Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution (Excerpt)

When Ichabod Crane, a soldier from the Colonial Army, is resurrected from his grave more than two centuries after he was killed in battle, he partners with Lieutenant Abbie Mills of the Sleepy Hollow Police Department to fight the evil forces that have taken hold of the town.

It’s a cold day in January, and Ichabod visits Patriots Park for a moment of peace. Instead, he receives a disturbing vision from his wife, Katrina, in which she delivers a cryptic but urgent message: he must retrieve the Congressional Cross that he was awarded by the Second Continental Congress for bravery in action. There’s just one problem: Ichabod was killed before he ever received the medal, and he is unsure where it might be. Together Ichabod and Abbie set out to uncover the mystery of the cross and its connection to George Washington and his secret war against the demon hordes. They soon learn that a coven of witches is also seeking the cross in order to resurrect their leader, Serilda, who was burned at the stake during the Revolutionary War. Now they must locate the cross before the coven can bring back Serilda to exact her fatal revenge on Sleepy Hollow.

Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution, the first tie-in novel for the Fox television series, is available now from Crown Publishing.

 

 

 

Crane leaned on the side of the bridge, listening to the hypnotic rustle of the brook as it flowed across the channel that served as the border between the two townships.

For a moment, he closed his eyes, enjoying the noise of the water. With his eyes shut, he imagined the sound of meat as it cooked on a pan over a fire.

That, in turn, made him realize that he had not yet had his afternoon repast. His stomach made odd noises as a further reminder. With a sigh, he opened his eyes—

—only to find himself no longer in Patriots Park.

He had not moved, yet he stood in an expansive forest. It was darkest night. No sign of the sun peeked through the gnarled, wizened trees that choked the landscape for as far as Crane’s eyes could see. The air had transformed from the crisp cool of a Sleepy Hollow afternoon to heavy and thick. Taking a breath had gone from bracing to laboring, and he found it difficult to stand upright.

No stars dotted the sky, yet Crane could spy a full moon through one of the few gaps amid the branches. Not that Crane needed further proof, but it was early January and the next full moon wasn’t until mid-month. This meant either he’d traveled forward in time—again—or this was a magical realm.

All things considered, the latter seemed the most likely. He’d received visions in dreams from Katrina, and both he and Lieutenant Mills had received waking visions from various sources, from Katrina to the evil Moloch to his friend the Sin-Eater, Henry Parrish. This was very much like those, and Crane was getting rather impatient with them.

 “Whoever is responsible, show yourself!”

Crane considered exploring the region. But no, he’d been taken to this place for a reason. If this was the spot he was brought to, he was supposed to be here. If not, he was hardly about to oblige his host by stumbling about in the dark.

Again, he cried out, “Show yourself!”

Suddenly, he was no longer in the forest, but in the van Brunt mansion, sharing a drink with Abraham van Brunt. They were awaiting the arrival of a messenger who would provide them with their next task to perform on behalf of the Continental Congress.

“I have to say, Ichabod, this brandy is simply awful. Where did you find it?”

Without thinking, Crane responded now as he had then: “Your liquor cabinet, Abraham.”

“What a pity, I was hoping I had better taste than this.”

Crane shook his head, trying to force himself to speak to his best friend once again. They had shared this drink several nights prior to when Katrina van Tassel broke off her engagement with van Brunt and declared her love for Crane. That action sundered their friendship, and led to van Brunt selling his very soul, allying himself with evil to enact revenge on Crane and Katrina both.

But van Brunt and his sitting room disappeared then, replaced by General Washington and an outdoor location. Crane stood now with the general and several of his aides at the site of a massacre near Albany, New York, surrounded by torn tents, ruined fires, rotting food, broken weaponry, and corpses that had been burned in a manner not possible by any weapon Crane was familiar with.

“I have been expecting something like this since Trenton,” Washington said. “We both won and lost that day.”

Before Crane could even respond, the vista altered yet again. This time it was the Masonic cell where he, Lieutenant Mills, and Captain Irving had trapped Death, the Horseman of the Apocalypse, who was embodied by van Brunt after he felt himself betrayed. Mills’s deceased comrade, Lieutenant Brooks, was speaking for the Horseman, taunting him.

“I took you! I took you on the battlefield! I slayed your Mason brethren, I hung their heads like lanterns! I killed her partner, and I will kill you.”

Another change in scene, this time standing over the golem that Katrina had given to Jeremy. The doll had been imbued with tremendous destructive power in order to fulfill its mission to protect their son. Crane had been forced to kill the creature with a blade stained with his own blood.

Again Crane spoke the words he spoke to the golem as it died on the sands of the strange carnival, while holding its misshapen hand: “You have endured enough pain. Bear it no more.”

Then another change, to a bitter cold winter day at Fort Carillon, which had just been taken by the Continental Army. Crane stood with Caleb Whitcombe and Henry Knox, tasked with moving several of the fort’s cannons to Boston.

Whitcombe was saying, “Are you sure this is wise, Knox? This place was hardly a model of efficiency before old Captain Delaplace surrendered. Shall we make it less fortified by taking their cannon?”

“We’ve been over this,” Knox replied now as he had in 1775. “Boston is of far more import than Two Lakes.”

Crane smiled at the use of the English translation of the region, which the Iroquois called Ticonderoga—and then the scene changed yet again, to a meeting of the Sons of Liberty in New York, led by Marinus Willett. Crane sat in the gallery, surrounded both by members of the Sons and those like himself who were sympathetic. Next to him sat van Brunt.

Willett was speaking: “The regulars are tearing down the liberty poles almost as fast as we may put them up. Perhaps it is time to attempt a different tactic.”

Another man, whose name Crane never did learn, said, “No! Our poles of liberty will be like the heads of the hydra! If they tear down one, we put up two to take its place!”

Willett smiled. “Very well.”

Then he was back in the forest, alone. A half-moon now illuminated the night sky through the gnarled trees.

Crane’s pulse raced when he saw that Katrina now stood before him. The red hair and magnificently steely features of his wife was the most glorious sight he could imagine. For months, he had suffered through life in a bizarre new century, conscripted to fight a war he barely even understood, while the one thing that grounded him, that kept him from completely succumbing to utter madness, was the knowledge that Katrina was trapped in purgatory and there was a possibility that she might be freed and they would, at last, be reunited.

He’d seen visions of her before, caught glimpses, been given messages, and every time it happened, his heart broke a little bit more.

Like so much of what he’d seen since coming to this place, Katrina was ever-changing. At first she was dressed in the elegant gown she wore the night she ended her engagement to van Brunt, but then that changed to the simple Mennonite dress and bonnet she wore when first they met, and then the nurse’s raiment she was clothed in on the battlefield, including the day of his fateful encounter with the Horseman.

She stood a yard away from him.

“Katrina!” He moved toward her, but always she remained a yard away.

Urgently, she cried out, “You must retrieve the medal you were awarded!”

And then she once again disappeared, leaving Crane alone in the forest, forcing him to lose her all over again.

 

Excerpted from Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Copyright © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

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