Two rival families of magical decent fight it out for obvious superiority in 19th Century Italy, so when Chrestomanci tries to warn them about a powerful new enchanter in the city they naturally blame each other even when children from both families are kidnapped.
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Taking place in late 19th-early 20th century Caprona, Italy, it tells of two rival spell-houses, the Montanas and the Petrocchis. Both makers of incredible charms and spells, they have hated each other's families for generations. Paolo and Tonino are both young children of the Montana house, and have been raised to hate the Petrocchis with a passion. When Chrestomanci warns them of a rival enchanter who threatens all of Caprona itself, neither house takes him seriously--even when Tonino Montana and Angelica Petrocchi are kidnapped. Will Chrestomanci be able to unravel the mystery, before Caprona is destroyed by the bitter house feud?