Bestselling novelist Garth Nix returns to the Old Kingdom for the never-before-told love story of Sabriel’s parents, Terciel and Elinor, and the charter magic that brought them together—and threatened to tear them apart. A long-awaited prequel to a classic fantasy series.
In the Old Kingdom, a land of ancient and often terrible magics, eighteen year-old orphan Terciel learns the art of necromancy from his great-aunt Tizanael. But not to raise the Dead, rather to lay them to rest. He is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, and Tizanael is the Abhorsen, the latest in a long line of people whose task it is to make sure the Dead do not return to Life.
Across the Wall in Ancelstierre, a steam-age country where magic usually does not work, nineteen year-old Elinor lives a secluded life. Her only friends an old governess and an even older groom who was once a famous circus performer. Her mother is a tyrant, who is feared by all despite her sickness and impending death . . . but perhaps there is even more to fear from that.
Elinor does not know she is deeply connected to the Old Kingdom, nor that magic can sometimes come across the Wall, until a plot by an ancient enemy of the Abhorsens brings Terciel and Tizanael to Ancelstierre. In a single day of fire and death and loss, Elinor finds herself set on a path which will take her into the Old Kingdom, into Terciel’s life, and will embroil her in the struggle of the Abhorsens against the Dead who will not stay dead.
*USA Today Bestseller*
“One of the greatest living fantasy writers. I will never get enough of the Old Kingdom.” —Sarah J. Maas, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Nix (The Left-Handed Booksellers of London) makes a satisfying return to his Old Kingdom series with this prequel about Sabriel's parents, Terciel and Elinor. As young, brown-skinned Terciel moves from a life of hunger to an apprenticeship as Abhorsen-in-Waiting in the Old Kingdom, 19-year-old Elinor takes to the stage and practices carnival skills across the wall, in nonmagical Ancelstierre. After surviving an assault on her home through Terciel's timely intervention, Elinor takes a position at magic-teaching girls' school Wyverley College, hoping to learn magic with which she is newly acquainted and prepare to travel to the Old Kingdom. When an incident sees her reunited with Terciel, and whisked to the Abhorsen's House by a distant relative who reveals Elinor's connection to a sisterhood of seeresses, she finds that she is to play a vital part in the fight against a powerful Dead creature. Elinor, inexperienced with the Old Kingdom, offers a useful introduction to the world, while sympathetic characters, a unique magical system, and frightening foes guarantee broad appeal to teen and adult fantasy readers, whether established Nix fans or new to the series. Most characters default to white. Ages 14 up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary.