Unable to return to his home and family, and forced into Sir Thursday’s army, Arthur must figure out how to survive and defeat his commander in chief.

When Arthur and Leaf return from Port Wednesday, it’s to learn one piece of bad news after another. A Spirit-Eater has taken Arthur’s place on earth, and there is no way he can go home and check on his family until it’s gone.

And that’s only the beginning. The former Mister Monday and the former Grim Tuesday are dead—killed by sorcery. Grim Tuesday would have been particularly hard to overcome, so their assassin has to know House sorcery powerful enough to bypass or negate Arthur’s protection from the Third Key. And as Dame Primus puts it, “You mortals are very fragile.” Arthur is definitely in danger.

Dr. Scammandros, the newly-appointed Wednesday’s Dusk, has the third piece of bad news. He has a ring that can measure the degree to which a mortal has been tainted with sorcery, and how close he or she is to becoming a Denizan, never able to return to their home. Arthur has used the Keys a lot recently, and when he slips the ring on his finger, he discovers that he is four-tenths Denizan. Dr. Scammandros is sure if he becomes six-tenths Denizan, he will never be able to go back to Earth again. He will be trapped in the House forever. But he has to use the Keys and the Atlas to fight the Morrow Days—Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday and Lord Sunday will not leave him alone. They will do anything to retain their Keys and their authority over the House. The only way to stop them is to defeat them, and Arthur, as the Rightful Heir, is the only one who can fight them and win. He has no choice but to risk his mortality and his chance to return to his home and family.

But before he can do anything, Arthur is drafted into Sir Thursday’s army for his century of military service. The recruiting officer knocks on the door, and just like that, Arthur is marched off to Recruit Camp. He feels very small and insignificant, very alone, abandoned by his friends, separated from his family and uncertain of his future. Was he really going to disappear into the army for a hundred years? How would he ever find the other parts of the Will and the other Keys and defeat the Morrow Days? But more immediate than that, will Arthur be able to survive basic training? He may have been contaminated by sorcery, but he is still a mortal, and they are easily damaged.

This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart