Excerpt from Threatened by Eliot Schrefer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


by Eliot Schrefer

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 288 pages
    Aug 2015, 288 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

I crept around the back of the gnarled, lonely tree. An iboga bush grew alongside it, and when I nestled the case within its leaves it was out of view of anyone passing along the street. Heart pounding, I headed to Monsieur Tatagani's house.

The moment he saw me, he rose to his feet. "Why are you so late?" he asked. His voice was controlled, with no sign of irritation. "And why are you coming from that direction?"

"You saw me leaving the bar with the Arab, papa. I took him to the Hôtel Beverly Hills."

A smile, empty of happiness, spread on his lips. "Yes, I did see that."

"I thought he might have work for me to do," I said. An image of the case forced its way into my thoughts. I hoped Monsieur Tatagani couldn't see it flickering behind my eyes.

He laid a hand on my neck, like he was figuring out the force he'd need to break it. "And did he? Find work a boy like you could do? Are you finally going to pay back the thousands of francs it's taken me to keep you alive?" He laughed in his gray way. I could smell palm wine on his breath.

I shook my head, hoping to loosen his fingers. They only tightened.

"Is that so?" Monsieur Tatagani said, shoving me so I tumbled past the open front door and into the main room. I managed not to fall to the ground, which I knew would have invited more anger. Blocking the moon, Monsieur Tatagani was a figure cut out from the night, a beast come for a boy who'd stayed out too late. "You didn't ask for a coin for carrying that Arab's bag? You didn't slip a hand into his pocket and see what you could find?"

He flicked on a light, and the leer on his face was more ferocious than I'd expected.

Heart skipping in terror, I remembered that I had gotten something out of Prof that I could give Monsieur Tatagani. My trembling fingers searched through my pocket. There was a hole in the threadbare fabric, but the coin was too big to have fallen out, even during my flight.

"Here," I said, holding it out in my sweaty palm. "He gave me twenty-five francs."

Monsieur Tatagani looked skeptical.

"Twenty-five? And all that weird old man asked you to do was carry his bag?"

I nodded, and the coin was gone. Having that much money taken from me would have been agony before, but all I felt now was relief.

"Maybe sacrificing so much to keep you alive wasn't a mistake," Monsieur Tatagani said. "You've finally paid for a tiny part of your keep. Go to bed. I'll wake you before dawn so you can get back to the Hôtel Beverly Hills before the Arab wakes up. You'll do whatever he desires, and you'll bring me thirty francs this time."

He nodded, and I ducked through to where I slept. Monsieur Tatagani had separated a drafty mud-walled room from the house with an old housedress that he'd hung as a divider. This was where he kept his boys. Monsieur Tatagani lived his life — cooking, sleeping, drinking with guests — on the other side of that tattered housedress, while we listened in nervous silence.

Two wooden benches lined either sidewall, and it was on those that I and the other boy who'd been with Monsieur Tatagani longest slept. The rest of the orphans were lined shoulder-to-shoulder on a rubber mat on the dirt floor.

The room was so silent that I knew they were all awake and listening, eyes scrunched shut, making no noise so as not to attract Monsieur Tatagani's anger. Pierre, the youngest, had taken advan-tage of my missed curfew and laid out on my bench. "It's okay," I whispered, lying alongside him. We fit, barely. "There's room for two tonight."

"Have you already had your pee outside?" he asked.

I nodded. We weren't allowed out of the room at night, but there was a can in the corner that we could use. Pierre claimed that the smell kept him awake.

Excerpted from Threatened by Eliot Schrefer. Copyright © 2014 by Eliot Schrefer. Excerpted by permission of Scholastic. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.