The Clockwork Crow

The Clockwork Crow was lying on its side. One of its small bright eyes was looking straight at her.

She snatched up the key, pushed it into the hole in the side of the bird and wound it up. The machinery grated, stiff and rusty. It was hard to get the key round more than a few turns. There was a loud whirr and clatter, and quite suddenly the Crow’s head moved. It creaked sideways. Its wings opened. It took one wobbly step.

Then it looked at her with its shiny eye and opened its twisted beak. “Oil” it croaked. “I need oil.”

When Seren Rhys is given a newspaper parcel by a stranger late at night in an empty train station, she has no idea what trouble it contains. She is on her way to a new life at the remote house of Plas-y Fran, but when she gets there the happy family Christmas she had hoped for turns out to be an illusion. Because Tomos has been missing for a year and a day, and if the strange and dangerous Family have really taken him, who would be mad enough to try and get him back?

Armed with a talking bird who might not be telling the truth, a magical snow-globe and her own indomitable courage, Seren sets off on a journey into a midnight world of snow and stars, to an ice palace unlocked only by a Door of Blood and Tears.

Age 7 upwards from Firefly Press. Published October 2018.