In the book acknowledgements, the author, Piers Torday, cites that he owes an enormous debt to C S Lewis and in particular, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and there are many similarities between that book and this, The Lost Magician, the first in a planned trilogy.
It is 1945. Four children, Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry, are sent to stay in Bardfield Hall with Professor Diana Kelly. At the same time, their parents search for a new home following the bomb damage to their family house in London. In the attic they discover a door to a mysterious library which contains three types of books – Read, Unread and Never Read and only one rule ‘If you can imagine it, it must exist. Somewhere.’ The children quickly discover that the world of Folio is under threat from a sinister robot army and that the stories of the Library are constantly at war. The only solution is to try and find the Magician. But he has been lost for hundreds of years; can the children find him and bring peace to the library?
This would be a good read-aloud book for the end of the day as it is fast-paced and convincingly evokes the fantasy setting. I would also read it alongside the books of C S Lewis to compare and contrast this novel, the narrative and the characters with those great Narnia adventure stories.
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