I will miss Nathan and Caroline, and wish them well in their further adventures.
Here's an excerpt from the book: Nathan and Fitz visit the theater to see if the magician Manzini is their old foe Rasmussen in disguise, and if he can really teleport himself as he claims...
A Question of Time
"In time, there are infinite places to hide a king."
Nathan and Fitz joined the line of people waiting to enter Ford’s Theatre. An anticipatory buzz rose, and the mood was merry, with laughing comments rising above the hubbub.
“My friend says he couldn’t believe his eyes…”
“Can’t be done, must be some kind of illusion…”
“There was a case a few years ago where a man disappeared in New York and turned up in New Jersey…”
“No, they proved it was two men, identical twins…”
At last the doors opened and the line began to move. Nathan and Fitz found their seats and settled in to wait.
As before, the opening tricks were unimaginative. This time, however, the crowd did not react as they had the first night. They were willing to wait until the climax, as if it were a price they had agreed to pay.
Restless, Fitz scanned the audience. “Hello!” he said softly, and poked Nathan in the ribs. “See there, third row, in the center. Is that who I think it is?”
Nathan craned his neck. “I believe you are right. I’m not surprised. The king often attends public events, thinking he is unrecognized. There are bodyguards on either side of him, I’m glad to see.”
At last it came time for the final trick. This time, Manzini changed his routine.
“Some people have said the box is rigged, leading to an underground passage. I invite a member of the audience to come on the stage and inspect it. Who will volunteer? You, sir?” He pointed at the third row.
A tall figure nodded and rose.
“He isn’t!” Nathan clenched his fists in frustration.
“It appears as if he is. Young fool.” Fitz half rose to his feet, but was sharply yanked back by the man behind him. He turned and glared, and the man quickly let go and slunk into his seat.
“He carries his democratic leanings too far,” Nathan said, equally alarmed.
The king made his way to the stage, followed by his bodyguards, who both looked sheepish. Vaulting onto the boards instead of taking the steps at the side of the stage, King Thomas Jefferson the Fourth strode to the center of the boards.
“Look as long as you like,” the maestro invited. “Do you see anything like a false door?”
“I do not,” the young monarch said in his clear tenor. “Everything seems aboveboard.”
“Take a closer look inside. Step in, if you will.”
The king hesitated a moment, then stepped inside the booth.
What happened next was described in as many variations as there were witnesses, but Nathan and Fitz agreed on one thing— Maestro Manzini pushed the king forward and stepped into the box behind him. His assistant slammed the door shut and stood back.
The house was silent. Minutes passed, and people began to murmur. Then shouts went up.
The assistant, as alarmed as anyone else, opened the door to the booth.
It was empty. The king and the maestro had disappeared.
As the minutes ticked past, it soon became apparent they were not going to come back.