This week we read chapters 22-28 of North! Or Be Eaten. Here’s my favorite excerpt. Read it aloud. Try to picture Claxton’s filthy brown snake-beard and the flashing whites of his eyes in his dirty face, and Podo’s arched eyebrow and steely gaze. And while you read, growl a little.
The leader turned to his clan and raised his voice. “Stranders!”
“Of the East Bend!” they answered.
“Quick hands! Long beards!” he cried.
“And sharp daggers!”
“No law!” shouted the leader.
“No law!” They raised their cups and roared with laughter.
“Now then, clan,” the man said, raising a hand, “it’s time we got to know our new friends. My name is Claxton Weaver. I’m a thief, a wanderer, and a swinger of steel. I don’t like Fangs, I don’t like strangers, and I don’t like rules. These are my people, and this is my camp, and we’d just as soon toss ye into the river as let ye have another scrap of our meat. So you’d better think of somethin’ that ye have or somethin’ you can do for me that’ll help me understand why I should let ye keep breathin’.”
The Stranders’ good cheer vanished, and they scowled at the family. Oskar stopped midchew and looked up at the man. Leeli, Nia, and Janner froze as well. The only sound was Tink’s lips smacking as he ate his meat, aware of nothing but his hungry belly.
Podo considered the man for a moment and said, “Aye. Well. We’ve got food. We’ve got weapons, as you can see. I’m willin’ to let ye have the lot of it if you let us go safe and hale, Claxton Weaver.” Then the old pirate’s voice deepened and his nostrils flared like a mad horse’s. “But if you decide that’s not enough, then ye need to know that my name’s Podo Helmer, and I roved the Strand before you were born, with the likes of Growlfist and the Pounders. Don’t look so surprised, laddie. I crept the West Redoubt with Yule Borron by the light of the Hanger Moon. I’ve sailed the Mighty Blapp a hundred times, from here to the edge of the map, and I can fight with hands, teeth, and even me eyebrows if it comes to it. Do you understand what I’m sayin’?”
Claxton Weaver stood aghast, his face so wretched and alarming that even Tink stopped chewing his meat. Nia pulled Leeli close. Janner’s body tensed, and he wished his sword were at hand because he feared he would soon need it. The Stranders around the fire sat still as stone.
Claxton’s eyes flitted to Janner and Tink, then Oskar, considering Podo’s threat. “Ye crept the West Redoubt?” he asked. “Really?”
“By the light of the Hanger Moon.”
—From chapter 22, “The Stranders of the East Bend
What was your favorite excerpt this week? Whether it was from the book club reading or another section, share it in the comments!
This week in the forum, we’ve been talking about names, making decisions, and what Andrew might write next. There are a ton of other great topics just waiting for you to discover them, too. We’d love to hear your thoughts.