Read Arcadia Awakens Online

Authors: Kai Meyer

Tags: #Fantasy, #Romance, #Young Adult

Arcadia Awakens

Arcadia Awakens
Arkadien [1]
Kai Meyer
Balzer + Bray (2009)
Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

To New Yorker Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic, and wholly unknown. But when tragedy strikes, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where her sister and aunt have built their lives and where centuries of family secrets await her. Once there, Rosa wastes no time falling head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both intrigue and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

Ancient myths brought to life in the Sicilian countryside, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a long history of familial bloodlust prove to Rosa that she can’t trust anyone—not even her own family. Torn between loyalty to her aunt and love for her family’s mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love . . . or run as far and as fast as she can.


“Those interested in stories of forbidden love and family secrets will enjoy reading as Rosa is faced with her family’s mafia ties and dark secrets. This is a worthy addition to any teen collection, especially those who find their patrons gravitating toward darker fantasy.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) )

About the Author

Kai Meyer is one of Germany’s most successful authors, with millions of books sold worldwide, and his novels have been translated into thirty languages. The British edition of
The Flowing Queen
(published in the U.S. as
The Water Mirror
) won the 2007 Marsh Award for Best Children’s Book in Translation and his historical novel
The Vow
was turned into a movie by celebrated German director Dominik Graf. Kai lives in Germany.



Translated from the German by


For Steffi



Title Page


The Last Chapter



The Clan




The Slave’s Book

Fundling and Sarcasmo

Isola Luna

Gaia’s Secret

The Girl on the Chain

Family Feud

Tiger and Snake

Cold-Blooded Creatures

Wild Dogs

Castello Carnevare

The End of the Road

Rain Shadows

Hunting Instinct

The Cages

The Arcadian Dynasties

The House in the Forest



Kiss of Darkness

Heart of a Cat

Night Ride


A Vow


On the Seafloor



The Pact

The House of Stone Eyes

The Riddle of Messina


The Hidden Room


The Heiress


The Monument

The Ruins

Blood Flows

The Informer

In the Dark


Zoe’s Message

The Secret

Two Animals

A Message

A Farewell


About the Author



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About the Publisher


, “I’ll catch dreams like butterflies.”

“And then what?” he asked.

“Then I’ll put them between the pages of big, fat books and press them until they’re words.”

“Suppose there’s someone who never dreams of anything but you?”

“Maybe then we’re both words in a book. Two names among all the others.”


the silence woke her.

She was hunched in her seat, knees drawn up, her back feeling bent and twisted after a cramped five hours on the plane. The windows were dark, and most of the passengers were asleep under gray blankets.

No voices, no sounds. It took her a moment to figure out why.

Her earphones were silent.

She glanced at her iPod display. All gone, several weeks’ worth of music deleted, just like that. There was only a single genre left, a single musician, a single song. One she’d never heard before, and certainly hadn’t downloaded herself. She clicked through the menu once again.


Scott Walker.

My Death.

That was it. Everything else had vanished.

She supposed the emptiness suited the beginning of her new life.

She leaned back, closed her eyes, and listened to “My Death” on an endless loop for the next three hours, until the plane landed in Rome.

At Fiumicino Airport Rosa discovered that her connecting flight to Palermo had been canceled because of a pilots’ strike. The next didn’t leave for another five and a half hours. She was exhausted, and “My Death” was going around and around in her head even without earphones now.

She had to transfer to another terminal for her connecting flight. With her carry-on baggage, she stood sleepily on an endless walkway. At six in the morning, it was still dark outside, and the brightly lit interior of the corridor was reflected in the enormous glass windowpanes. Rosa saw herself on the walkway dressed entirely in black, her long, blond, witchy hair tousled as always, and the shadows around her ice-blue eyes as dark as if she’d put on too much mascara, though she wasn’t wearing any makeup at all. She hadn’t touched it since that night a year ago.

Her strappy top emphasized her doll-like figure, too small and thin for seventeen years old. But then she saw a family on the walkway behind her, with fat children and carrying large bags of food, and she felt glad to be thin and have no appetite, glad that she’d come into the world
kind of different
oh, such a difficult child

There was a pregnant woman ahead of her. Rosa kept her distance without coming too close to the group behind her. Even though the plane had been almost full, she’d had her own row, and she’d built a cage around it in her mind. Her own little world by the window. But here on the ground everything was moving, there were too many people, too much confusion for her to draw clear boundaries.

She put the earphones back in. A strange song, it sounded like something out of a black-and-white Europe, out of old movies with subtitles. Gangsters in black suits on sun-baked beach promenades, beautiful Frenchwomen in hats being throttled by jealous lovers.

The song didn’t have to be called “My Death” to make her think of these things. It was something about the heightened drama of the music, the sound of the deep, dark male voice. A death wish with an aftertaste of chilled martinis.

My death waits like

A Bible truth

At the funeral of my youth

She dreamed of drops of blood smeared over the decks of white Mediterranean yachts, of melancholy silences between lovers under the southern sun.

The walkway brought her out into the crowded departures lounge.

Other girls carried tasers or pepper spray for safety. Rosa had bought herself a stapler in a hardware store on the corner of Baltic and Clinton Streets. Her thinking was simple. An electric shock is nasty but leaves no marks. With her method, though, she could put two or three staples into any attacker’s body. Then he’d have to stop and decide whether to tangle with her or start getting the staples out of his skin. That gave her a moment to hit back. Last time she’d broken a fingernail. Uncomfortable.

She had had to pack the stapler in her suitcase, which she’d checked. She was carrying her black jacket in her left hand, and its side pocket sagged where she usually kept the thing. The sight bothered her because it meant there was something missing. Neurotic, her sister, Zoe, had called her. Rosa decided to fill the pocket with something else. Her glance fell on a stall selling candy on the edge of the departure lounge. The salesman was leaning against the wall behind it, dozing, eyes half-closed. Except for the family on the walkway, no one had bought anything from him in the last half hour.

Rosa got to her feet and strolled over. Her pale blond hair was even messier than usual; it hung well over her face and hid the outer corners of her eyes. Her minidress had once belonged to Zoe and was too big; the hem came down to her knees. The salesman’s glance slid down to her thin legs clad in black stockings. They ended in sturdy boots with metal studs in them, laced tightly around her ankles. If she had to kick anyone, she didn’t want them falling off. How embarrassing would

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