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By Naomi Rich

At fourteen, Alis hasn't ever been open air her strict non secular group. but if her mom and dad manage for her to marry a forty-year-old guy, she flees desperately to the damaging, surprising urban. She learns speedy that the one solution to live to tell the tale there's to turn into a thief—or worse. dealing with an most unlikely selection among a compelled marriage or existence at the streets, Alis seizes keep watch over of her personal destiny. however the course she chooses units off a disastrous chain of occasions that depart her accused of homicide. Steadfastly unswerving, Alis needs to make a decision: will she betray a friend or sacrifice herself?

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She could not see why these things should interest him but he listened attentively. When she paused, at a loss for further tales to tell, he said, “And what about your good Minister? Is he not married yet? ” Alis felt herself flushing and hoped he would not notice, but she said as calmly as she could, “He is not married yet, Master Thomas. ” “You say your mother is the senior Elder. ” Alis bit back a sharp reply. He meant to provoke her, and she would not give him that satisfaction. ” Even as she spoke, she felt herself reddening again.

Sarah nodded. She was pale, but she smiled tremulously and took the proffered hand. The sunlight in the square fell upon gray stone and weathered wood. There were few people about—a couple of women in dark gowns and shawls, a man carrying a length of wood, a long-legged boy swinging a mason’s hammer from his right hand. No one took any notice of them. Alis shivered a little in the chill wind. With their bundles at their feet, she and her companion said good-bye to the driver, who heaved himself up onto his seat again and clicked his tongue at the patient horses.

Of course, Minister Galin came very often to discuss Community matters with her mother, who was the Senior Elder of their Community, but these days Alis tried to be busy elsewhere. More than once, lately, he had suggested that it was time Alis behaved more soberly, or hinted that she was too much inclined to question, when she should simply obey. The shutters were closed against the winter afternoon. An oil lamp, burning steadily on the table, cast shadows on whitewashed walls and struck gleams from the polished wood of the bookcase where the precious volumes were kept.

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Alis by Naomi Rich


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