It's 1806, England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose displays of magic, raising a woman from the dead and summoning an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French, send a thrill through the country. Yet the cautious Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the antithesis of Mr Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms that between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.
Now is that a synopsis or what?! This was published back in 2004 when I was still in the grasp of what I now refer to as my 'lost reading years' so I'm very pleased that it hasn't passed me by completely because I bloomin' love anything magic. It has been made into a TV series (that starts on Sunday on BBC One!) and after seeing a few teaser adverts I googled it, saw it was a book, and promptly bought a copy.
It's a pretty hefty book at over 1000 pages, but it's not intimidating. I'm quite a way in and it doesn't feel like it should end any time soon, nor does it feel like I've been reading it for forever. I don't read a lot of long novels, mostly holding the belief that many are perfect at around 200 pages, but some stories definitely demand length. I'm a fairly fast reader (not always a good thing, I'm constantly reminding myself to slow down!) and it's been really nice having a world I've been able to dip back into more than a few times before finishing it. It's been a real experience so far, I have no idea what's going to happen, but I have a feeling it's going to get really good and gain momentum towards the end.
What are you currently reading?
* * *