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About The Book

A gutsy girl unlocks a magical universe—and the danger that lies within—in this “sprightly” and “exciting” middle grade fantasy adventure (Publishers Weekly).

Eleven-year-old Holly Shepard longs for adventure, some escape from her humdrum life. That is precisely what she gets when she is given an old iron key that unlocks a door—in a tree.

Holly crosses the threshold into a stunning and magical medieval world, Anglielle. And as she does so, something unlocks within Holly: a primal, powerful magic. Holly is joined on her journey by two tagalongs—her younger brother Ben, and Everett, an English boy who hungers after Holly’s newfound magic and carries a few secrets of his own.

When Ben and Everett are sentenced to death by the royals, whose fear of magic has fueled a violent, systemic slaughter of all enchanted creatures, Holly must save them and find a way back home. But will she be able to muster the courage and rise above her ordinary past to become an extraordinary hero?

About The Author

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Claire M. Caterer is the author of The Key & the Flame and its sequel The Wand & the Sea. She lives in Kansas with her family. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (April 2, 2013)
  • Length: 480 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442457430
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 690L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"In her debut novel, Caterer quickly builds a fantasy that involves time travel and switching identities as Holly, Ben, and their new friend Everett enter a tree, using Holly’s key, and find themselves identified as enemy agents by a fantasy analog of thirteenth-century England. Magic creatures, realistic human emotions, and the children’s very different personalities are well knit into a rich drama that lasts the full summer."

– Booklist

"Caterer is especially good at creating believable children in all of their human imperfections. The book’s pace is sprightly, and Holly’s adventures are exciting without being too scary."

– Publishers Weekly

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More books from this author: Claire M. Caterer