Excerpt from The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Water Mirror

by Kai Meyer

The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer X
The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 256 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 272 pages

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"I think Arcimboldo will keep that to himself till the bitter end too."

They laughed a little nervously, not because they'd discovered their first thing in common, but because neither one knew quite how to take the conversation further.

"Shall we walk on a little bit?" Serafin pointed down the canal where the crowds of people were thinner and the lanterns shone on empty water.

Merle grinned mischievously. "It's a good thing we don't belong to fine society. Otherwise it would be improper, wouldn't it?"

"I don't give a hoot about fine society."

"Thing in common number two."

Close beside each other, but without touching, they ambled along"Shall we walk on a little bit?" Serafin pointed down the canal where the crowds of people were thinner and the lanterns shone on empty water.

Merle grinned mischievously. "It's a good thing we don't belong to fine society. Otherwise it would be improper, wouldn't it?"

"I don't give a hoot about fine society."

"Thing in common number two."

Close beside each other, but without touching, they ambled along the canal. The music became softer and soon was left behind them. The water lapped rhythmically against the dark walls. Somewhere over them pigeons cooed in the niches and carvings of the houses. They turned a corner and left the light of the shoals of lanterns.

"Have you had to chase mirror spirits yet?" Serafin asked after a while.

"Spirits? Do you think it's spirits living in the mirrors?"

"Master Umberto said it's the spirits of all the people Arcimboldo's cheated."

Merle laughed. "And you believe that?"

"No," Serafin replied seriously, "because I know better."

"But you're a weaver, not a mirror maker."

"I've only been a weaver for two years. Before, I was sometimes here, sometimes there, all over Venice."

"Have you still got parents?"

"Not that I know of. At least they've never introduced themselves to me."

"But you weren't in an orphanage too?"

"No. I lived on the street. As I said, sometimes here, sometimes there. And during that time I picked up a lot of stuff. Things that not everybody knows."

"Like how to clean a rat before you eat it?" she asked derisively.

He made a face. "That, too, yes. But I didn't mean that."

A black cat whisked past them, then made a turn and came back. Without warning it leaped onto Serafin. But it wasn't an attack. Instead it landed purposefully on Serafin's shoulder and purred. Serafin didn't even jump but raised his hand and began to stroke the animal.

"You're a thief!" Merle burst out. "Only thieves are so friendly with cats."

"Strays together," he confirmed with a smile. "Thieves and cats have much in common. And share so much with each other." He sighed. "But you're right. I grew up among thieves. At five I became a member of the Guild, then later one of its masters."

"A master thief!" Merle was dumbfounded. The master thieves of the Guild were the most skillful pilferers in Venice. "But you aren't more than fifteen years old!"

He nodded. "At thirteen I left the Guild and went into the service of Umberto. He could well use someone like me. Someone who can climb through ladies' windows on the sly at night and deliver them the goods they've ordered. You probably know that most husbands aren't happy to see their wives doing business with Umberto. His reputation is -- "

Copyright 2001 by Kai Meyer.  All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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