I’m with #PhoenixCrew
By Bryony Pearce
Pub Date: 1st June 2015
Price: £6.99 Format: Paperback Age: 13+
From award-winning author Bryony Pearce comes this fast-paced and gripping YA trilogy set in a future world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed.
An outlawed pirate crew fight for survival on their ship, the Phoenix, kept afloat by whatever they can salvage or scavenge from the debris-filled seas. Toby’s father is a wanted man. For as long as Toby can remember, they’ve been on the run. The Phoenix has become their home, their backyard the junk-filled seas surrounding it.
The crew of the Banshee lives for hunting down the Phoenix and now they’re closing in. Ayla has spent her whole life fighting – preparing for the moment when the Banshee will face its ultimate enemy. But Toby doesn’t want to run any more and Ayla is his only hope. Can he turn an old feud into a new alliance? The future is in their hands.
To survive, would you join the #BansheeCrew – feared and fearless – or will you ally with the #PhoenixCrew – trusting and true?
Bryony lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition and has also won the Leeds Book Award and Cheshire Schools Book Award. She is the author of two published novels; Angel’s Fury and The Weight of Souls. Bryony has never shied from writing about substantial topics as Angel’s Fury has the Holocaust at its core and The Weight of Souls explores the idea of vengeance. In Phoenix Rising, Bryony examines a dystopian, near-future setting resulting from environmental and political collapse of the world based on scientific and political predictions.
Readers are swearing their allegiance @StripesBooks – Which crew will you join?
Read the excerpt below for a taster!
Phoenix Rising Extract
“You, there. Stop. All hands below deck.”
It was with a kind of awful relief that Toby realized he had been spotted. Even as his heart sunk, he straightened, tightened his hand around Nix and turned.
A single member of the Banshee’s crew stood silhouetted above him.
“You’re not crew. Who are you?” The voice was high, undoubtedly female.
Toby’s hand tightened on Nix and he sidestepped as the figure cartwheeled from the deck to land in front of him.
As she flew, a long coat like Nell’s flapped behind her. Her booted feet landed with a bone-jarring thud. Next to her the scrawny cat landed on silent paws. Toby watched as it wound itself around his legs, claws ticking through the puddles on the walkway.
Then it went to sit beside its mistress, growling low in its throat, as if daring Toby to move.
As the figure straightened, Toby stared. He was facing a girl who had to be about his age. His hand loosened on Nix.
All the crewmen of the Banshee that Toby had seen so far were shaven and tattooed; men or women, it didn’t seem to matter. This girl wore her long hair loose. Tiny braids decorated with beads and feathers kept it from falling into her eyes. Beneath the decoration, her hair was the colour of oil – a shiny black with prisms of colour beneath.
Toby balanced against the rise and fall of the ship and stared. The girl’s eyes were shockingly green – algae on seawater. Her face was as tanned as Toby’s own, but her skin was not as salt-burned or work-rough. She hadn’t the perfect face of the girls Toby had seen in his dreams. Her cheeks were hollow, her nose had clearly been broken at least once and she had a thin scar bisecting her lower lip.
As he exhaled, his breath shivered in the air between them and the girl put her hands on her hips to reveal black leather trousers and a tight waxed jerkin beneath her coat.
“Polly want a cracker,” Polly muttered, her warning obvious.
The cat hissed and Polly squawked angrily.
“I told them that boy was too young to be Ford’s son. You’re Toby, aren’t you?” The girl frowned. “Then who do we have in the cage?”
Toby growled. “That’s Hiko. I’m taking him home.” Finally he stepped backwards to run and the girl grinned.
“I don’t think so, boy.” Before Toby could react, she had grabbed his shoulders, slammed her forehead between his eyes, released him and leaped back.
Toby reeled from the sudden viciousness of the head-butt. Flashes of light burst in his vision and pain stabbed through his head. Half blind, he staggered, secured his grip on Nix and swung blindly.
The girl had already drawn a long knife from her belt. Nix clanged into the knife and struck on the hilt with an impact that shuddered up Toby’s arm.
He pulled free. “Sorr—” Half an apology slipped out, but the girl was already taking back her knife and lashing out with steel toecaps. Instinctively Toby blocked with Nix, making barely a dent in her thick boot leather. At the same time he remembered Callum’s favourite move from their sparring sessions and stepped in closer to her, his elbow aimed for her face.
The girl blocked with her own elbow and swung her left fist. Toby spun backwards, trying for the leg sweep, but the girl was also spinning, her coat flying behind her with a snap. Both missed.
They paused, panting and glaring at one another. Toby held Nix up and the girl held her knife in one hand, weaving it back and forth in front of her face. The other fist was closed in front of her sternum, protecting herself.
“Who are you?” Toby gasped, but the girl shook her head.
Then they were moving again. She slashed for Toby’s throat, but Nix flew, blocking her attack. Toby pressed against her knife and shoved her backwards. Then he lashed out with his feet, trying to plant his heel in her stomach. The girl shifted, but he caught her side. Air flew out of her, then she was already hacking towards his ankle. Toby moved, but not fast enough; pain burned and his blood dripped on to the deck. He hopped, sparing a quick glance downwards. A line of scarlet ran down his shin. He put his injured leg behind him, and raised Nix high, pinning his eyes on the delicate fingers that held the knife.
Polly flapped anxiously and the cat yowled, swiping upwards with wickedly sharp claws.
As Toby glanced towards his parrot, the girl feinted. Toby went to block, only to find a fist hammering into his kidney. It hurt, but he’d survived worse from Peel. He was lucky she had missed his injured rib. Somehow Toby managed to turn his lurch into a low block, caught her next slice on his leather glove, put his back to her and planted his elbow in her sternum.
The girl’s howl of rage was silenced by the outrushing of air. As she bent, Toby pressed his advantage by turning and hammering his fist into her side. Then he leaped backwards, leaving her to totter into the hull and lean on the wall, retching.
Toby gave her space. “You know who I am. Tell me who you are.”
The girl curled her lip, panting heavily. “I’m the one who’ll be taking you in.”
“Then tell me your name.” Toby pointed Nix towards his feet.
Eventually the girl shrugged. “My name is Ayla and I am second in command on the Banshee.” She raised her knife. “And seeing as you’re so fascinated by names, this is Boudicca.” She gestured with her blade to point to the cat. “I’ve been easy on you so far, but not any more. Will you come quietly?”