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.”

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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.

WINNER  2019 Tir na N-og Prize.

SHORTLISTED 2019 Blue Peter Prize


‘Catherine Fisher returns with a beautifully wintry steam-punk fantasy, The Clockwork Crow (Firefly). An orphaned girl, Seren, is given a mysterious parcel en route to her new home; she arrives to find the house full of locked-up secrets, its family in mourning for a vanished son. Can Seren and the strange bird in the parcel solve the mystery?

‘Full of deep fairytale resonance, Fisher’s writing stands out in the mind’s eye like blood drops on snow.’
–  The Guardian

‘A gripping tale of enchantment and belonging.’ 
Western Mail

‘Catherine Fisher produces children’s fiction notable for its delicate and fine prose. The Clockwork Crow is no exception.. As in the best literary fairy stories, this novel uses psychologically reverberant symbols – a golden staircase, a black key- that lead Seren on a quest for knowledge and or a family of her own. Children of ten and older will find themselves pleasurably lost in this enchanting, candlelit delight.’
– Philip Womack,  The Literary Review

‘This novel is imaginative, beautifully descriptive, captivating… it is typical of the high quality expected from such an exceptionally talented author.’ 
– Tir na n-Og Judging Committee

‘Catherine Fisher has woven her magic once more, twisting fairy tales, folklore and fantasy into a spellbinding tale.’
Family Bookworms

‘It’s a marvellous book, and a book of marvels, shivery with suspense, snow and sinister magic – the most seasonal treat since The Box of Delights.’
 – Amanda Craig

‘There is humour as well as excitement in this excellent story of a brave and resourceful heroine who surprises even her mentor, the Crow, and we can look forward to finding out what happens next.’
– 5 stars, Books For Keeps

‘Tension builds from almost the first page in this creepy and unsettling tale of faerie folk which is best read with the lights on. With echoes of the more disconcerting aspects of Alice in Wonderland and traditional folk tales, deception is all around and nothing what it seems.’
– Book Trust

‘..a world of magic,mystery and adventure. Go to Plas-y-Fran! I promise you will not be disappointed.’
Roachie’s Reviews

‘Short but perfectly formed, this is a magical and atmospheric pair of books, with elements of classic children’s stories, traditional oral tale telling, and a dose of humour too. Wonderful – and a perfect December read!
Bellis Does Books