A Novel


Magic abounds in this “bewitchingly perplexing and supernaturally entertaining” (Kirkus Reviews) debut, and “readers of Susan Cooper and Alan Garner will rejoice to find…[a] trilogy worthy of sharing their shelf” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Don’t miss the whole series—Anarchy and the forthcoming Arcadia!

When Gavin Stokes visits an estranged family member at Pendurra, a distant estate in Cornwall, the last thing he expects is to enter a world where the consequences of an ancient betrayal are being played out. If he accepts the challenge that this new world presents, he must confront an ancient evil and the crimes of the past that have taken the form of ghosts, like Miss Grey, who has haunted him from earliest childhood, and Marina, a little girl who also lives at Pendurra, and Swanny, Marina’s mother, a mermaid. What Gavin soon discovers is that magic is real…and menacingly dangerous.
  • Atria/Emily Bestler Books | 
  • 464 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451661651 | 
  • April 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Advent includes an introduction, discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


When Gavin, a fifteen-year-old Londoner, is sent to visit his aunt in the countryside, he finds out that his parents and school administrators were wrong when they told him his unusual visions didn’t really exist. In remote Cornwall, not only does he discover there are indeed others like him, but that the powerful return of magic—once lost to the world—is his extraordinary and dangerous inheritance.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. James Treadwell has described Advent. as “a story about magic coming into our world and [the characters] being forced to confront it, deal with it and think about what it might mean.” In what ways does the incorporation of magic into the “real” world, rather than in an alternate realm, enhance the story? How does Advent compare to other fantasy novels you have read?
2. How is Gavin a typical teenager? In what ways does his “gift” make adolescence even more difficult? What is his reaction when he learns Nigel and see more

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About the Author

James Treadwell
Photograph by David Barker

James Treadwell

James Treadwell is the author of Advent and Anarchy. He was born, brought up, and educated within a mile of the Thames and has spent much of his life further reducing the distance between him and the river. He studied and taught for more than a decade near the crossing at Folly Bridge, Oxford, and now lives within sight of the Tideway in West London. He holds passports from the UK, US, and Canada.