In a gripping stand-alone fantasy from the acclaimed Alison Croggon, a pickpocket steals the cursed Stone Heart and is propelled into a power struggle, woven with witchcraft, that will change the kingdom forever. Pip lives by his wits in the city of Clarel. But when he picks the wrong pocket, Pip finds himself in possession of a strange dried heart in a silver casket—and those who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back. With assassins on his trail and the ominous heart beginning to whisper to him, Pip and his childlike older sister El are drawn deeper into the forbidden world of magic. Now they must seek the help of the secret witches of Clarel and Princess Georgette—who is sick of being a pawn in everyone else’s game—to wage revolution against a chilling king, a power-hungry church cardinal, and an ancient evil they don’t truly understand. A beautifully written adventure full of courage and kindness, The Threads of Magic transports readers to a magical city of airy palaces and rotten slums, of agents of the Office of Witchcraft Examination and midsummer dancing in the Weavers’ Quarter, of dangerous fathers and chosen family.
When 12-year-old pickpocket Pipistrel, who has fair hair and pale skin, lifts an ornate silver box from a noble on the streets of Clarel, he's just hoping to support his older sister El, who is sometimes "very like a small child," and himself, orphaned as toddlers due to typhus. But inside the box is a sinister "rough black" Stone Heart, an object of great power sought by some of the most commanding people in the kingdom. The siblings' quest to understand the heart takes them to Amina, El's best friend's mother, a witch with dark skin hiding from the ruthless Office for Witchcraft Extermination. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Princess Georgette, "a slim, fair girl" with "aristocratically blue eyes," is desperate to escape an arranged marriage to the terrifying King Oswald of Awemt, and also seeks Amina, her old nurse. Their fates intertwined, these unlikely allies must keep the heart from the immortal body-stealing Specters, who crave its magical potential. Logistics issues dampen enjoyment, but Croggon (the Books of Pellinor series) subverts genre expectations and offers up multiple perspectives both heroic and villainous to weave a complicated tapestry of magic and sacrifice. Ages 9 12.)\n