Septimus Heap: Book Three - Physik
Illustrations by Mark Zug
Ages 9 to 12
HarperCollins, 2007, 0-06-057737-1
All Silas Heap wants is a room where he can keep his Counters in safety, where he can Seal them in. And so he UnSeals the room in the corner of the Palace attic, takes out the creepy painting that hangs there, and proceeds to use the room to store his Counters. What he does not know until much later is that the painting was Sealed in that room for a reason and when he UnSeals it he frees the ghost of the queen portrayed the painting. He also frees the ghost of her pet Aie-Aie, a horrid creature which likes to bite people and whose bite is diseased.
The Queen in the painting, Queen Etheldredda, lived five hundred years ago and now her freed ghost is determined to get her throne back. To do this she has to get Jenna to do as she wishes and she has to arrange for Septimus Heap to be transported back in time five hundred years to help Marcellus Pye, her son, to concoct a tincture for everlasting life. This Queen Etheldredda succeeds in doing. She sends poor Septimus back in time through a looking glass to be Marcellus’ apprentice leaving Septimus’ friends and relatives in a panic and not knowing how they are going to get him back.
Thankfully Jenna gets the idea to use Septimus’ dragon, Spit Fyre, to find his master. She invokes a Seek on the dragon and as a result she finds another looking glass through which she, her friend Snorri Snorrelssen, and her brother Nicko are able to go to get to Queen Etheldredda’s real time where Septimus is being held captive five hundred years ago. By sheer luck they do indeed find Septimus, or perhaps Septimus finds them but they cannot be sure that they are going to be able to find a way back to their time. And, they also have to find a way to stop Queen Etheldredda and her dangerous pet before it is too late.
As with the first two books in this series, this tale is gripping, delightfully funny, packed with unforgettable characters, and thoroughly enjoyable to read. One never knows what is going to happen next and certainly one has to prepared for the unexpected. Magic makes its presence felt in often very startling ways and readers who think that they know all there is to know about magic and how it is managed will find that they have a lot to learn. In addition, readers who have a fondness for dragons may find themselves rethinking whether they want to have a pet dragon after they have read this book.
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