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Authors: Robin Jarvis

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The Deptford Mice 2: The Crystal Prison

BOOK: The Deptford Mice 2: The Crystal Prison
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Table of Contents

THE DEPTFORD MICE

 

THE CRYSTAL PRISON

 

ROBIN JARVIS

Acorn Independent Press

Also by the Author

 

Dancing Jax

Dancing Jax 2: Freax and Rejex

The Thorn Ogres of Hagwood

THE DEPTFORD MICE

The Crystal Prison

The Final Reckoning

THE DEPTFORD MOUSELETS

Fleabee’s Fortune

Whortle’s Hope

THE DEPTFORD HISTORIES

The Alchymist’s Cat

The Oaken Throne

Thomas
TALES FROM THE WYRD MUSEUM

The Woven Path

The Raven’s Path

The Fatal Strand
THE WHITBY WITCHES

The Whitby Witches

A Warlock in Whitby

The Whitby Child

Visit the author’s website:

www.robinjarvis.com

Acorn Independent Press Ltd

125 Clock House Road

Beckenham

Kent

BR3 4JY

First Published in Great Britain in 1989 by Macdonald & Company (Publishers) Ltd

This edition published in Great Britain in 2012 by Acorn Independent Press Ltd

The Author hereby asserts his moral rights to be identified as the Author of the Work.

Copyright © Robin Jarvis 1989

ISBN: 978-1-908318-77-0

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent, this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

www.robinjarvis.com

www.acornindependentpress.com

Robin Jarvis writes: ‘Whenever I am asked where I get my ideas for books and characters, I always wish I could come up with some weird and wonderful answer: “I dream them,” for example, or, “I get inspired whenever there’s a full moon.” But, unfortunately, neither of these is true. Like many writers, I sometimes base my characters on real people (or parts of real people) and sometimes they are the complete product of my imagination. But they generally all start as a sketch or drawing and then take shape as a character is developed around them.

‘I started making sketches of mice because they were the smallest things I could think of to draw. When I sent them to a publisher, I was asked if there was a story to go with the drawings. At the same time there wasn’t, but I sat down and thought of a project visually and drew a story board as though I were making a film. I had envisaged it as a picture book, but it became a 70,000 word manuscript, and the basis for The Dark Portal.

‘My editor thought this manuscript would make a trilogy because it was so long. So I went away and cut it, and then came up with new ideas for books two and three of The Deptford Mice Trilogy – The Crystal Prison and The Final Reckoning. And I’ve been writing ever since.

‘I can’t think of a better way to earn a living!’

For the rest of my family, who now live
without the light of my father

THE MICE
 

AUDREY BROWN

Tends to dream. She likes to look her best and wears lace and ribbons. Audrey cannot hold her tongue in an argument, and often says more than she should.

ARTHUR BROWN

Fat and jolly, Arthur likes a scrap but always comes off worse.

GWEN BROWN

Gentle wife of Albert and caring mother of Arthur and Audrey. Her love of her family binds it together and keeps it strong.

ARABEL CHITTER

Silly old gossip who gets on the nerves of everyone in the Skirtings.

OSWALD CHITTER

Arabel’s son is an albino runt. Oswald is very weak and is not allowed to join in some of the rougher games.

PICCADILLY

A cheeky young mouse from the city, Piccadilly has no parents and is very independent.

MADAME AKKIKUYU

A black rat from Morocco. She used to tell fortunes until her mind was broken in the chamber of Jupiter.

KEMPE

A travelling trader mouse – he journeys far and wide selling his goods and singing lewd songs.

THE STAR WIFE

A venerable old squirrel who lives under the Greenwich Observatory. Her motives are good but her methods are cruel.

THE FENNYWOLDERS
 

WILLIAM SCUTTLE OR ‘TWIT’

A simple fieldmouse who has been visiting his mother’s kin. Twit is a cheerful fieldmouse who looks on the bright side.

ELIJAH AND GLADWIN SCUTTLE

Twit’s parents, Gladwin is Mrs Chitter’s sister but ran away from Deptford when she was young after she found Elijah injured in the garden.

ISAAC NETTLE

A staunch Green Mouser. He is a bitter, grim figure but many of the fieldmice listen to his ravings.

JENKIN NETTLE

A jolly mouse who suffers at the paws of his father.

ALISON SLEDGE

A country beauty who flirts with all the boys. She is vain and loves to preen herself.

YOUNG WHORTLE, SAMUEL GORSE, TODKIN, HODGE AND FIGGY BOTTOM

Five young friends who delight in climbing the corn stems and seeking adventure.

MAHOOT

A wicked barn owl who loves mouse for supper.

MR WOODRUFFE

A very sensible mouse who has been elected to the honourable position of the King of the Field.

NICODEMUS

Mysterious spirit in the mouse mythology. He is the essence of all growing things whose power is greatest in the summer.

The Dark Portal
 

The Crystal Prison
is the second book in the story of the Deptford Mice, which began with
The Dark Portal.
In Book One, Audrey and Arthur Brown, two innocent town mice, are drawn into the sewers beneath the streets of Deptford in search of Audrey’s mousebrass

a magical charm given to her by the Green Mouse, the mystical spirit of Spring. Deep within the underground tunnels, the two mice discover the nightmare realm of Jupiter, the unseen but terrifying lord of the rats.

Audrey and Arthur are helped by a number of characters: Oswald, a sickly albino mouse often mistaken for a rat; Twit, Oswald’s cousin and a simple country mouse; Piccadilly, a cheeky young mouse from the city; and Madame
Akkikuyu,
a black rat who ekes out a living peddling potions and telling phoney fortunes.

The Deptford Mice discover that Jupiter is concocting a terrible plan

to release the Black Death upon London once again. However, with the help of the Green Mouse, the mice confound Jupiter’s plot and lure him out of his lair. To their horror, they discover that Jupiter is not a rat at all, but a monstrous cat, grown bloated and evil by years of hatred in the sewers.

Audrey throws her mousebrass into Jupiter’s face; it explodes and sends the giant cat tumbling into the deep sewer water. As he struggles to save himself, the souls of his many victims rise out of the waves and drag him down to a watery death.

Smoke Over Deptford
 

It was a hot day in Deptford. A terrible stench hung over the housing estates, and increased as the sun rose higher in the sky. It was strongest on a building site near the river. There the air was thick and poisonous. The builders themselves choked and covered their faces with their handkerchiefs.

At the edge of the site, next to the river wall was an untidy pile of yellowing newspapers. They lay in a mouldering heap amongst the loose bricks and spreading nettles. It was here that the stink began.

One of the builders came trudging up, his worn, tough boots waded through the weeds and paused at the newspaper mound. A scuffed toe tentatively nudged some of them aside and a dark cloud of angry, buzzing flies flew out. Revealed beneath the papers was the rotting body of an horrific giant cat.

Jupiter was dead. The evil lord of the rats had met his end weeks before in the deep, dark sewer water. His immense body had sunk to the muddy bottom, where underwater currents pulled and swayed his corpse this way and that. Slowly he rolled out of the altar chamber and through a submerged archway.

Into the tunnels he had drifted, turning over and over in the water. One minute his grisly unseeing eyes would be staring at the arched ceiling above and the next glaring down into the cold dark depths. As he rolled over in this way his great jaws lolled open lending him the illusion of life. Like a snarling demon he turned. But he was dead. For some days Jupiter bobbed up and down in the sewer passages until stronger forces gripped him and suddenly, with a rush of water he was flushed out into the River Thames. The gulls and other birds left him well alone, and for a while all fish abandoned that stretch of the river.

BOOK: The Deptford Mice 2: The Crystal Prison
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