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A Novel

About The Book

The second novel in an astonishingly imaginative fantasy trilogy that began with the critically acclaimed and “supernaturally entertaining” (Kirkus Reviews) Advent. Look for the thrilling series conclusion, Arcadia, coming soon!

If there’s one thing Gavin Stokes knows, it’s that something unimaginably dangerous has returned to the world. A mad dog runs amok, a mermaid floats in the bay, and a wild beast stalks the countryside. He and others make the same strange claim: magic has returned. All signs point to it.

Now, Gavin’s aunt has disappeared. A young girl who’s been accused of murder vanishes from a locked cell. She is at large somewhere in a vast wilderness. Meanwhile, a desolate child leaves the home that has kept her safe all her life and strikes out into the unknown. And a mother, half mad with grief for her lost son, sets off to find him.

There is a place where all their journeys meet. But someone is watching the roads…





“ . . .”

Speak. Speak

“. . . sp . . .”


“. . . ah . . .”

Answer me. Be voiced. Be mouthed

“Be . . .”

I am speech. I I am mouth and breath. I I I am consonant and vowel. Speak


I am I am I am the irresistible word. I make a mouth out of your shadow of a mouth and a name out of your shadow of a name. Answer me


Remember me. I am undeniable. I am here


I speak the sun and light ascends. I speak the arrow and plague falls. I am the lyre and the laurel and the long road. I I I am here. Where I stand is an island in these dark waters. I make a place

“I’m not . . . I’m not.”

You are. I am inescapable. I am the absence of choice

“Let me go.”

There is nowhere else to go. I am every road. I am every beginning and every end. I am prophecy. I am desire and I am consummation. I am the bright eye of the heavens. I am the light that falls everywhere

“Not here. It’s so dark.”

I am without contradiction. Remember. You fled me once


You fled light. You fled the sun. You hid yourself


You fled with my seed. You sought the dark. You sought to escape my eye. Say whether I found you

“That was . . .”


“When I was . . . I was.”

Say what happened. Speak

“That was before.”

I am then and now. I I I am above and below. I pour golden breath in your mouth. My seed is truth. Say it

“You found me.”

I found you

“You fell on me.”

I fell on you. I planted my golden seed in you

“Let me go.”

My seed has grown

“No. Oh no.”


“Not that. Not him.”

My seed has grown and become prophecy. Truth walks the world above

“Let me forget. Please.”

I forbid it. I I I banish forgetting. I have been forgotten and now and now now there will be no more oblivion

“Let me . . . not speak.”

You begged me. You refused me. Remember. I am implacable. Remember. Say what happened

“I was . . .”


“I went . . .”

You came east to a place that belonged to me. You refused to forget. You slept among oak trees and the sun rose and turned them golden and I was the gold I was the grove I was the sun and the seed

“Ah. No.”

And I was the light that fell on you and the light you fled from and I was the beginning of the long road you took and though you hid from me I was also the end

“No. Agony.”

And I was the seed that took root in you and I was the pain of its growing and I was the bitter music of its birth

“No. I want silence.”

And I am the plague that burst in blood from your womb and I am the mouth you suckled and I I I I am the word that mouth must speak

“It’s so dark. I’m so alone.”

I am the blood and the burnt offering and the smoke from the hidden fire. I am the writing on the sibylline leaves. I am everything no longer forgotten. I am the message you could not speak before you died. I have a thousand names and every one of them is true. I give you back your name and your voice

“No one can hear me.”

I am the voice in darkness. I am the words written in the sky by the wings of birds. I I I I am oracle

“No more. Finished.”

I I am the road you trod. I am not finished. I have no horizon

“Let me go. Let me be forgotten.”

I deny it. Remember


I am the light that always returns. I am the sun the sun the sun

“My son. I remember. Our son.”

About The Author

Photograph by David Barker

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.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Emily Bestler Books (August 5, 2014)
  • Length: 432 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451661682

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