The Call

The Call
О книге

Sometimes one hero isn't enough-sometimes you need a full dozen. First in a funny, action-packed fantasy series by the New York Times bestselling author of GONEMack McAvoy is not an unlikely hero. He is an impossible hero! He is only twelve years old, he has a list of phobias as long as your arm, and he's a bully magnet. That is, until Mack is visited by a golem. The golem looks exactly like Mack, and has been sent to fill in for him while the real Mack sets out to save the world from the evil Pale Queen. To do so, he must assemble an elite team of twelve powerful children from all around the world. The first foe they face is Risky. Risky is pure evil. She gets it from her mother – the Pale Queen – a force of evil to be reckoned with since before medieval times.Packed with action and humour Magnificent Twelve – The Call ends with a delicious cliffhanger that will have readers craving more.


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For Katherine Tegen,

who believed I could be funny.

And for Katherine, Jake and Julia,

who still aren’t sure.



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About the Publisher

avid MacAvoy – whose friends called him Mack – was not an unlikely hero. He was an impossible hero.

First, there was the fact that he was only twelve years old.

And then there was the fact that he was not especially big, strong, wise, kind, or good-looking.

Plus he was scared. Scared of what? Quite a list of things.

He had arachnophobia, a fear of spiders.

Dentophobia, a fear of dentists.

Pyrophobia, a fear of fire, although most people have some of that.

Pupaphobia, a fear of puppets. But he was not afraid of clowns, unlike most sensible people.

Trypanophobia, a fear of getting shots.

Thalassophobia, a fear of oceans, which led fairly naturally to selachophobia, a fear of sharks.

And phobophobia, a fear of phobias. Which makes more sense than it may seem at first because Mack was always finding new fears. And it scared him to have more scary things to be scared of.

Worst of all, the horror among horrors: Mack had claustrophobia, a fear of cramped spaces. A fear, to put it as unpleasantly as possible, of being buried alive.

So this was not a twelve-year-old you’d expect to become one of the greatest heroes in human history – not the person you’d expect would try and save the world from the greatest evil it had ever faced.

But that’s our story.

One thing to remember: most heroes end up dead. Even when they don’t end up dead themselves, people around them very often do.

Mack was an OK-looking kid: crazy, curly brown hair; medium height; medium build. He had a serious case of mediumness.

His eyes were brown, too, which is the most common eye colour in the world. But there was something else about his eyes. They were eyes that noticed things. Mack didn’t miss much.

He noticed how people looked at him, but he also noticed how they looked at each other and how they looked at things and even how they looked at a printed page.

He noticed details of how people dressed, how they moved, how they spoke, how they trimmed their fingernails and how they held their book bags. He noticed a lot.

This habit of noticing things was very useful when it came to Mack’s hobby, which was provoking bullies and then fleeing from them.

Just five days before Mack learned that he was going to have to save the world, he was first concerned with saving himself.

Mack attended Richard Gere Middle School in Sedona, Arizona. (Go, Fighting Pupfish!) The school was blessed in a number of ways, but cursed in others. It was known to have a number of excellent teachers. It had advanced placement yoga classes and something called noncompetitive bowling was an elective.

It also had more than its share of bullies, which meant that the bullies had to organise. The bullies at RGMS each had his or her own sphere of influence.

The jocks had a bully, the skaters had a bully, the prep/fashionistas had a bully. The stoners had a bully, but he tended to lose focus and so was not very effective at terrorizing people. The nerds had one bully and the geeks had another. Even the goth kids had a bully, but he was out with mono so the emo bully was filling in.

But there was one bully to rule them all, one bully to find them, one bully to bring them all and in the darkness pound them. And this bully was Stefan Marr.

Like Mack, Stefan Marr was in seventh grade. Unlike Mack, he was fifteen.

Stefan was big, blue-eyed, blond and handsome. And he was terrifying.

Stefan was not academically gifted. Let’s just put it that way because the alternative way of putting it might be rude. But he was fearless. While Mack had twenty-one identified phobias, Stefan had zero. In fact, you could say his number of phobias was in the negative numbers because there were some scary things that even completely normal people avoided that Stefan went looking for.

When Stefan saw a sign that read, ‘Beware of Dog,’ he would interpret that to mean ‘come on in.’

On this particular day, a Wednesday in October, Mack would have a run-in with Stefan that would change both of their lives.

The problem had started with Horace Washington III, a kid Mack kind of knew and kind of liked, who was being introduced to the concept of a swirlie. Horace was a nerd and therefore the swirlie was being administered by Matthew Morgan, the bully for nerds. Matthew was ably assisted by his frequent partner, Camaro Angianelli. Camaro had never gotten over being named after her father’s favorite car and she expressed her sensitive nature by bullying geeks.

Strictly speaking, Camaro should not have been in the boys’ bathroom at all, but the last person who had pointed this out to her now ate his meals through a straw.

In any event, Matthew and Camaro had Horace upended. His head was in the toilet and things were falling out of his pockets, but he was squirming and he was a bit on the heavy side, so the two bullies were unable to reach the flush button. So, hearing that someone else was in the bathroom, they called for help.

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