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Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Riddle of Prague

When 18-year-old Hana Silna travels to Prague to reclaim her family’s home, she discovers a riddle that may lead to a long-last flask.

The contents of that flask could change the fate of the world. When a ruthless enemy kidnaps her family Hana has to find the flask to rescue them. On her quest she meets a mysterious man with a penchant for poetry, a Gypsy girl with a haunting past, and Alex, an all-American boy who’s trying to save his sister from a crippling disease.   It’s hard to trust anyone when the stakes are this high — especially when surrounded by experts in deception.

There’s only one flask, and Hana desperately needs to find it.

You’ll find all the answers in The Riddle of Prague – a Young Adult Thriller available now from Quicksilver Legacy Books. The author, Laura DeBruce is doing a promotional tour for this book right now, and for the occasion she is giving away a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. So don’t hesitate to post your comments, but please use this Rafflecopter code:

Here’s an excerpt from the novel:

JFK Airport, New York, 1991

My mother says when we face our fears, we tap into a reservoir of courage. I’m not so sure. I’m strapped to this seat like a captured beast, and all I feel is panic. The airplane screams down the runway and thrusts its 800,000 pounds of steel into the sky. We’re taking off in the middle of a thunderstorm. My seatmate, immersed in a book, seems oblivious to the danger.

He’s got curly, blond hair that’s a little on the long side and one of those perfectly sculpted noses, and he’s wearing jeans and a batik-patterned shirt. Early twenties, I’m guessing. Not much older than me. The airplane gives a sickening lunge, and I tug the seatbelt tighter. My seatmate glances over, a bit eagerly, with piercing blue eyes.

“You all right there?” he asks with a crisp, European accent of some kind.

“I’m fine.” I’m not fine at all, but I don’t want to tell him that.

“This is the amazing part.” He gestures out the window, twirling his hand as if he’s conducting the storm outside. “Look!”

“I’d rather not.” The plane shakes, and I grab the armrests.

I’m only on this flight because my mother has inherited a house in Prague. Actually she’s reclaiming a house—the one where she grew up. The one the Communists took from her family when they seized all private property. My mom and dad had to escape when the Soviets invaded Prague in 1968. Now the Iron Curtain has lifted, and the people who left can finally return without being thrown into jail. Unfortunately for my mother, now means surgery and doctors. She’s at a hospital and can barely walk down the hallway, much less haul herself onto a plane. This didn’t matter to the bureaucrats in charge of the restitution of property. If the transfer of the house doesn’t happen immediately, they say it might not happen at all. That’s why my mother is sending me, her only child, in her place. That’s why I’m on this airplane instead of at the hospital at her side, where I should be.

Some author bio and links:

Laura DeBruce is a documentary filmmaker and writer. She grew up traveling all over the world thanks to her father’s work with the U.S. Embassy. She and her husband spent twelve years living in Europe including Prague, Paris, Amsterdam and London where she found inspiration to write The Quicksilver Legacy Series. In Prague she worked as a lawyer for the first private nationwide television station in the former Communist bloc.  It was there that she fell in love with the ancient city of Prague and its legends. 

She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and son and an unruly Golden Retriever. 

Website with blog and trailer:

Also good to know

All of the paintings in The Riddle of Prague are based on real artwork.

Hana finds Elizabeth Weston’s notebook that includes this scene.

Don Julius invited us all to watch the great painter Bartholomew Spranger put the finishing touches on a portrait of Don Julius and Markéta posed as Bacchus and Venus. Don Julius called it a tribute to the start of their immortal reign over Krumlov. As he said these words, a shudder of horror passed over Markéta’s face. Imagine being doomed to all eternity with such a man!

(The Riddle of Prague, Chapter Seventeen, Westonia’s letter to her daughter.)

Here is part of the actual painting by Bartholomew Spranger who was a painter at the court of Rudulf the II.

At some point in the story, Alex and Hana travel to a town called Benatky where they see two paintings. The first is of famed astronomer Tycho Brahe.

She points to a portrait of a man in old-fashioned clothes. “My brother,” she says with a funny little smile. “It is sad he didn’t live to see the triumph of my work.”

Alex and I exchange a wary glance. The painting is obviously hundreds of years old.

(The Riddle of Prague, Chapter Twenty-Two, Portrait of Tycho Brahe.)

The second painting is of the Polish alchemist Michal Sendovogious who was also a part of Rudolf II’s court. The painting is by Jan Matejko.

In the big room, Alex is standing near the paintings on the wall. He pulls his hand back from the frame of a portrait when he sees us. The painting is of a  red-haired man with a long, rust-colored beard kneeling in front of a fireplace before a group of admirers.

(The Riddle of Prague, Chapter Twenty-Four, Painting of Sendovogious.)

Later in the book, Hana is searching for clues in Edward Kelley’s riddle. There’s a reference to Vertumnus that’s a portrait of Emperor Rudolf II.


  1. Thank you very much for hosting! I enjoyed researching the historical aspects of the book and finding the paintings to be included.

    1. It's a pleasure to have you here, Laura!

  2. I like the excerpt, the story sounds very compelling.


  3. I enjoyed the excerpt! Thanks for sharing it and the giveaway. Sounds like a great book

  4. Laura, how wonderful you that you included the art; I really enjoyed today's post. Thanks for sharing.