Meet Alfie Bloom. He's just inherited a magical castle. And that's only the first of his problems . . .Alfie Bloom knows he's about to have another dreadful summer. Not only will his inventor father be locked away in his workshop, but his best friend is visiting relatives abroad, which means he'll have no one.But then Alfie receives a strange letter inviting him to meet with a lawyer about his "inheritance." Alfie has no idea what they're talking about, but he goes along and makes a shocking discovery-someone has left him a castle! Hexbridge Castle is all his, which means no more long, boring summer days in his tiny house. He has a castle to explore! But being the owner of castle isn't all fun. Hexbridge conceals a centuries-old secret, the heart of a dangerous mystery that threatens to destroy Alfie's new home, his new friends . . . and everyone unfortunate enough to live within 1000 miles of the castle. Can this ordinary boy figure out a way to deal with this extraordinary challenge? Or will he doom himself and his friends to a grisly fate?
Alfie Bloom is a lonely city kid, dreading the summer before middle school, when he is unexpectedly declared the heir of Hexbridge Castle. Now he has a butler, a bearskin rug named Artan that can talk and fly, and two dear cousins nearby. But the castle's enchanted walls harbor secrets, and Alfie soon discovers that his inheritance includes guarding an ancient and powerful magic, traveling through time, and battling evil dragons and dreaded headmistresses. A well-developed voice and exuberant sense of adventure carries through Kent's debut, first in a series. Fantasy and magic play prominent roles in the plot but never mask themes of empathy, loyalty, and doing the right thing. Alfie and his friends quickly learn how easily power can be corrupted or used for evil, making the reluctant and even-keeled boy the perfect custodian for the castle and its gifts. Scenes of death, violence, and peril are just frightening enough to keep readers racing ahead, and Kent's story holds an enduring truth for young and old: "The more you discover, the less you realize you know." Ages 8 12.