Book Excerpt: Diving Deep into Portland’s Enchanted Forest

An exclusive look at Under Wildwood, the new novel in the best-selling series by Decemberists front man Colin Meloy

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Wildwood, the debut novel penned by The Decemberists singer/songwriter Colin Meloy and illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis, hit the best-seller list last year. It’s a fantastical tale of Prue McKeel, a seventh grader who leads a pretty mundane life — until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. She and her friend, Curtis, encounter a world of warring creatures — think coyotes dressed in Napoleonic uniforms, talking birds and one brainy rat. In Under Wildwood, the adventure continues as Prue and Curtis are thrown together again to save themselves and the lives of their friends, and to bring unity to a divided country.

TIME invites you to read the first three chapters of Under Wildwood, due out in September.

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(Read: The Decemberists Lead Singer Spins a Sequel)

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