Hodder Children’s Books
Dial Penguin USA
These were the secret ways of the Shee, their unseen paths through the world, barely glimpsed by mortals, except in certain potent intersections- a fairy-ring, a haunted room, a crossroads at twilight, notorious for generations as places of danger.
He was deep in the Otherworld, and at any moment the whole scene would reset as if someone had shaken the pieces of a kaleidoscope. It was a place of madness, and he knew every time he travelled in it, it contorted his very reason…
In the second volume of the Chronoptika Quartet, Jake sets off on a journey to recover his lost father but ends up 1940’s London. In the rubble and chaos of the blitzed city a chance encounter leads him to a lost suitcase with a mysterious cannister of old film. Has David managed to leave a clue to his whereabouts? Before he can get to see it three sinister children each offer him a strange prophecy. And then he gets arrested as a wartime spy. Meanwhile back at Wintercombe, Oberon Venn realises that there is only one person who can help him get to Jake. And that’s Summer. So Gideon is sent off on a mission through the bizarre slanted Summerland, a place where anything can happen and usually does. Sarah, on her secret quest to destroy the mirror, learns the true significance of the broken coin. Half is in Summer’s possession, but to get it she too will have to enter the Shee-world. Without anyone knowing.
A talking bird, a walking Wood, an eccentric lady whose seances are not all fakes, the heat of plague-ravaged Florence and the dark threat of Janus’s future; the second volume of the Chronoptika is as packed with adventure and incident , magic and mystery as Volume 1. And then some!
For book two of the series I wanted just as much magic, mystery and general mayhem as in Book one. Because each of the books is set in a different season, it was clear this would be the Springtime, with the Wood around Wintercombe slowly coming alive after the frozen winter of Venn’s grief.
Also, as each of the books has a Shakespearean theme threaded secretly among its pages, I decided to use Macbeth here, because I like the idea of the three strange witches who prophesy a future that then has to be created by the main character- or would it happen anyway? Also in this play is the great scene where the Wood of Burnham walks- or so Macbeth believes. The whole idea of walking trees has always fascinated me. There is an ancient and very garbled Welsh poem called Cad Goddeu– The Battle of the Trees- it has a very eerie quality and certainly Tolkien must have had the same thing somewhere in mind when he created the Ents..
For a voice set in the past I developed a daughter for the Victorian John Harcourt Symmes- it was huge fun to write the sections of Alicia’s diary because she is such a determined, if slightly crazy lady. Seances and mediums were huge in Edwardian London, so her use of the Mirror to see ghosts seemed perfect. And of course it was a great way to get Janus to appear there.
In this book I wanted Venn to become more and more dangerously involved with Summer. As the year turns her power grows and his declines. Maskelyne begins to use more of his secret magic, and Wharton, and Piers, as always, were a great double act to develop.
And Sarah? Sarah in this book begins to understand that if Venn ever succeeds, the course of the terrible future will be set. And only she is prepared to do anything about that. Sarah is the only one who has seen Janus’s End Time and she feels she would do anything to stop that from happening.
The final section of the book is set briefly in Renaissance Florence, a city which I love and which has a fascinating history. But to be there like Jake and David, in a time of plague? Terrifying! Maybe that danger shows us how different the past really is…
‘..Catherine Fisher’s The Obsidian Mirror was one of the most engrossing fantasy thrillers of last year, so it’s good news that volume two, The Box of Red Brocade, is out.. the action opens in 1941, with Jake mistakenly propelled into the height of the Blitz. Not only has the device sent him to the wrong time, but the mirror has been lost among the rubble, so he’s stranded, with no way of getting back…And what is the significance of the Black Fox, the Man with the eyes of a Crow, and the Box of Red Brocade? This is a complex story that will be most rewarding to readers. The series is certain to elevate Fisher’s status in the world of British fantasy- as will the forthcoming film of her earlier Incarceron..’
‘Oh wow. I really thought this was a wonderful follow-up to The Obsidian Mirror. Fisher handles this with great aplomb. There are a great many plot threads and I love the way that Fisher challenges her readers in this way. The whole thing is a joyful puzzle combining complex storylines, great energy, and diverse characters. Every readers will have a favourite from the enormous cast..
‘I love the genre-busting too. The Box of Red Brocade is essentially a time-slip adventure but it’s also part fantasy and part sci-fi with even a flavour of dystopia hinted at in the descriptions of a future dominated by Janus. In this book you can read about faeries and changelings, modern day kids and mediaeval Italians afraid of the Black death. What more could the keen reader want?
‘Everything about The Box of Red Brocade screams quality…’
‘… a sumptuous genre-blend of time travel, dark fantasy and post-apocalyptic thriller..Gorgeous, atmospheric and addictive; absolutely necessary wherever the first has fans..’
‘This captivating sequel to the inventive, genre-blending Obsidian Mirror manages to maintain and even amplify many of that novel’s essential elements. A pleasing new adventure that ratchets up the intensity and fun… a challenging, fascinating series.’
Bulletin for the Centre for Children’s Books