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Charlie Thorne and the Royal Society

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About The Book

In the fourth installment of the New York Times bestselling Charlie Thorne series—which #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Grabenstein called “a real page-burner”—Charlie searches for Isaac Newtons secret treasure across Europe and Australia.

Charlie Thorne is a genius. Charlie Thorne is fearless. Charlie Thorne may have finally met her match.

Charlie Thorne is used to being on the run. Ever since she was recruited by the CIA to track down Einstein’s most dangerous equation, Charlie and former CIA agents, Dante Garcia and Milana Moon, have traveled around the world to prevent history’s greatest discoveries from falling into the wrong hands. But after beating others to the secrets hidden by Einstein, Darwin, and Cleopatra, they find they are not the only ones searching for an immensely powerful discovery of Isaac Newton’s.

From a chase over the rooftops of Cambridge University to scaling the Sydney Harbour Bridge to skirting a volcanic eruption, Charlie will need to think one step ahead of her opponents to follow Newton’s trail of devious clues and keep herself out of the hands of the many enemies who are hot on her tail.


Chapter One ONE
Craobh Haven, Scotland

Modern Day

The house hadn’t been easy to find, but that was the point. The man who lived and worked there was wanted by Interpol, the CIA, and a dozen other law enforcement agencies. Only people who were desperate enough—and wealthy enough—to afford his services could go through all the trouble to track him down.

The house sat on a small peninsula that jutted into Loch Melfort on the ragged western shore of Scotland, surrounded by hundreds of acres of pasture. On a sunny summer day, it would probably have been beautiful, but now, a month into fall, it was gloomy and foreboding. Dark clouds hung low in the sky, and a cold rain was whipped sideways by the wind.

From the outside, the home looked much like every other old manor in the area, a once-grand place that had been battered by centuries of bad weather. Gray stone walls speckled with patches of moss. A sagging thatched roof. The whole structure tilted slightly to the side, as though the years of wind had slowly begun to shove it over.

Inside, however, it was surprisingly modern.

The original cramped interior had been gutted, and now there were spacious rooms decorated with fashionable furniture and expensive art. But the most contemporary part of all was a secret, a room that could only be accessed through an honest-to-goodness hidden door in a bookshelf. Pulling on a copy of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None triggered the door to open, leading to a staircase that spiraled down into the earth, until it reached a workshop filled with so much state-of-the-art computing and printing equipment that it looked like the documents lab at CIA headquarters.

This was where the forger worked.

He was younger than Charlie Thorne had expected. Barely thirty, by her guess. She was upset at herself for being surprised by this.

Charlie knew, better than almost anyone, that people could do exceptional things at a very young age. After all, she was only thirteen but had already solved several ingenious mysteries that had confounded the rest of the world for decades.

Even though the room should have been chilly, given that it was buried in the dank earth of Scotland, the electronic equipment generated so much heat that it felt as though a fire was blazing. Charlie had shed the thick sweater and raincoat she had worn on her way there. The forger was wearing only a vintage T-shirt from a band he was too young to have ever seen in person, jeans with holes in them, and sandals.

He had a policy of not asking questions about his clients, but Charlie could tell that he was thinking about violating it. He kept glancing at her, wondering what someone her age was doing, seeking the services of someone like him.

Charlie looked and acted older than thirteen. Most people assumed she was closer to seventeen or eighteen, but even that was awfully young to be seeking forged passports.

To add to her mystique, Charlie hadn’t said a single word since she’d arrived. Dante had been doing most of the talking.

Dante Garcia was rather young as well, considering that, until recently, he had been a respected CIA agent running a highly classified operation. He was only in his late twenties, with the same stocky, muscular wrestler’s physique he’d had since college. He was Charlie’s half brother, although for most of their lives, they had been estranged.

Milana Moon sat next to him. She was also in her late twenties—although she had never admitted her exact age to Charlie—and was lithe and athletic, with piercing dark eyes that signaled her intelligence. She had been an exceptional agent as well.

But then the CIA had turned on them. Charlie had information the Agency wanted, but Dante and Milana had refused to turn her over to them. So their status had been revoked, and they had been declared criminals. Which was why they were now in an underground bunker in Scotland, seeking the help of one of the best document forgers in the world.

Dante knew of other such people, but this man was the one they could get to most easily, and who was en route to where they were heading next.

“Our work requires that we travel a great deal,” Dante was explaining. “Ideally by commercial airline…”

“You can’t afford private jets?” the forger asked.

“There aren’t that many private jet services in the world,” Dante replied. “Our enemies are surely keeping tabs on all of them. At this point, we’d be less conspicuous traveling commercially.”

The forger glanced at Charlie once again, obviously pondering what she was involved in. But he asked another question instead. “Are there any languages that all three of you speak besides English?”

“Spanish,” Dante said. “And Mandarin Chinese.”

Once again, the forger glanced at Charlie. Although this time, he was studying her carefully.

Charlie came from an extremely multiracial background. This, combined with her prodigious talent for learning languages, allowed her to blend in almost anywhere on earth.

“She could pass for Chinese,” the forger noted. “Or at least partly Chinese.” He shifted his gaze to Dante and Milana. “But not the two of you. Spain would work, though. Or Mexico.”

“Let’s do both,” Dante said. “And ones from the United States as well.”

The forger arched an eyebrow, as intrigued by this order as he was by Charlie’s presence. “US passports are extremely difficult to fake.”

“But they don’t draw much attention,” Dante stated. “And my sources say that you can fabricate them perfectly.”

“I can. But they’re not cheap. And then all three of you want two more passports on top of those?”

Four more, actually,” Dante corrected. “In case any of our identities get compromised.”

“That really won’t be cheap.” The forger wrote a price on a piece of paper, then slid it across his desk to Dante.

Dante picked it up. Milana looked at the price over his shoulder and was so startled, she spoke for the first time. “We’re only asking for fake passports here. Not a forgery of the Mona Lisa.”

“My passports are works of art,” the forger explained. “And there’s more to them than just the object itself. First, I need to fake multiple realistic entry stamps and visas from other countries; a blank passport is suspicious, while a well-used one is not. Then, I have to hack into the database of each country you want a passport from and create a realistic identity for all three of you, with a history of travel to the countries I’ve created the visas for. In addition, your case is special. I’ll need to create linked profiles to give the impression that you’re a family.” He pointed to Charlie. “Because someone her age traveling by herself internationally is going to garner attention otherwise. And finally, no offense, but I’m the only person in the British Isles who can do this kind of work to the specifications you need. I’m not sure how you got to this country in the first place, but I’m assuming you’ll need a passport to get back out again. Which means I have you over a barrel.” The forger grinned tauntingly.

Dante sighed, knowing the forger was right on all counts. They had arrived by sailboat, traversing the North Atlantic from the United States to Scotland. Dante was a capable seaman, so the journey had been quite pleasant, save for some nasty squalls once they reached the Scottish coast, but sailing was slow and therefore impractical. Dante was hoping that they wouldn’t have to travel far to find what they were seeking this time, but he still wanted to be prepared. Over the last few months, he had found that his plans rarely worked out for the best.

He handed the paper to Charlie, who gave the price a quick glance and then said, “That’s not a problem.”

At this, the forger could no longer control his curiosity. He broke his long tradition and asked a question about his clients. “She is the one who gets to make this decision?”

“Oh, she’s not just the money,” Dante said, giving Charlie a proud smile. “She’s also the brains of this operation.”

About The Author

Photograph by Dashiell Gibbs

Stuart Gibbs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Thorne series, FunJungle series, Moon Base Alpha series, Once Upon a Tim series, and Spy School series. He has written screenplays, worked on a whole bunch of animated films, developed TV shows, been a newspaper columnist, and researched capybaras (the world’s largest rodents). Stuart lives with his family in Los Angeles. You can learn more about what he’s up to at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (April 23, 2024)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665934893
  • Ages: 10 - 99

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