Chapter Summary: The Knights of Crystallia
This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia. We hope this summary will make it easier to find specific areas of the book, as well as providing a quick plot refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire book.
Alcatraz Smedry continues his quest to convince readers he is terrible by telling them how awesome he is.
Alcatraz and his grandfather, Leavenworth Smedry, stand upside-down on another flying glass contraption, this time in the shape of a bird. They are headed to Nalhalla. Alcatraz sees a continent approaching covered with castles and towers. He notices a large, black castle (that turns out to be his home), a pyramid-shaped white castle in the middle of the city, and a tall crystalline structure shaped somewhat like a mushroom. Then there's an explosion.
The right side of the Hawkwind explodes, sending Alcatraz and the piece of glass his boots are attached to spinning toward the ground. He breaks the glass attached to his boots so he'll stop spinning, but he doesn't have any way to prevent falling to his death. So he tries to break gravity. It doesn't work. He realizes that Grandpa is making him arrive late to his fall. He and Grandpa smash together and fall into the ocean safely, but then Grandpa has to release the delayed effects of falling all that height, so they are repeatedly plunged into the cold ocean water, over and over. Alcatraz passes out. He wakes up with Bastille looking at him angrily. She accuses him of causing the problem on purpose. They have managed to land on a tower of Keep Smedry. Attica emerges from the craft and has another awkward conversation with his son. Australia tells Alcatraz that Bastille jumped from the Hawkwind in order to save him. Sing Sing arrives and tells Grandpa that there are Librarian ambassadors in the city and that the High King wants to sign a treaty, giving up Mokia to end the war. They call for a crawly so they can get to the Council of Kings and try to intervene.
Grandpa explains to Alcatraz about the political situation in the Free Kingdoms, including the Smedrys' abdication of the throne. However, they are still royalty with peerage and hold a seat on the Council of Kings, a united governing body of all the various Free Kingdom countries. The "crawly" arrives, which turns out to be a wingless dragon named Tzoctinatin with a gondola strapped to his back that carries several people. It is made of Orientation Glass so the dragon taxi can crawl over and on buildings without worrying about throwing the occupants about. Bastille and Alcatraz talk about their suspicion that she was purposely set up to fail. Bastille can tell that something is bothering her mother, possibly regarding her sword. Sing explains to Alcatraz that the Wardens of the Standard, a Librarian sect, is the one here negotiating the treaty. The Smedry's know the Librarians will break the treaty. Alcatraz promises to help. They arrive at the royal palace.
Alcatraz enters the royal palace and marvels at its beauty. Bastille looks very reluctant to go in. They enter the main room and Pattywagon Smedry, his aunt, interrupts the proceedings of the council to greet him and Grandpa. With Librarians in attendance, Grandpa announces that he has forged the Lenses of Rashid. The king grants a recess and comes to greet his family -- his daughter Bastille and his wife Draulin, which reveals Bastille as a princess of sorts (she has renounced the throne by becoming a knight). Alcatraz approves and Bastille gives him an "unprovoked, unregistered" hug for not being mad at her for hiding it. Brig and Grandpa argue about the treaty. Grandpa has figured out what the Lens from the tomb is and gives it to Al. He is unimpressed that it is only a Truthfinder's Lens, hoping instead that it was an offensive Lens. Grandpa also gives him Disguiser's Lenses.
Alcatraz asks Patty where Folsom is so he can gather intelligence on what the Librarians have been doing, so they grab a horse-drawn carriage. As they ride along, Alcatraz notices a lot of people paying attention to him and taking his picture. Hundreds of books have been written about him. Alcatraz begins to bask in his new-found fame. They arrive at an ice cream shop.
Alcatraz enters the ice cream shop and is immediately surrounded by people wanting to shake his hand, get an autograph, etc. He decides to enjoy his celebrity and grants all of their requests. As Patty goes to get Folsom, Alcatraz captivates his audience with the tale of his first infiltration with Grandpa. Patty comes back and "rescues" him by warning the audience about strange Hushland diseases they might get from him. Alcatraz meets Folsom and the defector Librarian that he is watching over, Himalaya Rockies. Folsom shows Alcatraz the latest fantasy book featuring him as the protagonist. He's often the subject of such books because of his fame. Himalaya idly plays with some mints on the table as they chat, and she is later chagrined when she realizes that she has sorted them into neat rows. It's difficult to break the Librarian habit of organizing things. Folsom reports that the Librarians arrived six months ago with the proposal for a treaty. They spend their time mingling with the social elite. They decide to check some of them out at the prince's lunch party.
As they travel by carriage to the party, Folsom explains that Rikers Dartmoor, the High King's son, is throwing the party. Alcatraz acts like the fantasy book is silly, but he's disappointed to find out that Folsom has removed the glass plate that plays his theme music. They arrive at the party without an invitation, and the butler is quite reluctant to let them in because Folsom is a critic who has panned the prince's latest book. Alcatraz breaks his clothing to prove who he is, and he let's them in. After being announced, Rikers takes Alcatraz around to be introduced. Once again, he is enchanted by people fawning over him and forgets why he's there. He eventually runs into his father, who is entertaining a group of sycophantic ladies and has little time for Alcatraz. He meets back up with Himalaya who has provided a nicely sorted list of all the Librarians at the party. Someone named Fletcher is on the list, and Alcatraz sees his mother slipping out the door. He decides to follow her.
As they follow Shasta out, Himalaya reveals that she learned that She Who Cannot Be Named is coming to the city to help with the negotiations. Alcatraz commandeers a carriage and commands the driver to follow Shasta's. Unfortunately, he pulls right up next to hers. There isn't room for all of them to hide, but it finally dawns on Alcatraz that he has the Disguiser's Lenses. He puts them on and decides to look like his sixth-grade teacher. It works; she doesn't recognize him. They eventually arrive at the Royal Archives (Not a Library!) and she loses them. Alcatraz decides to head back to Keep Smedry to get Grandpa's help.
They arrive, and Alcatraz is surrounded by people again. Folsom offers to get rid of them, but Alcatraz wants the attention. He grants every request for interviews and other things, like performing weddings, until at last there is only a group of sycophants he met at the party. They just want to hang out with him, so Alcatraz invites them in. They lounge about for a while before Alcatraz realizes he hasn't gone to talk to his grandfather as planned. Alcatraz goes to find him and instead runs into his father, busy writing on some parchment. Alcatraz mentions that Shasta was at the party, but Attica didn't notice and is quite dismissive of his son. He goes back to the room where the "friends" are and finds his grandfather there. He smacks Alcatraz to try to get him to snap out of his selfishness. He suggests using the Truthfinder's Lenses on his friends, and Alcatraz sees black stuff come out of their mouths as they proclaim their adulation. Grandfather suggests that Alcatraz hang out with his real friends, including Bastille who is at this very moment on trial. Alcatraz realizes what an idiot he's been, and they hurry off to testify in her behalf.
Grandpa leads Alcatraz to a guarded room with a large metal box with chunks of glass at the corners. He explains that it is Transporter's Glass -- a box the same size is in Crystallia, and when both are activated at the same time by brightsand, the boxes switch places. They transport to Crystallia, normally off-limits to outsiders. When they arrive at the room of the trial, the guards inform them that the trial has already begun and are not allowed in. Despite every reasonable attempt to talk their way in, the knights refuse entry. Grandpa then provokes Alcatraz so his Talent will activate, threatening to bring down the entire tower. The guards let them in and Grandpa explodes.
Grandpa and Alcatraz find three knights sitting in judgment as Bastille stands stiffly at attention. They are: Bastille's mother, Draulin, an old knight who looks very intimidating, and a knight with a big chin named Archedis. Grandpa argues that her failure was not her fault. Alcatraz claims that he broke her sword and that Bastille was exemplary in protecting them. After he has his say, they vote, with the elderly knight deciding on a punishment in between the harsher sentence of Draulin and the lighter one of Archedis. She is to be cut off from the Mindstone for two days and stripped of knighthood for one week, after which her status would be reevaluated. Alcatraz gets angry and considers using his Talent, but Grandpa convinces him to back off. They transport back to Keep Smedry where Folsom is waiting for them. She Who Cannot Be Named is there and wants to talk to Grandpa.
She Who Cannot Be Named turns out to be a little old lady. Grandpa coldly asks her why she has come, then she gives Alcatraz a plate of cookies. She says she's there to speak in behalf of the treaty before the final vote. She makes some threats in a sweet voice and leaves. Alcatraz suspects that the cookies are some sort of trap, but Grandpa simply eats them. Himalaya returns to the room, and Alcatraz wonders if she's the one who planted the bomb. Bastille transports over from Crystallia. She appears dazed and weak, the effects of being cut off from the Mindstone. They discuss a plan. Himalaya will read the treaty to see if there are any tricks in the fine print. Sing urges Grandpa to speak to the kings again, but he'd rather do some dangerous infiltration. Alcatraz figures that Shasta will try to steal something from the Royal Archives (Not a Library) since it probably has texts in the Forgotten Language. He, Sing, and Bastille will go there to investigate, while Grandpa will try to dissuade the kings from signing the treaty.
Alcatraz enters the Royal Archives and is surprised to see Archedis there along with a small army of soldiers guarding the books. He is there overseeing a shift change. He offers a personal guard for Alcatraz while they search, but he declines. He goes into the room and finds the books completely unorganized and in mountainous heaps. He starts rummaging around but quickly grows frustrated. About to give up, he suddenly hears a scraping sound near the walls. He figures his mother is trying to tunnel in rather than try to get by all the guards. He warns the guards, then decides that he really needs to find the book that his mother is looking for and take it first. But to find it, he'll need a Librarian to organize the mess.
Alcatraz rushes back to the street to get a carriage to find Himalaya. H_q's v_ER% }[email protected] <tHqt] h+E _nE^eds A ?lQbrAri&N $tO )hqL=p hi#M.[expand] A strange pig-shaped vehicle pulls up with Rikers inside. He's excited to join their adventure, and they hop on board. They head to the palace to find Folsom, assuming Himalaya will be with him. Bastille and Alcatraz talk about their dysfunctional parents. She is as determined as ever to find out who set her up to fail. Rikers informs them that Folsom and Himalaya already left the palace and went to the Royal Gardens, so they head there. Meanwhile, Alcatraz demonstrates that he can simply power up a "technological" device made of glass. Silimatic magic and technology are somehow connected. They arrive at the Gardens and find them having a picnic. Alcatraz is still suspicious of Himalaya, so Bastille suggests using the Truthfinder's Lenses. He questions her, and she is telling the truth about not being a spy. They rush back to the pig.
They arrive at the Royal Archives and Prince Rikers insists on going in. He's excited by the prospect of being with Alcatraz in one of his real adventures. There are more knights and soldiers now, and they still hear the scraping sound. Alcatraz asks Himalaya to organize the books. She initially thinks he's just testing her, but when Alcatraz tells her they really need her to, she runs from the room, distraught that she is being asked to revert to her evil Librarian ways. Alcatraz concludes that the only way to prevent Shasta from getting what she wants is to burn all the books, and just as he lights the first one on fire, Himalaya returns and tells him to stop. Sing trips and falls on the books already on fire, extinguishing the flames. Himalaya starts sorting the books by subject at a supernatural pace. She chides the Free Kingdomers for treating their trove of information so badly. She sorts so quickly that some of the soldiers are brought in to help with the piles. Rikers finds one of his novels and opens it to hear the music, and Folsom punches Alcatraz in the face.
Folsom engages the soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Rikers has dropped the book somewhere, so they can't stop the music. Folsom makes his way to Alcatraz, and his breaking power knocks Folsom down and destroys the book, stopping the music. Alcatraz wonders where Bastille is -- she would have tried to intervene, but she isn't around. The sorting resumes, and Alcatraz looks through the small pile of books written in the Forgotten Language, all of which are on mundane subjects. He goes wandering about looking for Bastille and notices that the scraping sound has stopped. He finds Bastille curled up on the floor appearing in even worse shape than before. He attempts to comfort her. Sing brings him another book in the Forgotten Language, and this time he finds a book entitled "Observations on the Talents of the Smedry people" written by the scribe of Alcatraz the First.
Alcatraz dismisses the soldiers from the room and examines the book. It's a history of the fall of Incarna. He's sure that this is the book his mother is searching for. Suddenly, Sing trips, so they all dive for cover. The door opens, and Shasta walks in with a bunch of Librarian thugs and another young man who must be a Dark Oculator. Alcatraz can't figure out how they got past the guards without making a lot of noise. The Librarians begin to search, and Alcatraz tries to figure out a way to escape -- he doubts even Folsom's Talent could defeat some 30 guards and an Oculator. Sing mentions his sister being able to disguise herself, and Alcatraz remembers the Disguiser's Lenses. He makes himself look like a Librarian thug and walks over to Shasta, then hands over the book.
Shasta calls over Fitzroy, the Dark Oculator, and orders him to read the book. He tells her it's the very book they're looking for. Alcatraz sends his breaking power into a wall, causing all the lamps connected to it to break, plunging them into darkness. He grabs the book and they all make a break for it, heading out the door and up the stairs. Unfortunately, the stairs are wooden instead of stone and none of their own soldiers are there. They are in the wrong hallway! They proceed to the top anyway and open a door into a room filled with equipment and Librarians. Alcatraz realizes that the whole room has been swapped out using Transporter's Glass -- they are no longer even in the Royal Archives building. The thugs open the door below and Alcatraz has no choice but to surrender. They are all tied up and the Smedrys are fitted with bands of Inhibitor's Glass, shutting off their Talents. While Shasta and Sing argue, Alcatraz manages to touch his confiscated Truthfinder's Lens to his cheek. He sees that his mother is unsure about the Librarian's plan to rule the world. When a thug demands the captives from her, she also lies about not caring for her son. She almost certainly would have lied about not loving Attica, but notices what Alcatraz is doing and has Fitzroy remove the Lens from Alcatraz's reach. In any case, Alcatraz is at a loss as to what to do next.
A half hour has passed. The Librarians continue to search the Archives for anything else useful. The Librarians grab Himalaya, and Folsom tries to intervene, only managing to knock over a table. The table held their possessions, including the fantasy book. It opens up and begins to play music, but of course Folsom can't attack with the Inhibitor's Glass on. Fitzroy reveals that She Who Cannot Be Named has ordered the execution of her former assistant, Himalaya. He holds a knife against her throat and enjoys watching Folsom and the rest of her friends suffer. Alcatraz remembers that he is a Smedry, with the power to marry, and asks Folsom and Himalaya if they love each other. After he declares them married, Himalaya gains Folsom's Talent. With the music playing, she punches Fitzroy in the face, snaps the ropes holding her, and starts taking down the Librarians. Alcatraz kicks Fitzroy's knife over to Bastille, who uses it to free herself and everyone else. Shasta merely watches with confidence, knowing they are still trapped in the Librarian stronghold. Alcatraz figures the only way out is to somehow activate the brightsand to re-swap the rooms, so he grabs some cords connected to it, and they all escape back into the glass archive room. He activates the cord similar to how he activates Lenses or other glass devices. He immediately feels drained like he's run a marathon. They open the door to the stone stairwell, back in Nalhalla.
They head back to the palace in the pig vehicle to try to stop the treaty from being signed. Alcatraz explains to Sing that the "magic" and "technology" of silimatics are closed related. There are several Smedry Talents that have corresponding Lenses, e.g. Kaz's Talent for getting lost and Transporter's Glass. He puts on his Translator's Lenses to read the book and sees that he has the wrong one. Shasta somehow switched books, probably using her Talent for losing things. They arrive at the palace and Bastille insists on going with them even though she can hardly walk. Rikers opens the door and dramatically calls an end to the proceedings. King Dartmoor is holding a quill, just about to sign the treaty. They accuse She Who Cannot Be Named (Swcbn) of ordering their kidnapping and the execution of Himalaya. King Dartmoor asks for another vote. Under the assumption that Grandpa (who has recently left the proceedings in a rage) would vote no, the vote is now tied, so he must cast the deciding vote. He tears up the treaty, but this doesn't seem to bother Swcbn; she just goes back to her knitting. Suddenly, every Knight of Crystallia in the room falls down, screaming in pain. Grandpa returns.
The Librarian thugs surround Swcbn and attack the king. Grandpa starts using his Windstormer's Lenses and singing so Folsom and Himalaya can help. Alcatraz breaks a chunk of wall so the monarchs can get out. The "unconscious" Archedis stands up with a smile and rushes Grandpa, knocking him out with the pommel of his sword. His singing stops, so Folsom and Himalaya stop fighting. They are swarmed by Librarians. Swcbn reveals the design on her finished afghan: a bloody skull. Archedis heads for the king, but Bastille steps between them, holding her mother's sword. She had already been cut off from the Mindstone, so she could still fight. Archedis is arrogant at first, but as they fight, she gains the upper hand. He trips over a fallen Librarian, and Bastille forces him to surrender. He tries to claim he's a double agent, but Alcatraz has the Truthfinder's Lenses on. He breaks his sword. Swcbn disappears, leaving behind a statue of herself.
Royal Epilogue (Not a Chapter)
One week later, they all wait for Attica's grand announcement in the chamber of the Council of Kings. Bastille has been restored to knighthood and is there with full armor and a new sword. Folsom and Himalaya are there; they are moving to the Hushlands to start an underground movement of good Librarians. Attica finally arrives and tells of his time in the Library of Alexandria. He announces that he knows how the Smedry Talents were originally bestowed. He plans to do more research in order to give everyone a Smedry Talent. He mentions going to the Royal Archives for a particular book, and Alcatraz interrupts to tell him that Shasta stole it already. Attica is disappointed and decides that he must search for the book. The king questions the idea of giving everyone dangerous Talents, but Attica dismisses any danger. His real motivation seems to be the fame it would bring him. Alcatraz determines to watch over his father and stop him if necessary.
Alcatraz promises that his great failure is still forthcoming.