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By Alan Dean Foster

Marooned in one other universe, a tender American musician leads a motley military in conflict opposed to an enemy that threatens to smash their global and ours Jon-Tom simply desired to pass domestic. Trapped in an international the place animals communicate and magic is genuine, the yank university pupil yearned for a typical dorm-room existence. yet right here his tune has magical power-even if he cannot regulate it-which are able to retailer the realm from the military of the Plated people, whose sinister queen plans on killing and consuming each warm-blooded mammal she will get her pincers on and taking on their lands. the nice conflict is coming, and Jon-Tom, whose posse features a wizarding turtle, a cowardly bat, and an otter with a grimy brain, needs to increase a military to struggle it. to discover allies they need to make an very unlikely trip, throughout mountains and rivers nobody has ever handed earlier than. Survival should be a miracle-but Jon-Tom isn't any usual musician.

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So the orders went out from the employees to their very own fliers and thence to these from Ironcloud. It was once agreed. donning darkish goggles to protect their delicate eyes from the sunlight, the owls and lemurs led the rejuvenated warmlander arboreals in dive after dive upon the massed, pressured ranks of the Plated folks military. the end result used to be utter disorientation one of the insect squaddies. yet they nonetheless refused to break down, notwithstanding the losses they suffered have been commencing to have an effect on in spite of this substantial a military. And while victory appeared all yet received it used to be misplaced in one heartrending and fully unforeseen noise. a legitimate surprising and new to the warmlanders, who had by no means heard something rather love it sooner than. It used to be both stunning yet now not new to Flor and Jon-Tom. although now not in my opinion uncovered to it, they well-known speedy sufficient the devastating thunder of dynamite. because the airborne dirt and dust started to settle between cries of soreness and worry, there got here a moment, deeper, extra ominous rumble because the whole left part of the Jo-Troom wall collapsed in a heap of shattered masonry and stone. It introduced the nice wood gates down with it, aiding timbers splintering like firecrackers as they crashed to the floor. “Diversion,” muttered Flor. “The aerial assault, the parachutists, the beetles… all a diversion. Bastardos; I must have remembered my army historical past periods. ” Jon-Tom moved shakily to the sting of the wall. If they’d been at the different part of the Gate they’d all be lifeless or maimed now. Small white shapes have been starting to emerge from the floor in entrance of the ruined wall. Waving choices and brief swords they lower on the legs of startled warmlander squaddies. just like the population of Ironcloud they too wore darkish goggles to guard them from the daylight. “Termites,” Jon-Tom murmured aloud, “and different insect burrowers. yet the place did they get the explosives? ” “Little have to imagine on that, boy,” Clothahump acknowledged unfortunately. “More of Eejakrat’s paintings. What did you name the packaged thunder? ” “Explosives. most likely dynamite. ” “Or even gelignite,” additional Flor with suppressed anger. “That was once an extreme explosion. ” Sensing victory, the Plated folks overlooked the depredations of the swooping arboreals overhead and swarmed ahead. Nor may perhaps the tense casting of spears and nets by way of the Weavers carry them again. now not with the wall, the fabled old bottleneck, tumbled to the earth like such a lot of child’s blocks. It should have taken an enormous volume of explosives to undermine that huge wall. It used to be attainable, Jon-Tom mused, that the Plated burrowers had all started excavating their tunnel weeks ahead of the conflict started. with out the wall to prevent them they charged onward. via sheer strength of numbers they driven again those that had desperately rushed to safeguard the ruined barrier. Then they have been throughout, struggling with at the different aspect of the Jo-Troom Gate for the 1st time in recorded reminiscence. Warmlander blood stained its personal land. Jon-Tom grew to become helplessly to Clothahump. The Plated people infantrymen have been ignoring the rest part of wall and the few arrows and spears that fell from its crest.

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