~ Release Day Blitz ~
The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1)
by Reshma K.Barshikar
13th November 2018
13th November 2018
About the Book:
‘What price would you pay to be extraordinary? What would you do to speak to a butterfly?
Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn't really rattled her. But something isn't right anymore and it begins when 'New Girl' joins the school.
She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.
But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her.
Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?
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Read an Excerpt:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. – Rumi
Calcutta, January 1864
They called it the Ares. It seemed fit she would be running away in a ship named after the Greek god without honour. Standing at the bow, she rested her temple against his wooden shoulder and watched the grey haze wrap its icy fingers around Khidirpur port. When she had left the bungalow, the night sky had been clear, ablaze with a moon that had broken free of her usual coterie of clouds. It had shone like scarred pearl ready to be plucked from a sequinned shawl and her candle had remained unlit as she had run down the Sona Bazaar road, holding her stomach tight with one hand and the book – her only possession – in the other.
Running away had been so easy. To never be spat at again, or hear the jabbing whispers as she kissed the foot of her goddess at Kalighat. This wretched place had taunted her and mocked her. It had suckled on her energy from the moment she had set foot on its filthy roads a hundred moons ago. With every waxing and waning, she had promised to leave, but always there was Suro. But then he came. Kingsley, her white prince. For him, she accepted all the names they threw at her, ‘Patita’, ‘Bhiru’. Words had cut her flesh like blades of rough ghasa. ‘They won’t be able to touch me anymore,’ she muttered to herself, ‘not even their long arms could not reach that far.’ But she ached for Suro.
Every sway of the ship coincided with a kick in her belly. She pressed down on her little one gently with her palm and pulled her book close to her chest; she felt a deep tremble build within her; she had chosen one over the other. May her gods forgive her. It was early still, another month to go at least, but this birth would be easier. With Suro, the wait had felt like an eternity, a fate written on her forehead, but this baby’s arrival would be peaceful; there would be no sickness and no fever. Only a pain of the heart that no time would ever heal because she had cut off her left arm to save her right.
Abha pulled at the long end of her pink pallu and wrapped it around her neck. Even now, Suro’s presence was palpable, like salt on her tongue. She inhaled quietly, drawing what she needed from the thick book, which vibrated like a beating heart against her own. Careful not to draw attention to herself, she shuffled behind Ares. Being discovered now would serve no purpose, and only make things worse for Suro. If anything she was doing her a service by leaving her behind. What could it be if she were to come along? Kingsley had said a mixed child might have some hope, but a truly dark one could not be protected, not even by them, and it was unlikely a four-year-old child would even survive the voyage. Suro would have to be left behind; she would be protected, harboured by her father, safe from any blame. And Suro loved her father.
Abha was tired now. She thought she heard her dead father’s voice in the wind, ‘It doesn’t matter how strong you are, Abha; how stubborn. Even the rock eventually succumbs to the river.’ He had been right. They had won; they had made her leave.
The mist had all but choked the city from the sea, and the ship picked up speed and pulled away from grey flames that lapped towards her, as if to grab her and take her back. ‘Go,’ she said to them, ‘go and protect her, for surely she will recognise you when you do; she is mine, after all. I will come back for her.’ The lie lay heavy on her tongue. She turned her back on her black town and looked eastward, and there, on the furthest point of the horizon, a yellow line began to edge itself against the blue.
‘I will come back for you, Suro,’ she whispered. ‘Just give me some time. I will come back for you.’
Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge and The Hindu. Fade Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well renowned workshops for young adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home.