Who hasn’t imagined a new life, with new parents, in an exciting place? And a castle—definitely a castle! With chefs and maids and servants—everything you could ever want. In Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, written by Emma Trevayne, 10-year-old Jack gets exactly this. Unfortunately, things are not as wonderful as they may seem. Jack’s new life takes him out of London to Londinium, a parallel city where the pollution is so bad that people have filters installed in their nostrils, and non-functioning body parts are replaced by devices both mechanical and magical.

Jack first discovers Londinium by accident. All he did was follow Lorcan, the strange man who wanted to take Jack on as an apprentice, through a door at the base of Big Ben. When Jack emerges from the other side, he finds himself surrounded by clockwork and wind-up dolls who can think. The Lady, ruler of Londinium, wants a new son, and Jack is to be that boy. The persistent queen will do anything to have her new, perfect, flesh-and-blood son. Jack receives help from the most unlikely of sources, and must decide whether life in luxury with the Lady is worth the terrible sacrifices it requires.

Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times is set in a world that draws heavily from the burgeoning steampunk culture—intricate clockwork, detailed mechanized creations, elaborate clothing and accessories. It is a visually rich novel with a unique setting, full of fascinating, complex characters who hold the reader’s attention until the very end. Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times is a refreshingly distinct voice in middle-grade literature, and will be enjoyed by fans of adventure, steampunk, fantasy and mystery.

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