The Lost Magician by Piers Torday review – in Narnia’s shadows

An intriguing homage to CS Lewis’s mythical world – but are the parallels too close?

CS Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, whatever you may think of its deep and joyful Christianity, retains a hold over the imaginations of children and children’s authors that is almost unparallelled. In his latest novel, Guardian children’s fiction prize winner Piers Torday deploys Lewis as a blueprint. Four siblings are sent to an English country house. One of them finds another world through a wooden portal (a door rather than a wardrobe); he meets a creature recognisably human, but also very much not; he is initially disbelieved by his siblings. Another goes through after him, and makes a pact with an evil queen; and so the stage is set. There are many other elements from the apparatus of fantasy: magical books; texts that are activated by drops of blood; and a panoply of fantastical creatures.

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