A book that should appeal to grown-up Potter-philes.


Near Truro, where Britain meets the legends of the mythic sea, Gavin Stokes awaits his Auntie Gwen at an estate called Pendurra.

Gavin has heard a woman’s voice since childhood, a voice he refers to as Miss Grey. His mother thinks he’s batty. His father thinks he’s contrary. His school has suspended him. With parents away for winter vacation, Gavin is sent to Auntie Gwen. In this first of a trilogy, Treadwell links young Gavin to magus John Fiste, a student of “the unseen world” in 1537. On his way to Truro, Gavin encounters Hester Lightfoot, a scholar at Oxford forced to resign because she too hears a voice. Gavin’s aunt isn’t on hand to meet the train, and so Hester drops him off at Gwen’s lodge on the grounds of Pendurra’s ancient manor house. There, Gavin encounters its owner, Tristram Uren, and his fey and feckless 13-year-old daughter Marina. Setting and atmosphere are perfect for a gothic-tinged, magic-driven story: a forbidding opening; strange characters; bizarre noises and shadowy visions; and a narrative that slowly but inexorably circles toward seemingly inevitable doom. Shifting from Gavin’s current day to Fiste’s era, the story reveals the great magus is Johannes Faust, whose skill with the black arts allowed him to travel in time to meet Helen of Troy and Cassandra. That there is a link between Fiste/Faust and Gavin becomes apparent when Gavin encounters a mysterious woman near Hester’s village who refers to him as Gawain. She asks Gavin to take her burden, that being “There will be fire and blood…The world will find it a bitter weight.” The book thereafter romps toward a surrealistic and fantastical conclusion filled with dryads and pukas, mermaids and a giant talking crow, trees that come alive, malevolent angels and Gavin's heroic overcoming. Ripe with literary language and classical references, Treadwell’s novel shape-shifts between bewitchingly perplexing and supernaturally entertaining.

A book that should appeal to grown-up Potter-philes.

Pub Date: July 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6164-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Emily Bestler/Atria

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.


A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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