Nailed to the box was a metal plate with an inscription, and Mr. Droob’s eyes sparkled when he read its words.

“Well, well, well,” he said. “What a find . . . what a find indeed!”

The Mousekeeper

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