The world I've created for the Celydon Saga is our Earth in 500 years, after the Deluge and generally a return to the Dark Ages. However, the light is emerging again in the Kingdom of Prydein and the Empire of the United Kingdoms of Britannica. Long ago, when the Romans tried to conquer the Celtic peoples of the great Hyperborean islands, they were stopped by Queen Boudicca and her druids, repelled by the sheer force of personality, magic, and bagpipe music. Roman influence and trade affected the culture of Prydein, Alba, and Eiren, but it was all absorbed into the powerful and irresistible peace and harmony of the Druids.
Some time later, the isles were again invaded by the Inglish and the Vikings, who were also seduced by the magic of the culture and added in their bits to the rich language and customs. Even when missionaries arrived from Byzantium to try to convert people to their religion (the second Roman invasion), they did not overrun the Druids and their treewise diplomacy. Magic is a great help to diplomats and so is music when it is played by the bards who can move an audience to laugh, weep, and fall asleep in turn.
Through all the turmoil of the Middle Ages, the resurgence of classical culture (which had never been lost in the libraries of Eiren and Prydein, and even the religious wars of the European continent, the growing empire of commonwealth countries came to span the globe. The moon never sets on the Britannic Empire! says the poet. While other European empires set out to grab colonies to exploit economically, or convert to their religions, Prydein's argumentative kings and queens were led to empire by the Druids and bards who sought the indigenous wisdom of other lands.
Many more years later, after the industrial revolution had emerged in Prydein and been immediately constrained, it went off to build machines in places like Germania and the Tehanican Empire in the West. And when, after a mere two centuries this civilization of machines, oil, and smoke killed itself off, the Earth lay at peace for a long time. The Britannic Empire never died, but helped to rebuild after the Decline and the Deluge. And it is in this after-period that we swoop down on the little town of Nether Poppleton under Celydon Tor in the Yorkshire Dales, where we meet Emily Glass.
On top of the Tor resides the ancient University of Celydon, millennia old and entrenched in its traditions, it is one of the centers of the world. It's produce? Mages, seers, and bards to guide the principles of humanity away from lying, cheating, and murder and towards love and peace. Utopia? Well, yes. That's it exactly. But everything does not run smoothly. Ancient rivalries and magical conspiring underlie the official teachings. But things are orderly and actually fun at the school for children with magical Talent. Recruited by keen talent scouts, the students of Four Hallows Academy live in the very shadow of the great university. Emily, to her complete surprise, discovers she has an offer to attend this legendary school. She didn't know her parents or grandparents, until one day, a grandmother, a bulldog, and a baobab tree walked into her life.
On top of the Tor resides the ancient University of Celydon, millennia old and entrenched in its traditions, it is one of the centers of the world. It's produce? Mages, seers, and bards to guide the principles of humanity away from lying, cheating, and murder and towards love and peace. Utopia? Well, yes. That's it exactly.
THE STORY BEGINS
First in the Celydon Saga, HOUSE OF GLASS starts the story of the young heroine, Emily, nicknamed "Danger Girl." Much to her disgust, she finds herself in the middle of a Cinderella story. Everything she was raised to believe has consisted of lies and half-truths. In the land of Prydein and its empire, Druids are the guardians of Celtic culture and advisors of Queens and Kings. The Patrician class forms the highest aristocracy, and the Equestrian class the gentry and ruling class that fills the ranks of the imperial army, navy, and air corps. Raised like a waif in the home of an Equestrian relation, Emily has only dreamed of the magical world of the Druids
and the privileged wealth of the Patricians.
The town of Nether Poppleton, nestled in the Yorkshire Dales, is a rural backwater of Prydein and the United Kingdoms, except for the looming presence of Celydon University atop its high Tor. Its preparatory school, Four Hallows Academy, is a school for magical children. Emily is neither magical nor, according to her tutor,
talented at anything except daydreaming and making up stories. Nonetheless, when inexplicable things start happening at Marbly Manor, Emily gets blamed and it is up to her, with her cousins, to solve a mystery that turns out to be about Emily herself.
It all comes from exploring attics!
"A cross between Jane Austen and Jonathan Strange (and maybe Jules Verne) with Druids. Clear off space on your Keepers Shelf. This series is going to be great!"
— Karen Vanderboffin, New Amsterdam Times
"Emily is a plucky heroine, far smarter than Harry Potter and most other fantasy characters. A sweeping tale, a comedy of manners, a tight world of the gentry in the bigger landscape dominated by
airships, real magic, and the folk of the Otherworlds"
— Ellis Davidson, Magic and Myth Monthly
"The Best New fantasy series of the year! One part steampunk, one part Victorian coming of age story, and one part School Story, with a pinch of wry humor and the most memorable characters this
side of Narnia. Oh, and platypuses."
— Dinsdale Birch, The Occasional Telegraph
THE STORY CONTINUES
The story of Emily Glass continues! After discovering that her parents were druids and her grandmother is a countess, Emily is whisked off to school at Four Hallows Academy, part of the great University of Celydon high on the Tor. With new clothes, new teachers, and a host of other children -- and their familiars -- life has turned topsy-turvy. She and her new friends Natasha, Faye, and Hermia tackle learning what magery is all about. Things get complicated when Emily receives a letter from her cousin Sabrina and a secret society is formed. If boys, nobs, and magical festivals were not enough, the notebook and the desidericon bring down disaster! Fantasy novels better than Harry Pooter, Game of Thorns, or Wurst Witch!
"Even better than the debut novel of the series, First Term at Four Hallows is full of adventure and humor, crazy witches who run book shops, school rivalries, and classes in deportment and geography which, at first glance, don’t seem especially magical. But the magic builds and Emily adapts to her new surroundings and challenges, from sweeping floors in the weird Old College castle, to remembering the scores of rules at Four Hallows. I love how the girls are helped by Mentors -- girls in the next form, the Jr. Apprentices. Love the references and homage to the old girls school novels. First Term at Four Hallows will take its place in my memory alongside First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. But egads! What a cliff-hanger ending!
– Winnifred Pease, Old Schoolgirls Review of Books
"So delicious, I could not put it down. Like a chocolate truffle -- Savour the marvelous details!
– William W. Wonka, Library News Bulletins
"In these stories boys revolve around the strong female characters but are not the center of their interest, which is very true of plucky 14-yr. old girls! A refreshing change. My daughters have shared these books with all their friends."
– Margo Beakley, The Horsewoman’s Gazette
THE STUNNING CONCLUSION!
Condemned by her peers to punishment for breaking bounds, Emily Glass finds herself in deep doo-doo. Yet, classes in the magical arts go on as Summerwane term begins and the Rites of that sacred season lead to frightening visions and dreams about her mother and father. The mystery of her family thickens and the relics of her grandfather, another alchemist, become the center of some greater plot none of the Hallows students understand. There is murder, danger, and knocks on the head for Danger Girl in this episode of her story as the Saga of Celydon Tor continues. Will the mysterious Chancellor intervene? Who is the man in the tricorn hat? What is Prof. Krislock doing with a gryphon? And what does that tattoo on Mac's back mean? Read and know all!
THE CRITICS ARE RAVING! Best Fantasy Novels of the Age!
"What a relief to finally have the third book of the Celydon Saga in hand! The cliff-hanger at the end of First Term at Four Hallows left a readership desperate to know what happened to Emily. How could we have guessed? With unexpected twists and marvelous animals round every corner, the story only gets more tangled and more tense! I had to sit up late until the last page and then wanted to start all over again."
— Winnifred Pease, Old Schoolgirls Review of Books
"Never in a work of fiction have I been so surprised at the use of a plumber's snake. In book three of the Emily Glass stories, the magic really starts to perk and it is evident that the author knows what he is talking about. Hermeticism, druidry, and espionage combine into a delicious potion you will always remember...
— Kennelworth Hyde-Park, Wizard's Quarterly Intelligencer
Four Hallows is such a beautifully realized school. One has a palpable sense of place in the landscape and in the wondrously described rooms and passageways of both the school and the university. Place and history – a history at once familiar and Other. There are some truly frightening bits in this climactic third volume of the ongoing story of Emily Glass. There are also some hilarious parts as the characters all grow and unfold.
— Uma Cornichon, PhD., Young Adult Steampunk Adventures with Druids Quarterly