Classic magic and mystery from one of Britain’s best-loved authors of fantasy adventure. Perfect for fans of Harry Potter, Eva Ibbotson, Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart and Shane Hegarty’s Darkmouth.
An Academy for magic and special talents. A destiny unfulfilled. A secret legacy.
The first instalment of the international best-selling fantasy series from Jenny Nimmo starring Charlie Bone.
Since his father died, Charlie Bone has lived with his mother and her mother, in the house of his other grandmother, Grandma Bone. Looking at a picture of a couple with a baby and a cat, he suddenly discovers he can hear their voices. Although he tries to hide his new gift, Grandma Bone and her scary sisters soon find out, and send him to Bloor's Academy. Charlie quickly finds life at Bloor's pretty tough, with its strict rules and the malevolent head boy, Manfred, set against him. When Charlie discovers that the child in the photograph is being held, hypnotised, against her will, he and his new friends with 'gifts' try to awaken her. But can they overcome Manfred's sinister hypnotic gifts?
Have you collected all of the Charlie Bone books?
Midnight for Charlie Bone
Charlie Bone and the Time Twister
Charlie Bone and the Blue Boa
Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors
Charlie Bone and the Hidden King
Charlie Bone and the Wilderness Wolf
Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock
Charlie Bone and the Red Knight
Also look out for The Snow Spider trilogy.
‘Dark, funny, crackling with magic’ – author Artemis Cooper on Midnight for Charlie Bone
‘A fast moving, dialogue driven romp with plenty of cliff-hangers for those first hooked into reading by Harry Potter’ – Bookseller on Midnight for Charlie Bone
Jenny Nimmo is the acclaimed author of the Charlie Bone books for children. She has won several significant awards for her children’s books, including the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the Tir na n-Og Welsh Arts Council award for The Snow Spider. She lives in Wales with her husband, David.
When I had completed ‘The snow Spider Trilogy’, I began to think about my hero, Gwyn’s, life in a mountain farmhouse. I felt that my own children’s lives were not so very different. We live miles from any town or village, and although the children loved the freedom of the countryside, I was aware that, as they grew older, they craved the company and excitement to be found in a town. So I decided to set my next book in a city. I wanted it to be an ancient and mysterious place with an exciting history, a place of secrets, and possibly ghosts. Everytime I began to describe my fictional city, Edinburgh came into my head, and so that’s the place I was thinking of when I wrote my Charlie Bone books.
In ‘The Snow Spider’ Gwyn’s isolated home is not the only reason for his loneliness. Once he discovers that he is a magician, he is teased by his friends and told that he is ‘odd’. So I determined that Charlie should have friends who had strange and exceptional talents, just as he did. They wouldn’t be magicians but endowed with individual gifts, so as weather-changing, shape-shifting, hypnotism and even flying. I had a lot of fun thinking up those powers.
Charlie’s endowment was inspired by my own longing to hear my grandparents’ voices. They died before I was born and I often used to stare at their photographs and wonder. So Charlie can hear the voices of people in photos and even old paintings. And then his gift develops and he begins to travel in their lives, which, as you can imagine, occasionally proves to be dangerous.
Gwyn inherits his magical power from Gwydion a Welsh magician in the ancient Welsh myth, ‘Math son of Mathonwy’. Charlie and his friends, inherit their powers from an African king. In this way, I decided, they would be connected to a wider world. After all, we are told that mankind began in Africa.
When the African king came to Britain, in the twelfth century, he wore a red cloak, and he was called the Red King. So his endowed descendents are named Children of the Red King. It is doubtful whether Charlie would have inherited any of the king’s features after so many centuries. But this is fantasy, so I gave Charlie dark, spring, almost African hair. Some of his relatives are also very dark.
Perhaps I am drawn to fantasy by an irresistible urge to revisit the most precious moments of my childhood: the escape into books. I can’t remember when it began, but the books were always there, in our home or at school. Andrew Lang’s Fairytale collection, Hans Anderson, Grimms Fairytales, Peter Pan, Gullivers Travels, and my favourite, ‘Undine’. Even before I could read I spent hours gazing at Arthur Rackham’s wonderful illustrations of the Knight Huldebrand and the Water Sprite, Undine. But it was only when I read C.S. Lewis’s, ‘the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, that I met a girl, not so different from me, who steps through a wardrobe into another world, and, all at once, imaginary worlds seemed just that bit closer.
As for Bloor’s Academy, it is a combination of the two boarding schools I attended. I was sent to the first when I was six, and it has provided me with some great material. It was not Jane Eyre’s Lowood, of course, but I used to think so because it was cold, dark and grim; the principal was stern and unforgiving, the teachers cold-eyed and unsmiling.
In my next school, however, great emphasis was put on art, music and drama, all subjects that I loved. Hence the three departments at Bloors Academy. With dangerous staff about I had to give my characters something to lift their spirits.