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Catherine Fisher is an acclaimed poet and children’s author who lives in Newport, South East Wales. Her bestselling books include The Snow-Walker trilogy, the Oracle trilogy, the Incarceron series and the Chronoptika series. Catherine was Wales’ first Young People's Laureate (2011-2013) and has won a number of awards for her work.
December 2019 Book of the Month | It’s autumn and the happiness and warmth of manor house Plas-y-Fran, now home to orphan Seren, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of the sinister Tylwyth Teg, or Fair Family. First, it’s Mrs Honeybourne in her red, velvet gloves, claiming to be a governess for Seren and her friend Tomos, but even stranger and much more frightening figures follow. Can Seren stand up to the Fair and save Tomos and her adopted family? A story of danger, courage and strength, Seren’s adventures will send delicious shivers down the spine. Catherine Fisher is a superb storyteller, breathing new life into old stories and setting them free like the wind whirling autumn leaves. This is the second story about Seren and also stars her magical clockwork companion Crow but stands on its own. Highly recommended especially for winter nights. If you like this, you’ll like Amy Wilson, Sophie Anderson and queen of magical stories, Diana Wynne Jones.
January 2019 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Story category | Beautifully written in prose that sparkles like the snow that provides its backdrop, this fantasy novel is practically perfect in every way. Young orphan Seren (it’s Welsh for star) is travelling alone through a winter’s night to her godfather and his family. They live in a big house in the heart of Wales and though she’s never met them before, a lifelong reader, she knows how this sort of story should go. Waiting for her next train on a freezing platform she meets a stranger. He’s flustered, clearly frightened of something, and leaves a bulky parcel in her care before disappearing. When she finally arrives at her destination, to find that her godfather, his wife and young son Tomos are absent, and that there's only a skeleton staff of servants to meet her, she assembles the contents of the parcel to stave off boredom and loneliness. It’s a clockwork crow – an awkward, clumsy-looking thing, yet magic: wound up it comes alive. Psammead-grumpy the crow becomes her ally and together they embark on a dangerous adventure to find out what has happened to Tomos, who disappeared mysteriously one frosty night a year ago. The story is rich with the sense of old magic and fairytale, yet is a totally original and particular bit of storytelling. At a time when books often sprawl over 300 pages or more, it is wonderfully concise too, and even better for that. A delight, and thankfully there should be more adventures for Seren to come. This review originally appeared in Books for Keeps.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 - In a Nutshell: danger deceit determination Catherine Fisher’s dystopian vision of a frozen world is beautiful, intriguing and makes for gripping reading. The human survivors of a devastating natural disaster live in isolated and strictly-governed communities. Caz and Will have already defied the odds escaping the ruins of a derelict city to reach the relative safety of a Settlement and Caz has never given up hope that her father too is still alive. With loyal Will at her side she sets off to find him, in defiance of the Settlement’s rulers. When they reach the place he was last seen, the white darkness hides terrifying dangers. End-of-the-world stories don’t come more exciting than this. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 Two young people are thrown out of the safety of ‘the Store’, the building where they’ve been holed up for the last nine years following an apocalyptic event that has – as far as they know – wiped out humanity in a massive, toxic ice storm. The silent world they discover is frightening and full of danger, their journey through it brilliantly described by Catherine Fisher in unfussy language that nonetheless captures its strangeness and beauty. It makes for compulsive reading. Published by Barrington Stoke and therefore accessible to dyslexic and reluctant readers, this is an excellent introduction to Catherine Fisher, one of our very best fantasy authors. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range. ...................... Read a special Q&A from Catherine Fisher on her book At the World's End.
Interest Age 11+ Reading Age 8+. A wonderfully suspenseful and page-turning mystery and thriller rolled into one involving a girl, her step-brother, a boy ghost and an old knarled oak tree, with a clever and surprising twist at the end. Fear of a ghost and loathing for her step-brother, Sarah must make a decision that is life threatening, not just for her but perhaps for others too. A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have always loved ghost stories and I have always loved old trees. They both can only be heard in whispers and creaks. They are both tangled with age and secrets. So I wanted to try and write a story about both a ghost and a tree. And when I’d begun it, other characters in the story started to interest me, like Sarah and Matt and how they felt about each other. Then the story had a new layer. A human layer. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you have any comments, my website is: www.geocities.com/catherinefisheruk. I’d love to hear from you. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
After rescuing Tomas from enchantment, orphan Seren Rhys is enjoying her first summer at Plas-y-Fran. But as autumn arrives, it brings with it a mysterious new governess who seems intent on drawing Tomas away from Seren and his family. Dangerous figures from a bewitched toy carousel stalk the house and, fearing the worst, Seren calls on the clockwork crow to help her. But can he reach her in time, and will Tomas be able to escape the magical creatures threatening to ensnare him, led by the Velvet Fox?
A magical story of snow and stars by Catherine Fisher. The Clockwork Crow is a mysterious gothic Christmas tale set in a frost-bound Victorian country mansion. When orphaned Seren Rees is given a mysterious package by a strange and frightened man on her way to her new home, she reluctantly takes it with her. But what is in the parcel? Who are the Family who must not be spoken of, and can the Crow help Seren find Tom, before the owner of the parcel finds her? The Clockwork Crow is a gripping Christmas tale of families and belonging set in snowy Wales from a master storyteller.
Life in the Settlement is not as perfect as Caz and Will had hoped - they live apart in the Boys' and Girls' Towers and rarely see each other. Searching for her father, Caz is told that he never arrived at the Settlement. But then she finds his name on a secret list of a missing Search and Rescue team that set out to investigate a mysterious signal and never came back. She can't rest until she finds out what's happened to him. Even though Will is convinced it's too dangerous. Even though it means leaving and heading back out onto the endless ice. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+
Science fiction, myth, time travel and Shakespearean wit and playfulness combine in a stunning sequence of huge imaginative power - the Shakespeare Quartet ... The Speed of Darkness concludes the series which began with The Obsidian Mirror, then moved on through The Box of Red Brocade and The Door in the Moon. In this final volume, a great storm brews out at sea and batters the Devon coast, flooding vast swathes of land. At Wintercombe Abbey the preceding weeks have been spent in a ferment of experimentation, as Jake Wilde's father, David and Maskelyne work furiously on Operation Leah. They have been practising changing tiny events in the past, in preparation for the rescue of Venn's wife Leah from death, the culmination of their work with the Obsidian Mirror. But in the aftermath of the storm, the Abbey is a drowned house. Where is the Mirror? What has happened to the two halves of the Janus coin? Whose is the mysterious boat wrecked up on the nearby beach? And what plans of mischief and mayhem lay in store for Halloween - the day chosen for Leah's return?
Dramatic dystopian adventure from the bestselling Incarceron author. Caz has been living in the department store since the day the Blue Star came and killed everyone who breathed in its toxic snow. She can't do so much as look outside. But life in the store is getting dangerous and so Caz decides to take her chances in the world outside, with only Will for company. What will she find in the bleak landscape? And is there even anything to find? A compelling vision of a dystopian society. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+
Rob's sister Chloe lies in a coma after a riding accident, trapped in a forest of dreams between life and death. But when a dark druid shape-shifts his way into Rob's life, despair turns to hope. Because the druid knows the way through the Unworld, where he claims Chloe is imprisoned. Could the ominous black ring of timbers slowly emerging from a secret archaeological dig hold the key to rescuing her? And will Chloe want to be rescued from a world where the landscapes of story merge and blur, and she has the chance to be Queen? Catherine Fisher's new novel combines a fascinating exploration of Celtic myth with a modern quest for understanding. Where is the land of the imagination? And if we found our way would we ever want to come back?
TIME TRAVEL MEETS SCARY FAIRIES ... with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream thrown in, from 'the leading lady of British fantasy' (The Times) It's Midsummer Night, it's hot, and everyone in Wintercombe Abbey is dreaming strange and disturbing dreams. But what wakes Jake is the cold muzzle of a pistol pressed to his forehead. Who is the mysterious thief waiting for him beyond the Obsidian Mirror? And where will he find his father in the lost ages of the past? In the third volume of the Chronoptika Quartet Jake and Sarah are swept into a nightmare world of revolution and murder, while Oberon Venn has to face the choice between staying mortal or losing his soul in the tangled green wildwood of the Shee. With a masked ball, priceless emeralds, an enchanted monk and a desperate struggle at the very foot of the guillotine, Catherine Fisher continues her breathtaking series of sorcery and amazing worlds with this adventure of magic and the dangerous search for those who Time has snatched away.
Time travel is sf. Fairies are folklore. What happens when you mix the two? And add a final ingredient, Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' ...? On a mission to recover his father lost in time, Jake finds himself in 1940s London. From the rubble of the Blitzed city, a clue leads him to an eccentric seer of ghosts, three sinister children and three strange prophesies. Two of them soon come to pass, but what is the Box of Red Brocade? Does it hold the secret of destroying the Obsidian Mirror? A talking bird, an invisible girl, a walking wood; the second volume of Catherine Fisher's Chronoptika series is packed with mystery, magic and sinister intrigue. 'A new novel by Catherine Fisher, poet and prize-winning novelist is always worth looking out for. The Obsidian Mirror is both thriller and SF, and, being written in Fisher's acid-etched prose, equally satisfying to fans of many genres. 'Amanda Craig, THE TIMES Children's Book of the Week.
Jake's father disappears while working on mysterious experiments with the obsessive, reclusive Oberon Venn. Jake is convinced Venn has murdered him. But the truth he finds at the snow-bound Wintercombe Abbey is far stranger ... The experiments concerned a black mirror, which is a portal to both the past and the future. Venn is not alone in wanting to use its powers. Strangers begin gathering in and around Venn's estate: Sarah - a runaway, who appears out of nowhere and is clearly not what she says, Maskelyne - who claims the mirror was stolen from him in some past century. There are others, a product of the mirror's power to twist time. And a tribe of elemental beings surround this isolated estate, fey, cold, untrustworthy, and filled with hate for humans. But of them all, Jake is hell-bent on using the mirror to get to the truth. Whatever the cost, he must learn what really happened to his father.
Sarah finds herself responsible for freeing the soul of a frustrated ghost, who will punish her severely if she fails. Everything depends on her unlocking the strange silver box that appeared in her room one night. But will freeing the ghost turn out to be a huge mistake? And why is Matt, her weird Goth stepbrother, so interested in the box? Supernatural tale that will make readers want to leave the light on - A cracking ghost story.
When the evil Snow-Walker Gudrun steals Signi's soul on the eve of her wedding, Kari knows it is his mother's sign to take up her final, most dreadful confrontation - from which only one of them can emerge alive. Together with his stalwart friends, Jessa, Brochael, Skapti and Hakon he sets off to challenge Gudrun in her own land, beyond the rainbow bridge. It's a journey few before have dared attempt -and from which none have returned. . .
THE SNOW WALKER'S SON is a book of intrigue; of banishment and sorcery; of an ice cold winter and an unseen evil eye. Jessa and Thorkil are banished by the evil witch Gudrun to the ice kingdom to the North. Here they will be incarcerated with Gudrun's son Kari; about whom there are the most terrible tales. He is rumoured to be half-man, half-beast and is a figure of dread. After an endless journey, Thorkil and Jessa arrive and, at last meet Kari. He is not as they feared but is a slight winsome young man. His only terror is that he, too, has the power. But he is determined to use the magic wisely.
A creature moves down out of the uttermost North. It's a sending summoned by Gudrun to cause destruction in the kingdom of Wulfgar, and as it travels down towards the Jarlshold it leaves a trail of devastation in its wake. Kari Ragnarrson tells his friends of old that he knows why the creature is coming: it has been sent by Gudrun as a test for him, a test of the powers which he has inherited from her. Ultimately, Kari must come to terms with the full strength of his powers in order to win his struggle and defeat the curse of Gudrun. It is a battle of the spirit which Kari knows he must win.
Jamie was at the library looking for a book that was different, one he could get lost in. But he didn't mean it literally. The Book with his own name in it leads Jamie and his sister Jenny into the Summer Country - a world of magic and danger, where even time behaves strangely; where Fintan's Tower has held its prisoner since the days of Camelot, and will keep Jamie and Jenny, too, unless Jamie can read the book right . . .
Alick is fascinated by Luke Ferris - the Conjuror! Where does he get his strange powers of healing? Why has he got six fingers? What is his connection with the sinister goings-on at the Mere in Halcombe Great Wood? Then Alick follows the Conjuror to the secret chamber under the hillside. There he discovers the ancient game of Fidchell and accidentally removes a key piece in the game - unleashing dark and terrifying forces on to the world.
Meurig, the fiddler, is a haunted man. Hafren, the evil spirit-woman of the Severn has captured his soul and now possesses the key to his life - a small candle stub. Hafren taunts and torments Meurig but with help from Conor and Sara, he CAN take back his life from her watery grasp - at the cost of flooding the land. Meurig must make his choice - his life or the village. . . . . .
The story of Taliesin, the bard, the shapeshifter and sorceror, and his battle to save his adoptive father's life. Exciting, funny Welsh myth. Barrington Stoke specialise in books for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic readers
In an absorbing mystery thriller, a teenage girl with a past arrives in a city: new name, new identity, new foster family. She has chosen the city herself, and is fascinated by its harmony and beauty, but is clearly in fear of discovery. She is nursing a secret from her early childhood, a secret that produces new terrors for her the moment she fears her identity has been spotted. A parallel narrative tells of a young architect's apprentice, Zak, in 1750 - working with Jonathan Forrest, a man obsessed with past Druidic mysteries and a new architectural vision for the city. He plans to create the world's first circular terraced street, the King's Circus - a plan greeted with scorn and derision. Zac soon realises there's more than just obsession with an architectural vision; there is some secret associated with building a hidden chamber in the centre of the Circus. But Zac himself has his own confused and highly destructive agenda ...These narratives are framed by the voice of Bladud - mythical first builder of the city, destined to die in trying to fly. And ultimately his narrative brings all together in a clever and brilliantly intriguing climax.
Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don't even know who you are Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique. This refers to the newly jacketed edition available 2 May 2013.
The ghost in Sarah's bedroom is begging for help. He just needs her to open a box...can she save a soul, or is it a dreadful trap? Chilling supernatural thriller. Barrington Stoke specialise in books for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic
The final story in the Oracle sequence. We are again in the distand land of deserts and islands ruled by one god whose wishes are conveyed through the Oracle. The Archon, child god-on-earth, returns from his journey across the desert to the Well of Songs, to find the tyrannical General Argelin has siezed control and his reign of madness is oppressing the Two Lands. He has publicly denounced the gods, and established a reign of terror. Mirany is in hiding, and the Nine are scattered. Will Argelin's obsession bring the Rain Queen's wrath down on them all? And whose is the sinister new power hidden in the sign of the Scarab? In the descent into anarchy, Mirany and the Archon must attempt the final, impossible journey of the soul. Through the Nine Gateways into death. And back.
The Conjuror's Game should never have been started. Now Luke must replace the Tree on the central square before the Knights and Ravens rampage in their eternal battle through the snowbound villages of Halcombe Great Wood. Can a man's soul be trapped in a candle? Cursed from infancy Meurig treasures the candle as his dearest possession. But what happens if it is stolen by his enemy, a water goddess of immense power? The Candle Man is a tale soaked in mist and marshland. Jennie and Jamie find a magical book that offers to lead them to Fintan's Tower. But who are the three strangers that pursue them? How can they know whom to trust, when the glass tower contains unimaginable terrors, and the only time they have left is a wink of the sun's eye?
Breathtaking sequel to The Oracle, the Archon must face a journey of treachery and adventure across the pitiless desert in a bid to save his people ... The Archon vows to lead a pilgrimage to the Well of Songs to seek peace with the Rain Queen and save the land from the terrible drought. The Well is hidden in the mountains across the desert. But he is not the only one with his sight set on the mountains: Argelin, the tyrannical and power-hungry General, follows behind, an ever-present threat, with his heart set on the riches to be found. With only Oblek, Seth and two tomb-thieves known as the Jackal and the Fox for company, the Archon's journey is treacherous and dangerous. They must face the Great Desolation and the monstrous animals outlined on the desert floor, animals with mythical powers, and they must survive without Mirany, bearer-of-the-god and true friend of the Archon, who has had to remain behind to face a threat much closer to home ...
From the swirling mists and icy depths beyond the edge of the world came the snow-walker Gudrun, to rule the Jarl's people with fear and sorcery. But a small band of outlaws are prepared to risk their lives to defeat Gudrun and restore the land to its rightful leader. This trilogy follows them in their quest, from the first terrifying journey to meet the mysterious snow-walker's son, to the final battle in the lands beyond the rainbow bridge. The Snow-walker's Son follows Jessa and Thorkil who, are sent to Thrasirshall in the empty wastelands to live with the mysterious Kari, Gudrun's son. Led to believe Kari is some kind of monster they are shocked to discover he is a snow-walker, just like Gudrun, except with the desire to do good rather than evil. Together they journey back to the Jarshold to defeat Gudrun. In The Empty Hand Gudrun seeks revenge on those who banished her and sends a terrifying, faceless creature to the Jarlshold, and in The Soul Thieves, Kari and his companions must travel to the land of the snow-walkers to claim back the precious souls Gudrun has stolen. Here, Kari and Gudrun, mother and son and ultimate opponents, must fight their final battle.
In the distant land of deserts and islands, the servants of the god rule the land, his wishes conveyed through the Oracle and interpreted by the High Priestess. Mirany is the new Bearer, afraid of her perilous duties for the god in the rituals of the Oracle, and fearful of her secret questioning ... Does the god truly exist? The priestess is corrupt and in secret partnership with the General, ruler, since the God-on-Earth, the Archon, has no real power - chosen as a child, his face always masked, never seen by outsiders. Should any national tragedy occur, he is also the sacrifice. When the old Archon dies, his spirit migrates into a child, and there are several candidates for succession. But Mirany begins to experience the real visions of the god, discovers which child is the rightful heir, and that the General and High Priestess intend to choose another child and seize power. With only a tomb-robbing scribe and a mad musician for allies, Mirany begins her quest - knowing that, if she is betrayed, her fate will be to be walled up alive in the Archon's tomb ...
Cal has struggled to cope with his mother's drinking and her psychotic episodes since he was six; cooped up in their dirty council flat he dreams of a new life. So when he leaves to live with his uncle Trevor in Chepstow he is ruthless about breaking with the past, despite his mother's despair. But getting off the train at the wrong station he finds himself at the castle of the Fisher King, and from then on moves in a nightmare spiral of predetermined descent into a wasteland of desolation and adventure, always seeking the way back to the Grail he has betrayed. Catherine Fisher has created a gripping and highly moving novel that moves between myth and a contemporary journey of self-knowledge until one becomes indistinguishable from the other. Drawing in Arthurian themes, historical re-enactments and the Four Hallows, Cal's quest for a return to peace of mind is an elaborate and ambitious Grail novel for our time. An important new work from the author of the Book of the Crow
In this fourth and final volume of the Book of the Crow, Galen is determined to fulfil his promise - to find and destroy the dreaded Margrave, leader of the Watch. Soon the terrible quest leads him into the Pit of Maar and the deep evil world at the heart of the Watch. Down there he finds the Margrave and learns its true identity. But he also discovers what it really wants... Raffi!This fantastic sequence of books is compelling to the very last page.
Galen has spent the winter in Sarres, building a power-base round the symbolic leadership of the Interrex. But as Relic Master, he knows that to face the mysterious Margrave he needs to seek out the Coronet of Flain to complete his powers. Also, Galen and Raffi rescue two men from execution by the Watch: a keeper and a sceptic. These new men severely test Galen's and Raffi's belief in the Order's ultimate success. Meanwhile, Carys continues to struggle to leave the Watch and its way behind as she gradually accepts the help given to her by the Sekoi.
Having tapped into the Crow, the Order's legendary powerhouse, Galen is charged with a force beyond anything he, or his apprentice, Raffi have ever known. And when, during the ritual ceremony on the night of Flainsdeath, Galen receives a message from the makers urging him to find the Interrex - the child of the last great Emperor - Galen knows that the Keepers are tantalisingly close to the brink of a revolution. Meanwhile, Gary is struggling to come to terms with her past, her identity and the mystery of how she became a member of the Watch.
Raffi is apprenticed to the Relic Master, Galen, whose task is to keep safe the relics of a bygone age. But his powers are weakening and he and Raffi set off to meet the Makers in the City of the Crows and discover why. The journey is beset with dangers and Raffi's courage is tested at every turn. They are joined by the enigmatic girl Carys and face an uncertain future in the City of Destruction. Will they be able to summon the Crow to help them? Or will the everpresent Watch eventually eliminate them?
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