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Garth Nix

Allen and Unwin (2006)

ISBN: 978-1-74237-096-5

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack, August 2010

The Old Kingdom Chronicles is an omnibus edition, containing the three novels Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, and the novella “Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case”.

Each of these stories is set, as the omnibus title suggests, in the Old Kingdom.  The Old Kingdom is a place where magic not only exists, and works, but where it often is of primary importance in people’s day to day lives. Ordinary people know magic works and respect it. Others devote their lives to channelling and using their magic, with entire communities building a lifestyle around their particular form of magic.  But the Old  Kingdom borders on Ancelstierre, a land which has technology very similar to ours – and no magic.  Most people in Ancelstierre don’t believe in magic, or the stories they hear of the Old Kingdom.  Between the two lands is the Wall, which protects both from the encroachment of the other.  And those who defend the Wall know that the stories they hear of the Old Kingdom aren’t fanciful, but all too true. Those who don’t believe that, quickly die when their faith in technology blinds them to magic that can’t be defeated with technology.

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