Centuries ago when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now, in the early 1800s, he is barely more than a legend, and most of England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes.
In the city of York, however, a society of magicians meets upon the third Wednesday of every month to read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic. It is of their opinion that there are no practising magicians left in the country of England. Little do they know that they are soon to encounter the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey who will cause the stone statues of the Cathedral of York to speak and dance — and a beautiful young woman to be raised from the dead, with the help of the gentleman with thistle-down hair.
Mr Norrell goes to London, persuaded that he must make his gifts available to the government. News spreads of the return of magic to England, and Norrell swiftly becomes a man of influence and distinction. He meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. His extraordinary talent will take him to the Napleonic Wars where he will conjure angels with flaming lances and move woods, rivers and even cities to confuse and confound the French. But, unknown to Jonathan Strange, the restoration of English magic is founded upon a lie, and he and his wife Arabella will one day have to pay the price for that lie. To save Arabella, Strange will have to endure madness, until he finally learns the true nature of English magic — and its creator.
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