The Midnight Palace
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In the heart of
Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life. . . .
Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere's sixteenth birthday, the mysterious threat reenters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape. With the help of their brave friends, the twins will have to take a stand against the terror that watches them in the shadows of the night--and face the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces.
is to take my leave and allow the facts to speak for themselves. I’ll never forget the fear on the faces of my friends the night it snowed in Calcutta. But, as Ben used to tell me, the best place to start a story is at the beginning … Calcutta, May 1916 SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT A BOAT EMERGED OUT of the mist that rose like a fetid curse from the surface of the Hooghly River. The faint glow of a flickering lantern attached to the mast revealed the figure of a man wrapped in a cape, rowing
was and of my daughter, the great woman who gave life to her. I never told her more than I thought was necessary. I was naive enough to think that time and space would eventually erase all traces of the past, but our footprints are never lost. When I received that letter I knew my flight had come to an end and I must return to Calcutta to warn you. I wasn’t honest in the letter I wrote to you that night, Mr Carter, but I acted according to my heart, believing deep in my soul that I was doing the
exist.’ ‘Then we’ll have to search for them,’ Isobel said. ‘They could be a good starting point.’ ‘I’ll help Seth,’ said Michael. Isobel nodded vigorously. ‘We must find out everything we can about this man, his life, and also the amazing house which is supposed to be somewhere near here. Tracing it might lead us to the murderer.’ ‘We’ll look for the house,’ suggested Siraj, pointing at himself and Roshan. ‘If it exists, we’ll find it,’ Roshan added. ‘Fine, but don’t go inside,’ warned
again. There was no reply. Holding the dagger firmly, she placed her left hand on the door handle and gently pulled it down. The rusty mechanism groaned after years of disuse. Gradually the door opened and the bluish brightness of the night sky cast a fan of light into the interior of the house. There was nobody there. The undergrowth stirred, the murmur of an ocean of small dry leaves. Aryami peered round the door and looked, first to one side, then to the other, but the courtyard was deserted.
‘We’ve looked everywhere,’ Roshan replied. ‘We can’t do any more. Let’s at least go and get help.’ ‘There’s one place we haven’t visited …’ Roshan gazed through the mist at the sinister structure of Jheeter’s Gate. ‘Isobel wouldn’t be crazy enough to go in there.’ He sighed. ‘Nor would I.’ ‘I’ll go by myself then,’ said Siraj, standing up. Roshan heard him wheezing. He closed his eyes despondently. ‘Sit down,’ he said, but he could already hear Siraj heading towards the bridge. When he