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Aliya’s grandfather had vanished again. She knew it the moment she put her ear to the keyhole of his study. Pressing it tight to the cold metal, she listened for newspaper pages rustling, tea being slurped, backgammon chips rattling or snoring, but there was only silence. Today of all days, she had thought he might not vanish, but the silence through the keyhole offered no other explanation. Aliya gave the study door an angry shove. You only turned eleven once in your life. Yet here she was: cake- and present-less, standing like an idiot in front of a locked door. She tried peeking through the keyhole again. It really was oddly quiet in there, as though the room had magically whisked her grandfather away. Most days, the keyhole let through nothing but silence and darkness, like now. But at other times she could swear she’d caught a glimpse of some faraway place – a billowing desert or a street full of people.

About the book

A sparkling magical debut, set in a fantastical Egypt full of flying carpets and mythical creatures!

At home in Cairo, an unexpected gift arrives for Aliya, promising to grant her greatest wish – to know more about her lost parents.

To her surprise, she’s whisked off by flying carpet to a parallel Egypt, where she’s enrolled at an academy for . . . time-travellers!

But while she’s there, an enemy is watching – a master of forbidden magic. If they can unlock Aliya’s inherited talent, they can change history forever . . .

  • A stunning adventure story for readers aged 9 and up 
  • Shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2021
  • For fans of Nura and the Immortal Palace and The Kingdom Over the Sea

‘An epic adventure packed with richness, history and a brilliant new magical school!’ 
ZOHRA NABI, Author of The Kingdom Over the Sea

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World Rights Available (excluding Film)


Rights Sold: UK Audio (Ulverscroft), Germany (Insel Verlag), Vietnam (Waka)