Plot: It’s 1347 and fourteen year old William Paynel is an orphaned servant at the Crowfield Abbey, his parents died in a fire. He is not a very happy child being a servant, but he appreciates having a place to sleep and the daily meal, even though it is measly. One day while collecting wood in the forest for the Abbey, William see this small brown creature that is stuck in a trap and is injured. William goes to help the creature and learns that he is a fay creature, a hob. He takes the hob back to the Abbey to Brother Snail, whom he can trust with his secret. William learns that he is one of the few people who can see the fay, which starts the beginning of his mystical adventure into find out the secrets of the Crowfield Abbey.
Review: William gets caught up in the secrets of the old Crowfield Abbey. When he finds an injured hob in the woods, William discovers he can see the fay. Not long after, a leper visits the Abbey and William is charged with taking care of him. Old magic, a fay warrior, and the news of a dead angel, William is mystified and ready to track down the dark secrets of the old Abbey. Danger lurks just around the corner and William is the prey. Medieval meets fantastical to create a wonderful tale. The excitement never ends with William’s quest to unearth the mysteries of a bitter feud and ancient secrets. Walsh leaves the ending open so there is potential for a sequel, and many readers will be hoping for one.
Reading Level/Interest Level: 4.1/3-6 graders
Similar Materials: Frozen in Time, by Ali Sparkes, The Spiderwick Chronicles, by Diterlizzi & Black
Reader’s Advisory: This book was fascinating. I was not expecting the angel part, that was a pleasant surprise. I rather liked this book and can’t wait for a sequel, I think I read somewhere that one is coming out in February. I certainly hope so. It’s a mystery, it’s mystical, and it’s magical.