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Extract

'Witches of Hylund,’ the poster declared, ‘Your country needs you! Join up TODAY!’
Arianwyn stared up at the elegant woman gazing proudly from the poster. The woman’s hair was golden and flowing, her lips bright red. She wore the dark navy uniform and the silver star of a fully trained witch. Arianwyn glanced down at her coat and the space that her own star would soon occupy.
Far-off bells sounded the hour, cutting through the noise of busy morning traffic rushing past, horns screaming out across the bustling street. She would be late if she stood daydreaming much longer. Grabbing her bag, she skipped between the crush of passers-by through tall wrought-iron gates, following the signs for Registration.

About the book

Arianwyn has fluffed her witch’s assessment.

Awarded the dull bronze disc of an apprentice – to the glee of her arch-rival, mean girl Gimma – she’s sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull. But her new life is far from boring. Turns out Gimma is the pompous mayor’s favourite niece – and worse, she opens a magical rift in the nearby forest. As Arianwyn struggles with her spells, a mysterious darkness begins to haunt her – and it’s soon clear there’s much more than her pride at stake …

An enchanting read, perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones or The Worst Witch

 

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Press reviews

“Nicol’s debut offers a fresh take on the genre … Infused with mystery, adventure and bundles of charm.”

Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

“It delivers mystery and action in a whirlwind of cinematic, magical adventure which is all fuelled by adrenaline, friendship and bravery. Finally, it all climaxes in a brilliant and vivid ending.”

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Author notes

I always knew I wanted to write the kind of fantasy novel I had escaped into as a child, somewhere that felt safe and filled with characters that did brave things and had lots of fun at the same time. But I wanted the magic in my book to be part of the world, not a secret, and I wanted to see what happened after a witch was trained and was sent out into the world to work. When I was thinking about all this, one day I got a really clear image of a scene for the book – I wrote it all down as quickly as I could and then thought, now what happens next ...

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