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Authors: Deva Fagan

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BOOK: Circus Galacticus
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He meets my gaze for a long moment, then nods as the terrible tension in his face ebbs away.

"So that's our place," I say, smiling. "That's what we do."

The Ringmaster's eyebrows rise toward the brim of his top hat. "We?"

"If you'll still have me. Even if I'm never more than a pink-haired-clown dancing-fruit person. This is where I belong."

"I'm ... glad to hear it." There's a catch in his voice. The Ringmaster doesn't look at me, but I can almost feel the shape of the space between us, no longer filled with fear, but with possibilities.

He clears his throat and continues on breezily. "But don't abandon all hope. You had the Tinkers' Treasure in your hands. You may not have used its power for yourself, but that doesn't mean it hasn't left its mark. And then there's this."

He holds out a familiar, gold-filigreed book. The cover reads
The Programme of the Circus Galacticus, Thirteenth Edition.

"Thirteenth? How? What changed?"

He grins, flipping it open. And there it is, at the bottom of the cast list.

"The Champion: She who guards the Dreamers and stands undaunted before the King of Iron and Flame." I skim the rest, not quite taking it in.

"No way. Really?"

"Unless you know someone else with a 'brave spirit and hair like a sunset sky,' I think there's little doubt who it's referring to. So," he adds, "Clown or Principal? You'd be within rights to trade in for a star." The Ringmaster's smile is a riddle, but I know the answer.

We stand there, our faces turned to the galaxies wheeling past. It's not the desert, and I can't forget what I've lost. But that's okay.

"I've got all the stars I need right here."


I wrote this book in an attempt to capture some of the wonder and awe I feel every time I look up at the stars. I would like to express my deepest thanks to the scientists, astronauts, and all the other men and women who have worked over the years to understand and explore our universe. I'd particularly like to thank (and recommend!) the folks behind
, who provide a wealth of fascinating, inspiring, and accessible information about all sorts of topics related to astronomy.


Many thanks are also due to Karen Jordan Allen, R. J. Anderson, Geoff Bottone, Melissa Caruso, Megan Crewe, Erin Dionne, Robert Dunham, Megan Frazer, Robin Merrow MacCready, Patty Murray, Cindy Pon, Jon Skovron, and Luanne Wrenn for reading various versions of this manuscript and helping me to make it better.


I remain grateful to my agent Shawna McCarthy for being my advocate and adviser, and to my editor Reka Simonsen for her wise insights and attention to detail. Many thanks to everyone who helped produce this book, including Sarah Dotts Barley, Ana Deboo, Su Box, and the team at Harcourt.


And last but not least, I thank my wonderful, amazing family. Mom, Dad, Dave, and my beloved Bob, thank you for your support. You are my stars!

BOOK: Circus Galacticus
5.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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