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Authors: Fiona Paul

Starling

BOOK: Starling
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The
SECRETS
of the
E T E RN AL
R O S E
Attention Reader:

Please note that this is not a finished book.
A bound galley is the first stage of printer’s proofs, which has
not been corrected by the author, publisher, or printer.
The design, artwork, page length, and format are subject
to change, and typographical errors will be corrected
during the course of production.
If you quote from this galley, please indicate that
your review is based on uncorrected text.

Thank you,
Philomel Books

UNCORRECTED PROOF
Coming in March 2014 from Philomel Books
an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group

www.penguin.com/youngreaders
March • Fiction • 6 x 9 • 336 pages • Ages 14 up • Grades 9 up
$17.99 USA
$19.00 CAN
There is nothing more dangerous that a secret closely kept . . .
C

ass and Luca are fugitives, on the run from the law and
the deadly Order of the Eternal Rose. As they separate
to pursue the only evidence that could save them, their
worlds—and their romance—are torn apart by spiteful
friends and murderous enemies.

When Cass finds herself ensnared in the Order’s twisted plot,
Falco emerges once again as her only hope for freedom. But it turns
out Luca has a shocking scheme of his own.

From ancient mercenaries to sly magicians, from clever courtesans to vengeful killers, no one can be trusted. In the breathtaking
conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, Cass must confront the Order and once and for all decide her destiny. Who will fly
beside her when she finally finds her wings?

PHILOMEL BOOKS
an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com/youngreaders
Manufactured in the USA

F
IONA PAUL
is a writer, wanderer, and free spirit, with degrees
in psychology and secondary education. She’s traveled all over the
world, and many of the scenes in
Venom
and
Belladonna
were inspired by real-life experiences (though she won’t tell you which ones).
She now makes her home in St. Louis, Missouri. Her future goals
include diving with great white sharks and writing more books, but
not necessarily in that order.

You can visit Fiona Paul at
WWW.FIONAPAULBOOKS.COM
and read her blog at
FIONAPAULBOOKS.BLOGSPOT.COM

Jacket art © 2014 by TK
Cover design by Kristin Smith
Also by the same author:
Venom
Belladonna
TO YOU, THE READER.
Thanks for taking this journey with Cassandra and me.

Philomel Books

An imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Published by The Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, USA.

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
For more information about the Penguin Group, visit penguin.com

Copyright © 2014 by Paper Lantern Lit LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or
electronic form without permission in writing from the publisher. Philomel Books, Reg. U.S. Pat. &
Tm. Off. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the
author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Paul, Fiona.
Starling / Fiona Paul.
pages cm—(Secrets of the Eternal Rose ; 3)
Summary: “Cass and Luca are back in Venice, trying to
find the Book of the Eternal Rose to clear Luca’s name and keep them both out of prison”—Provided
by publisher.
[1. Mystery and detective stories. 2. Adventure and adventurers—Fiction.
3. Secret societies—Fiction. 4. Social classes—Fiction. 5. Love—Fiction. 6. Venice (Italy)—
History—1508–1797—Fiction. 7. Italy—History—1559–1789—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.P278345St 2014 [Fic]—dc23 2013012455

Published simultaneously in Canada. Printed in the United States of America.
ISBN 978-0-399-25727-8
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Edited by Jill Santopolo. Design by Amy Wu. Text set in 12.5-point Winchester New ITC Std.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or
third-party websites or their content.

 

The
S E C R ETS
of the
ET E R N A L
RO S E
FIONA PAU L
Philomel Books

AN IMPRINT OF PENGUIN GROUP (USA) INC.

 

“Infection tunnels deep within, poisoning
the blood and sapping one’s strength.”
—THE BOOK OF THE ETERNAL ROSE
one
W

hen the last drop of light drained from the sky,
Cass and Luca crept out of the shed where they
had been hiding. Cass took a moment to
stretch, her muscles grateful to be free of the
cramped enclosure. After Luca had torn open his shoulder escaping

from the Doge’s dungeons, the wound had festered, leaving him feverish and incapacitated for nearly a week. Cass knew each day that
passed meant fewer people would be searching for them, but the
waiting had been agony. She was desperate to resume her quest to
destroy the Order of the Eternal Rose.

There was only one way to do that—find the Book of the Eternal
Rose and pray it contained enough evidence of wrongdoing to bring
the Order’s members to justice. Hatred coiled inside of Cass like a
tangle of serpents. She embraced it, channeled it toward the task at
hand. “The shore is this way,” she said.

Luca squeezed her fingers as they turned off the path, and she
relaxed slightly. The whispering tide ebbed and flowed just out of
sight. The wind was warm but brisk, whipping the fabric of her dress


1 •

up around her legs. Luca walked stiffly, his injured arm cradled
against his torso. They traveled east along the water until Cass found
what she was looking for—an old
batèla
tied to a wooden dock. She
glanced around. A handful of cottages—all dark—stood nearby. The
boat might belong to any of them.

Walking boldly out onto the dock, Cass knelt down and loosened
the rope that moored the small rowboat. “Get in,” she told Luca.
He paused. “Is there no other way than to steal from peasants?”
“Our alleged crimes have gone beyond mere theft,” Cass said.
She didn’t remind him that they were heading to Villa Querini so
they could steal from her beloved aunt. There was no other way.
Cass and Luca would need money to return to Florence and seek out
the book. It was safer for Agnese if she believed they were dead. “Besides, someone will probably find the craft and return it.” Nimbly,
Cass’s fingers worked through the knots while Luca watched with a
mixture of surprise and admiration.
“I had no idea your talents were so . . . varied,” he said.
Cass smiled. It felt like the first smile in days. “Wait until you see
me row.”
And row she did. Wood ground against metal as she pulled the
oars, leaning into each stroke, her muscles burning in protest as the
boat moved slowly and steadily through the lagoon. She scanned
the water as she rowed, looking for other craft, for boats that held
soldiers, for anything out of the ordinary. But the night was a curtain
of blackness, with nothing but a hazy moon to guide her. If they suddenly came upon another boat, there very well might be a crash.
Luca took in each of her movements, the expression on his face
suddenly making Cass feel shy.

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