Faerie WarsRobin: This book is the first of The Faerie Wars Chronicles. It has two heroes, a heroine and Mr Fogarty. The English boy Henry is a somewhat stolid hero, not one to leap into adventure, but starting off unsettled probably gives him an advantage. Restrain the desire to yawn through the first couple of chapters which deal with Henry’s dull family woes – and steel yourself for embarrassing conversations whenever his relations show up. No wonder he would rather clean out Mr Fogarty’s garden shed!

Just as something interesting seems to be about to happen, the scene shifts to the Faerie Realm. Expect more sudden and frustrating shifts throughout the Faerie Wars Chronicles – you are forever leaving one character in the throes in order to visit another.

Pyrgus Malvae is the rebellious son of the Purple Emperor. His wild ways and soft spot for animals have landed him in trouble with both Lord Hairstreak and the evil sorcerer Brimstone. He comes within a hair’s breadth of being sacrificed to the demon Beleth. His father decides to send him to a safe island in the Analogue World, but the portal malfunctions, sending Pyrgus off course. The filter which controls the size change has also been tampered with, leaving him disoriented and vulnerable in an English suburban garden.

Pyrgus when Henry first meets him Henry rescues Pyrgus from Mr Fogarty’s cat, absolutely amazed to meet a fairy. Fortunately Mr Fogarty, Henry’s eccentric elderly friend, is smarter than the average human. Not only does he believe in fairies – and in flying saucers – but he is able to construct a working portal based on Pyrgus’s information. Mind you, the conversation between Henry and Mr Fogarty about whether the prince can be trusted is priceless – “What could be more innocent than a cute little fairy with butterfly wings, in trouble?… How far do you think you’d trust him if he was green with tentacles?” Pyrgus assures them he is not part of an invasion force: “We don’t have very many people using gates to your world. Why would we? It rains a lot here.”

Meanwhile in the Faerie Realm, the political situation is hotting up. Secret negotiations are going on. Lord Hairstreak has troops out “practising manoeuvres”. Pyrgus’s brilliant sister Holly Blue is worried, especially when she hears someone is plotting to murder her brother, the heir to the throne. Her skills in disguise and spell-detection, as well as her extensive spy network, make her a formidable opponent.

The Faerie Wars seem about to break out – but is all as it seems? The Faeries of the Night have nowhere near enough troops to launch a successful offensive. Are they just posturing or could they have formed an alliance with some more deadly enemy?

The next book is The Purple Emperor.