When Andrew Hope’s grandfather dies, the young college professor receives an expected inheritance—the house and lands of Melstone, an ancient English estate. But Andrew also discovers an unexpected inheritance—his grandfather’s mystical “field of care.” Old Jocelyn Brandon was more than just an eccentric country gentleman; he was a magician, a wizard. The realm of Melstone was both his property and his magical responsibility, to protect from those who would sap its powers for their own ends. Now that task has fallen on Andrew.
Though trained in magic by his grandfather, Andrew never learned the true secret of Melstone, or the nature of a mysterious parchment with a black seal, which Andrew has only seen in a vision. As a result, the new magician takes over his duties with no idea of either their importance or the ancient danger rising in his realm. The danger only increases when a young teen named Aidan shows up on his doorstep, seeking refuge from shadowy beings that are hunting the boy for reasons neither he nor Andrew can fathom.
Just like her classic Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones’ Enchanted Glass is filled with rich description and wonderful, inventive characters infused with personality and depth. Jones is also a master at combining gentle storytelling with a strong undercurrent of suspense, which truly comes through in her newest work. Her language is equally beautiful, and filled with touches of humor that round out the reality of Andrew’s world.
The title comes from a mysterious stained glass window in Melstone House, but also from Andrew and Aidan’s habit of removing their own glasses in order to see the underlying magic of the world. The latter action is the key theme of the novel—that if you look at the world differently, you can see the magic. As such, Enchanted Glass is less about how Andrew and Aidan resolve the threats against them than about their growing understanding of their magical world. The final solution falls into place almost without their action, but the reader doesn’t much mind. The magic of Enchanted Glass is in the discovery.