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A fairy-tale journey of intrigue and romance that reimagines the classic Pied Piper story.
A plague of rats. A giant beast outside the village walls. A host of missing children. And one young woman determined to save her people.
In 1424 Hamlin, Katerina faces threats from all sides. An outbreak of rats has overtaken the village, a mysterious beast is on a killing rampage of the village’s children, and Katerina’s evil stepfather is a dark presence inside the walls of her own home. Katerina is determined to hunt and kill the Beast of Hamlin herself before more lives are lost.
When Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son, comes to town seeking glory and reward, Katerina decides he might be the ally she’s been looking for—even though the only gentle thing about him seems to be the sweet music he plays on his pipe. But there’s more to Steffan than she suspects, and she finds herself drawn to him despite her misgivings.
Together Katerina and Steffan must stop the enemy from stealing the children of Hamlin. But their interference might create an even worse fate for the entire village.
Praise for The Piper’s Pursuit
“The Piper’s Pursuit is a lovely tale of adventure, romance, and redemption. Kat and Steffan’s righteous quest will have you rooting them on until the very satisfying end!” —LORIE LANGDON, author of Olivia Twist and the DOON series
Did Katerina dare to stay out hunting past dark? The sun was going down, casting long shadows as she skirted the forest on her right and an empty meadow on the left. At least the town gate was visible ahead.
She checked her crossbow, making sure the arrow was strung and ready. Her unruly brown hair was starting to come free from the leather tie taming it at the nape of her neck.
She picked up her pace as she passed a particularly dark section of the forest. She could easily imagine the giant wolf, or whatever the beast was that had killed so many, coming out of those dense trees and leaping at her. Would she have time to aim her crossbow before she fired? She would only get one shot.
She laid a hand on the long dagger she kept in the sheath on her belt. If she missed, she might have time to stab the animal before it attacked.
Were her ears playing tricks on her? Or was that a rustling sound coming from the trees?
She stopped and raised the crossbow. Her heart thumped hard against her chest, so hard she could barely breathe. If she died, what would happen to Mother?
It was probably just a rabbit. She kept the crossbow aimed at the dark trees while moving her feet slowly in the direction of town.
Something was shifting the shadows. The bushes were shaking. Leaves gave way.
Wait until you’re certain you have the best shot possible. She willed her hands not to shake, holding the crossbow up to her eye to make sure she could aim quickly.
A figure stepped out.
A child stood staring blankly at her. Katerina lowered her crossbow to her side.
The breath rushed out of Katerina’s chest. A child! How could a small child be alone outside the walls of town? Everyone knew the beast was killing men, women, and children out here.
When she was able to draw in enough breath to speak, Katerina approached the child. “What are you doing out here, little one?”
The girl was filthy. Her face was nearly black with soot or dirt, Katerina couldn’t tell which. Her hair was as tangled as a field mouse’s nest. The child’s wide blue eyes stared unwaveringly at Katerina’s face.
“Mama. I want Mama.” But her expression didn’t change and she didn’t move.
She must be one of the missing children that had been presumed killed and eaten by the Beast of Hamlin. Tears gathered behind Katerina’s eyes. Thank You, God, for letting me find her. Katerina wanted to pick up the child and run for town. But that might frighten her.
Blinking back her tears, Kat asked, “What’s your name?”
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for history, adventure, and romance. Her books have won a Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Christian Retailing’s Best Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Golden Quill, and the Carol Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in the U.S., Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.