Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools

BOOK: Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools
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Also by Philip Caveney:
Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates





Illustrated by Julek Heller



This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.


ISBN 9781407042039


Version 1.0




ISBN: 9781407042039


Version 1.0


First published in Great Britain by The Bodley Head
an imprint of Random House Children's Books
A Random House Group Company


The Bodley Head edition published 2007
Red Fox edition published 2008


1 3 5 7 9 1 0 8 6 4 2


Copyright © Philip Caveney, 2007


Cover illustration by Jonny Duddle
Inside illustrations by Julek Heller
Illustrations © Random House Children's Books 2008


The right of Philip Caveney to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


This electronic book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser


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Set in Palatino by Falcon Oast Graphic Art Ltd.


Red Fox Books are published by Random House Children's Books,
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A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


To the hens in the coop . . .
And for Charlie, without whom . . .



The ancient wooden caravan creaked slowly out from the cover of the trees and stopped for a moment on the wide stretch of plain.


If there had been anyone to observe the scene they would have noticed the words,
painted gaily on the sides of the caravan. Those with a keener eye might also have noticed that the word 'Sebastian' looked somehow different to the rest of the sentence. It had been added in a rather wobbly, amateurish hand, clearly over-painting another name that had already been there.


The sun was low on the horizon and Sebastian was obliged to shade his eyes with the flat of one hand as he gazed off into the shimmering, heat-rippled distance. The land ahead of him was flat, arid, featureless red earth, baked by the sun, with here and there the occasional bunch of scrubby grass thrusting tenaciously through the soil. He had no real idea how far it was to the city of Keladon, but a merchant he had met the previous day had warned him to expect to travel for at least three days and nights.


'It's a good distance,' the merchant had told him. 'And those plains are infested with Brigands. You'd better sleep with one eye open, Elf-man.'


Sebastian was well used to this term, though he didn't much care for it. He was a 'breed' – the son of a human father and an elvish mother. His tall stature and handsome features clearly came from his father's side of the family, but his mother's lineage was there too, reflected in the large jet-black irises of his eyes and his long, slightly pointed ears. His gangly frame was accentuated by the striped black and white costume he was wearing, complete with a tall three-pronged hat topped by jingling bells. The costume had been his father's and hung rather loosely on Sebastian, but he had steadfastly refused his mother's offers to alter it, saying that in time he would grow to fit the clothing. Fitting comfortably into the role of a jester might take a little longer.


Sebastian clicked his tongue and slapped the reins against the shaggy haunches of Max, the single buffalope that pulled the caravan. Max snorted, shook his great horned head and set off again at his usual leisurely pace. He had been in the Darke family for as long as Sebastian could remember; indeed, one of his earliest memories was of his father lifting

BOOK: Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools
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