Fans of Seeker, Arwen Elys Dayton’s YA fantasy book released earlier this year (and had a film deal before it was even published), should already be gearing up for its sequel: Traveler comes out Jan. 12, 2016.
Traveler continues the story of Quin Kincaid, a Seeker who, on the night of her Oath, learned that her family’s legacy is not quite what it seemed. From the book’s official description:
Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. Her father, a killer. Her uncle, a liar. Her mother, a casualty. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.
Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.
But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago, with the power to destroy them all.
The past is close. And it will destroy them all.
Sound intriguing? We thought so, too. Check out EW’s exclusive Traveler cover reveal and excerpt below to get in on the story before Seeker hits the big screen:
TRAVELER by Arwen Elys Dayton
“He lied to us,” a child’s voice said from somewhere nearby. “Our master’s not here.”
“His athame’s here!” a different voice hissed close to Quin’s face. “Look! How can that be?”
“Are you going to get it?”
A smell like dead rodents filled Quin’s nose.
Her eyes flew open. She was lying on the hospital bed next to Shinobu and someone was there, leaning over her. Dirty hands were sliding toward the waistband of her trousers.
Quin’s arms came up the moment she understood what was happening, and she knocked the intruder away. He staggered back, but quickly lunged for her again. Quin grabbed his shoulders and held him away as his hands ripped at her waist.
“Give it back!” the attacker hissed, his closeness bringing the overpowering smell of dead animals to her nose again.
He was after the athame. She’d tucked it out of view down her waistband as she fell asleep next to Shinobu, but the handle was visible, and he was about to get hold of it.
She pushed harder against his shoulders, keeping him at bay.
“Stop!” he spat.
He was strong. He changed tactics and reached for her throat instead.
He was younger than she’d thought at first, maybe fifteen, with bright, cruel eyes the color of coal, and matted hair that might have been dark brown but was so dirty it appeared gray. His fingers scrabbled around her neck as she struggled to thrust him off.
Quin scanned the room to take in the full setting of the attack. Someone else was there. A boy—younger than the first, maybe twelve years old—was dancing from foot to foot in the dim nighttime lights, waiting for his chance to help. He looked fair and freckled, but just as dirty as his companion.
The older boy leaned his weight against Quin’s arms and his hands slid fully around her throat. He looked down at her with anger and elation, as though choking people were one of his favorite pastimes and he couldn’t wait to get started. His lips drew back, revealing filthy black teeth.
Quin slid sideways, trying not to knock into Shinobu, who was still drugged or asleep. Her feet came off the bed, twisted up, and made contact with the teenaged boy’s chest. She kicked him away so violently he hit the IV stand and crashed with it to the floor.
“Shinobu!” Quin hissed. In one swift motion, she pulled her whipsword from its concealed spot beneath her shirt and cracked it out. She rotated her wrist to force her weapon into the shape of a long, broad sword, and the oily black material flowed into place and solidified.
The younger boy, the freckled one, jumped at her, then away, as she slashed her weapon at his face. Neither boy showed any surprise at the appearance of her whipsword.
“What?” Shinobu mumbled, rubbing at the spot on his hand where his IV tube had been sharply tugged when the stand went down.
The smaller boy pulled out a weapon and Quin saw with shock, a moment too late, that he had his own whipsword. She raised her sword to block him but entirely missed the child’s attack. Somehow, the boy’s sword slid right by her own. She reeled back, her arm cut just beneath the elbow.
“Ha ha,” the boy said, tripping backward to get away as Quin came at him again. The older one lurched to his feet unsteadily.
They had whipswords—were they Seekers? Quin had to guess not: their fighting style was bold but very wild. And they were so dirty and disheveled. Yet what would she know, really, of other Seekers? Her father had hidden their very existence.
Whoever these boys were, their skills were unexpectedly good. In a quick assessment, Quin decided they weren’t better than she was; she would best both of them eventually. But Shinobu lay unguarded on the hospital bed, where they could injure him if they took an interest. She had to end this fight quickly.
“Help!” she called as she moved toward the door. “Help!”
Shinobu was up on one elbow, blinking fiercely, trying to understand what was happening. Quin willed the boys not to notice him.
Both attackers came for her as she neared the door. When they lunged simultaneously, she saw why their whipswords had slid by her before—the boys’ weapons were half the usual length. Even slender and fully extended, as they were now, their swords were no longer than Quin’s forearm, and the tips were not as sharp as they should be. They were like whipswords that had been inelegantly cut in half.
“So together you have one whipsword?” she asked, swinging wide and fast to block both of them. “Are they two halves of the same sword? Are you each half a person as well?” She was continuing to speak loudly, as though she were a fighter who liked to bait her opponents, when in truth she was trying to rouse Shinobu and also the hospital staff on the other side of the door, and to keep the boy’s eyes focused on her. “If you’re two halves of the same person, couldn’t at least one of you learn how to wash?” Their odor had filled the room.
“Least we’re not a thieving girl,” the little one said, smiling nastily and displaying his teeth, which, like the older boy’s, appeared to have been smeared with soot. “Give us the athame our master should have!”
The older boy slashed at her with vicious skill, but Quin’s larger weapon made quick work of his blows and she sent him sprawling into his partner.
She turned for the door.
And found her father staring back at her.
Briac Kincaid was in the dark alcove at the room’s entrance, barricading it, his own whipsword drawn. A handful of multicolored sparks danced around his head.
Before she could think any of this through, Briac had cracked out his whipsword and raised it.
And then the two boys were on her from behind. Her hesitation had cost her an important moment—