The year is 1806. The British are fighting Napoleon's French army. And magic is long gone from England. The only society of magicians in York is purely theoretical and never so much as contemplated performing any magic. Then the society stumbles upon the fussy, bookish, reclusive Gilbert Norrell, who proves to them he is the only practicing magician left in England when he causes all the statues in the York Cathedral to burst into song.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Propelled to fame by what Norrell considers rather modest magic, he is soon called upon to aid the British government against the French and to resurrect the deceased bride of a cabinet minister -- an act which prompts the appearance of a strange gentleman from the land of Faery who begins laying a plot for the downfall of English magic.
Norrell is soon displaced from his position of notoriety by the arrival of Jonathan Strange, a young and eager upstart with a gift for practical magic. Strange and his young wife, Arabella, are beautiful, intelligent, and quickly popular in York society. Norrell takes Strange on as a pupil, hoping to control Strange's access to magical knowledge.
However, the day comes when young Mr. Strange is ready to branch out as an independent magician, leading to a rivalry between Strange and Norrell that increases along with the threat from the land of Faery. Finally, when tragedy befalls Jonathan, he and Mr. Norrell must learn to set aside their differences and work together to save Britain.
The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Martin-Romme