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Dirty Magic


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About the Author

Carol Hughes grew up in England, in a seaside town where her parents kept a small hotel. When she got older, she went to art school to study painting. But instead of drawings, she filled her sketchbooks with notes and stories. Not long afterwards she moved to the United States and began writing. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. For more information, please visit Carol's website: www.carol-hughes.com


British novelist Hughes (Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves) imagines a dark fantasy world where bureaucracy reigns supreme. Ten-year-old Joe, in a fit of rage, tells his four-year-old sister, Hannah, "I wish you were dead!" Soon he has a vision of her lying in a hospital bed, and Joe is whisked away to a grey landscape by Katherine, who says she is his "fetcher" and must take him to his "guide." They fall into the care of the enigmatic Spider, an elderly blind man who knows far more than he lets on and harbors a major secret. Spider tells Joe he is in "a place between heaven and earth," scarred by a decades-old war between the clans of rival sisters. Joe must get to the Long City, where he can pass "back to your world or on to another." Along the way, he helps Katherine break her brother Tom out of a monolithic prison called the Druckee. But Tom too has secrets-connected to the oppression of a society of brilliant inventors called the Heathermen, and the missing third sister, imprisoned by the power-hungry machine-builder Orlemann. Hughes has a lucid imagination and paints a vivid, bleak and ruined world-magnetic mountains that can drive men mad, a lake so polluted it corrodes iron ships in seconds-and wraps up her challenging story with a well-concealed twist. Ages 8-12. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

'Dirty Magic comes complete with a timely message about the morality of war, and a nice plot twist.'Buzz words, January 2007'...a complex and innovative premise. Hughes throws her readers straight into the action from the first paragraph and conjures up a fascinatingly gritty, grimy world fraught with danger at every turn...a rollicking read for readers age 12 and up.'Sunday Tasmanian, 1 April 2007'Gripping and surreal, you won't be able to put this book down.'dmag.com.au, 2007

Gr 5-7-When Joe's four-year-old sister, Hannah, ruins his favorite magazine, he screams, "I wish you were dead!" That same night, an ambulance arrives at his house and Joe begins to dread that his hasty words are coming to pass. So when a girl named Katherine appears out of nowhere and offers him the chance to get Hannah back, Joe follows her into Asphodel, a realm between life and death that is locked in an ongoing war between two sister queens. The dreary, industrialized landscape is populated by deadly mechanical beasts and has a surreal aspect to it. Themes of war, propaganda, and profiteering are laced throughout this dark, intriguing Neil Gaiman-like fantasy that will have readers on the edge of their seats.-Christi Voth, Parker Library, CO Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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