Chapter Summary: The Scrivener's Bones
This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones. 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 is eating chips while waiting in an airport for Leavenworth Smedry, aka Grandpa Smedry to contact him via Courier Lenses. They have been eluding Librarians for the last few months. They are planning to meet up to head to their homeland in the Free Kingdoms, Nalhalla. Alcatraz spots a man in a suit staring at him. He's wearing sunglasses, which are probably actually Warrior’s Lenses. He flees into a bathroom where he uses his talent to break the wall. He finds himself in a corridor and eventually a hangar. The hanger is layered with dust, so Alcatraz walks to an exit and uses his Windstormer’s Lenses to blow away the rest of his footprints, hoping the agents and security guards follow the false trail outside, then he hides behind the front wheel of a 747. While hiding, Alcatraz is contacted through his Courier Lenses by a dark-skinned girl. Alcatraz talks too loudly and gives away his position. The girl tells him to go outside and signal them somehow. He breaks the wheel and escapes out onto the tarmac. Out on the foggy runway, he sends up a signal with the Firebringer Lenses for help. One of the agents chasing him is a dark figure who is much taller and has an arm that is several feet longer than the other. The figure points the arm at Alcatraz and shoots the Firebringer’s Lens. The figure then starts to run at him, so he also begins to run away. As soon as Alcatraz starts to run, he can feel a force pulling him back. Just as he is about to be caught, a rope ladder lands on the tarmac in front of him. Alcatraz grabs it and is lifted into the air above the fog.
Alcatraz finds himself hanging from what appears to be a glass dragon with six legs and three sets of wings. He climbs the ladder into the vehicle and finds Bastille. He notes her change in attire to be more militaristic. She mentions that it is her place to wear this over her other attire and it also contains a glassweave jacket that helps protect her. When they arrive in the cockpit, Alcatraz meets Bastille’s mother, Draulin, a very formal Knight of Crystallia. He also meets Australia Smedry, the girl he talked to with the Courier’s Lenses. She is the sister of Sing Sing Smedry, making her his cousin. He is informed that her Talent is to wake up in the morning looking incredibly ugly. Alcatraz is told that Kaz, his father’s brother, is also on board. Currently he appears to be lost, his Talent, but should turn up at some point. Draulin informs Alcatraz that Bastille has been demoted to squire for failing to properly protect Leavenworth and Alcatraz. Australia shows him the note from Grandpa Smedry that sent them to come get Alcatraz. Back in his quarters, Alcatraz is able to somehow communicate with Grandpa Smedry using the Courier's Lenses over a great distance. Grandpa informs Alcatraz that he is at the Library of Alexandria searching for his son, Alcatraz’s dad.
Alcatraz orders Bastille's mother and Australia to redirect the Dragonaut to help his grandfather at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. After leaving the cockpit, he meets his uncle, Kazan Smedry. Bastille leads Alcatraz to his room so that he may take a nap. Before leaving him, she tells him that her mother doesn't like her and doesn't think Bastille should have been made a knight in the first place. Alcatraz wakes up when a missile explodes just a few feet from his head.
Alcatraz wakes to find the Dragonaut under attack from a not quite normal jet. The jet is made up of some hybrid technology and seems to be unaffected by Alcatraz's Talent. Draulin stands on the outside of the dragon and uses her Sword of Crystallia to defend the dragon while they fly at several hundred miles an hour. She is able to stay on the roof thanks to Grappler's Glass on the bottom of her boots. Bastille tells Kaz to use his Talent to get Alcatraz to safety, but Alcatraz refuses. Instead he opts to also go on the roof to try to help. Once there, he is shot at by a missile. Alcatraz tries again with his Talent, and he breaks the missile and the jet. As the jet falls to pieces, he sees the creature from the airport. Unfortunately, Alcatraz's wave of power has also caused the glass around him to crack. The Dragonaut begins to fall apart and plunge to the earth.
The Dragonaut crashes on a beach within sight of the Worldspire, which is located at the exact center of the world and fairly close to Nalhalla. Alcatraz insists that they proceed to the Library of Alexandria, and Kaz agrees because Grandpa is most likely in trouble. They gather up some provisions from the wreckage, knowing that they could be "lost" for weeks with Kaz leading them. Alcatraz is able to deactivate the glass on the Grappler's boots because he is an Oculator. He tries communicating with Grandpa again, but he gets no response. The group sets off for the jungle following Kaz.
The group makes their way through the jungle. Alcatraz attempts to make peace with Kaz while traveling. Kaz introduces The List to Alcatraz, which is a list of reasons why short people are better off than tall people. Draulin apologizes to Alcatraz for how she treated him when he was trying to help fight the jet. He dismisses the apology, but Draulin explains how a Knight of Crystallia should behave, obviously intending for Bastille to overhear the conversation. They find themselves in several locations all over the world before finding the place they seek. The Library of Alexandria turns out to be a one-room hut.
Kaz tells Alcatraz that Library of Alexandria is the actual library founded by Alexander the Great (Librarians' false teachings start mostly since the time of Biblioden), but that it's been moved from its original location. It is maintained by Curators that are undead wraiths. They gather knowledge, but they won't share it; the cost of reading a single book is that you become one of them. After some debate over the status of Grandpa Smedry and Al's father, Attica, the group sets up camp for some food and rest. Alcatraz speaks with Australia and finds she isn't very good with Lenses. He let's her try out the Tracker's Lenses, and she gets very excited and is surprised that she can use them so well. Alcatraz doesn't tell her that Tracker's Lenses are among the easiest to use. Bastille overhears and compliments Alcatraz on how he deals with people. She tells him that the creature chasing him was using Voidstormer's Lenses, the opposite of Windstormer's Lenses, to pull him back. The creature is part metal because he belongs to a Librarian sect known as the Scrivener's Bones. They are known for ripping off parts of their bodies and replacing them with Alivended materials. He was likely hired by another Librarian, who Alcatraz assumes is his mother. Bastille tells him that despite his ability to use Lenses, he probably isn't an Oculator. He probably uses blood-forged Lenses. They are made by sacrificing an Oculator and using their blood in the forging of the Lens. The Lens's power is based on the power of the sacrificed Oculator. Alcatraz has the same dark sense he had when being chased by the creature previously.
Someone yells at Alcatraz to wake up. He's been dreaming about a metal wolf charging him. He interprets that to mean that the Scrivener's Bone is coming. He looks toward the sound and is ecstatic to find Grandpa Smedry a short distance away. Except it actually turns out to be Australia having just woken up. She explains that sometimes she wakes up looking like someone she was thinking about. She shows him Grandpa Smedry's prints going into the library. Near the entrance, Alcatraz finds a note from him explaining that Attica has entered the library and that he's going after him. He leaves Alcatraz a pair of Discerner's Lenses that allows the wearer to tell how old something is. Unable to decide whether to enter or not, Al's choice is made for him when the Scrivener's Bone shows up. They rush into the library and Alcatraz somehow gets separated from the others, in total pitch dark.
Alcatraz finds himself in a place so dark he can hear and see nothing. Eventually he is approached by Curators of Alexandria and they relieve him of all writings, the cost of admission. He asks them where his friends are, and they inform him that all people must be separated upon entering the library. They tempt him with information about the location of his father, but he doesn't want to give away his soul. Old-fashioned lamps are suddenly lit, revealing a room with several doorways. Alcatraz picks one at random and starts wandering around. The Curators continue to tempt him with information, and he realizes that they are deliberating distracting him. He stops to listen and hears cries for help. He finds Bastille stuck in a trap. He breaks the ropes she's tangled in and frees her.
Bastille and Alcatraz decide to find the others, and Kazan suddenly shows up. They were all lost, so it was easier for Kaz to find them. They move on to find the others, hoping to use Kaz's Talent. While Bastille scouts ahead to clear the path of traps, Kaz explains the Incarnate Wheel to Al. He mentions that Kaz, Al, Grandpa Smedry, and Al's father all have prime Talents closer to the center of the circle, therefore more powerful and flexible. Kaz also explains that Talents affect four different things: knowledge, space, time, and the physical world. He says that siblings often have similar talents, such as his Talent for getting lost and Attica's Talent for losing things. Alcatraz also learns that the Breaking Talent is very rare and may be able to affect things in all four areas. A Curator tempts Al with the knowledge of how to become a Curator and escape, and he considers it for just a moment. Just as he realizes that scouting ahead for traps is worthless because of Kaz's Talent, teleporting them to various hallways, they spring one.
The trap releases a bunch of black goo from the ceiling, which covers them and immediately hardens. The Curators gleefully offer to provide the knowledge to get loose and tempt them with an eternity of of research. They reveal that Attica willingly gave his soul for knowledge. Alcatraz struggles but can't move. He tries slobbering on the goop. He breaks the floor under him. Nothing works. Finally he bites down because his jaw is tired and the stuff turns liquidy and retreats, freeing them. After getting free of the trap, Alcatraz remembers that he hasn't gotten his confiscated writing back, so he asks for them. The Curators sullenly comply. He realizes that the Curators have rules or laws. He demands to know them, and they follow the letter of the law by reciting them in their own language, one hardly anyone knows, but Alcatraz is wearing his Translator's Lenses. They also tell him that his father gave his soul to see a book for three minutes. Using their rules he asks for his father's possessions, but is denied since they have already given them to his mother, Shasta Smedry, on this same day.
The group sets off looking for the others again. While walking, Alcatraz asks Kaz about his mother and finds out that his parents are still married. Shasta gained her husband's Talent of losing things and probably didn't get divorced to avoid losing her Talent. Alcatraz uses his Discerner's Lenses to find trip wires as they wander about. Kaz and Al spend some time talking about Shasta, with Kaz defending her to a point. After a while, Alcatraz notices a feeling and realizes an Oculator is nearby. They head towards the source.
Alcatraz discovers a wall behind a bookshelf that glows brightly while using the Oculator's Lenses. Using his Discerner's Lenses, he sees that a portion of the wall is older than the normal walls of the library. He uses his Talent to break the wall, hoping that it doesn't knock over the books on the bookshelf, which would cause him to lose his soul. They carefully move the bookshelf back a bit and squeeze behind it, finding a chamber with a sarcophagus in the center and a great deal of treasure. Alcatraz starts to grab some coins, but Bastille stops him because they have writing on them. The Curators do indeed consider them to be "books." Grateful that she's saved his life, he pilfers some gold bars instead. Kaz notices that there is a circle around the sarcophagus with no dust on the floor. They also locate an Incarnate Wheel inscribed on the wall that looks very much like the one Kaz had drawn earlier. Switching to his Translator's Lenses, Alcatraz sees that The Talent of Breaking is in the middle of the circle. He turns to read another writing on the wall.
Alcatraz reads the inscription on the wall left behind by the Incarna. They warn that the "Dark Talent" of Breaking has been released upon the world. Alcatraz writes down a translation on a piece of paper, which he immediately has to surrender to the Curators for copying. He then remembers why they came to this place to begin with. He walks into the bubble around the sarcophagus which seems to be a different version of time. He opens the lid and finds a person who is dead, but looks alive. An inscription indicates he is Alcatraz Smedry the First, first Bearer of the Dark Talent. Alcatraz sees a clear lens stuck in the sarcophagus and uses his Talent break it loose. He sees an inscription under it, impossible to see unless the Lens is removed. It is a message again warning about the great power of the Breaking Talent. Alcatraz promises his ancestor that he will do his best, and he steps out of the time bubble. Kaz doesn't believe that the corpse is that of Alcatraz the First because he's seen his tomb, but Bastille reveals that it's a fake. Bastille suddenly takes off, so Kaz and Al chase after. Once they catch up, Bastille claims her mother is in pain. Alcatraz notices he can feel the blood-forged lens close. They see the Scrivener's Bones through a gate holding Draulin's Crystin sword.
Alcatraz decides they need to confront the creature. He introduces himself as Kilimanjaro and says that he has been sent to retrieve the Lenses of Rashid. Kilimanjaro has removed Draulin's Fleshstone and she will die within the hour. He offers to trade them the Fleshstone for the Lenses. After a brief battle, Alcatraz realizes that he can't win this way and reluctantly accepts the trade. A bunch of mechanical spiders crawl down from Kiliman's mechanical body, and they trip a wire, sending Alcatraz and Bastille into a deep pit. Kaz is standing just out of the way of the trap. Kiliman orders Kaz to get the Lenses from Alcatraz then meet him at the center of the library for the trade. Alcatraz considers the trade a poor one -- giving the Librarians so much information just to save one life, when many more will probably be lost later, but he can't bring himself to be the cause of Draulin's death. He gives the Lenses to Kaz and sends him on his way.
Sitting trapped in the hole, Bastille and Alcatraz do some soul searching. Alcatraz decided he wants to be a leader. Bastille talks about where her name came from and some of her lineage. She reveals that her father is a nobleman, so she is supposed to be a leader, but she feels very inadequate, especially compared to Alcatraz. She also explains a little on how she became a Knight of Crystallia. She tells Alcatraz that there are three kinds of crystals: Fleshstone, which grants them power; swordstone that they use for swords and daggers; and a third that is personal and she won't talk about. Bastille hears something and they look up out of the pit. Australia calls down to them.
Alcatraz sends Australia to find some rope. In the meantime, he and Bastille try to figure out a way to escape. Alcatraz breaks down some of the wall. He tries to get the Grappler's Glass to grab the stone with its minute amounts of silicon. It sticks, but it comes off too easily to support a person's weight. Bastille gets out the Windstormer's Lenses and suggests that he point them downward to blast them up and out of the pit. It works. Bastille kicks Alcatraz to the side, and they're free. Australia rejoins them, carrying a tripwire. Alcatraz figures that the center of the library has the oldest books, so he puts on his Discerner's Lenses and the three of them set off.
The three of them rush to the center of the library. Alcatraz's idea is working -- they are in the section with scrolls, and the scrolls are getting older. He begins to feel Kiliman's Lenses. Alcatraz sees something scrawled on the wall, freshly written in the Forgotten Language, which means that his father was here recently. He tries to read it with the Lens from the tomb, but it doesn't translate. Bastille scouts ahead and sees Kiliman in the next room trying to communicate with Courier's Lenses. Alcatraz has a plan to use Australia's Talent . . .
Alcatraz and Bastille charge into the room. Kiliman is shocked by the head-on attack. Bastille throws the Grappler's Glass boots at him and manages to snag a pouch on his belt with the trip wire. Bastille finds the Fleshstone, but not the Translator's Lenses. Kiliman frees himself from the boots quickly, but Kaz, freed from his bonds, yells at him to distract him. A Curator is nearby, transforming into Australia. Kaz and Australia escape with Draulin. Alcatraz is escaping too, but Kiliman threatens to hunt him down. Bastille knows he's not lying, so she stays and attacks again. Al joins her.
Bastille charges and manages to get close enough to engage Kiliman hand-to-hand. She lands a punch but is knocked aside. Alcatraz throws the boot at him again and creates a distraction by Breaking the floor, and Bastille lands another hit, causing the Translator's Lenses to come free. Bastille is thrown into a wall and can't even get up. Alcatraz grabs the Lenses and pretends to abandon Bastille, and Kiliman uses his Voidstormer's Lenses to get the Lenses back. In doing so, he engages a trap set by Alcatraz: he tied the trip wire to the glasses and to a scroll. The Curators surround Kiliman and take his soul for moving a book off the shelf. Kaz and the others return. Draulin begs forgiveness of Alcatraz because she failed to protect him. Alcatraz notices his parents' and his Grandpa's footprints, and he follows them to a room in which the possessions of those who are turned into Curators are stored.
Alcatraz finds Grandpa Smedry in a small room. He has a note from Shasta claiming that Attica is a Curator. She has claimed his possessions, including the Translator's Lenses. Grandpa confirms that Attica is indeed a Curator. They all begin to walk out of the library, and Alcatraz remembers the note above the door written in the Forgotten Language. It reads, "I am not an idiot" (Shasta had called him an idiot for becoming a Curator in her note). Alcatraz demands anything written left behind by his father before becoming a Curator, and the Curators reluctantly comply. He reads that Attica has willed his soul to his son Alcatraz, so he demands the return of a possession unlawfully taken. One of the Curators pops back to life -- it's Attica Smedry! He congratulates his son, but otherwise practically ignores him. They head out of the library.