For a few moments, William’s mind went blank. He stared down into the large watchful, eyes and felt the hairs on the back of his neck hackle. This was neither animal nor man, but he could speak. What manner of creature could do that? Fear stroked a cold finger down William’s spine (p 2).
William is an orphan serving the monks in a medieval abbey for his room and board. One morning, as he gathers firewood, William hears a cry for help and finds a hobgoblin or hob no bigger than a cat with its bloody leg caught in a trap. William’s compassion for a living things leads him to risk saving the hob and destroying the trap by throwing it into Hollow, a section of the forest where none dare tread.
William has the Sight, an ability to magical creatures. Just a few days after saving the hob, two strangers arrive at the Abbey asking questions about an angel. A curse is revealed and William finds himself unwillingly caught up in it.
From the cover image to the glossary, I was held captive by this delightful work of children’s literature. First published in the UK, Pat Walsh tells an even-paced story with equal parts tantilizing tibit and satisfying discovery. Unlike many, she doesn’t hold on to all her world’s secrets until a big (and usually unbelievable) reveal at the end. Instead, the reader feels like a part of the unfolding mystery. With Will, we step into this world, come to know it and be fascinated, terrified and excited by it.
She has a way of blurring characters. Think of Snape in the Harry Potter series. We want to put him in a category: good or bad. But he’s more than that. While William, like Potter, is our clear-cut noble and talented hero, the secondary characters are shaded. I look forward to reading more from this author.