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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
The year is and the country is England. The Napoleonic wars are raging in France and magic, an academic subject only, is no longer practised. A street peddler foretells of a prophesy of the return of magic to England, which has been dead since the disappearance of the Raven King some three hundred years ago. Enter Mr Norrell, his magical displays enchant the nation, he raises fair maidens from the dead and sends ghost ships to battle the French. Enter Jonathan Strange, a young man who appears to challenge Mr Norrell's status. Although only a novice, his talents are brilliant and whilst Norrell has poured for years over his books to obtain his knowledge Strange's natural aptitude for the subject knows no bounds. A battle between these two magicians threatens to overshadow even the war.
A Board Game of English Magic
Published in , it is an alternative history set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Its premise is that magic once existed in England and has returned with two men: Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange. It has been described as a fantasy novel, an alternative history, and a historical novel. It inverts the Industrial Revolution conception of the North-South divide in England : in this book the North is romantic and magical, rather than rational and concrete. The narrative draws on various Romantic literary traditions, such as the comedy of manners , the Gothic tale , and the Byronic hero. The novel's language is a pastiche of 19th-century writing styles, such as those of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Clarke describes the supernatural with careful detail.
A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review. The drawing room social comedies of early 19th-century Britain are infused with the powerful forces of English folklore and fantasy in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon. In Clarke's world, gentlemen scholars pore over the magical history of England, which is dominated by the Raven King, a human who mastered magic from the lands of faerie. The study is purely theoretical until Mr. Norrell, a reclusive, mistrustful bookworm, reveals that he is capable of producing magic and becomes the toast of London society, while an impetuous young aristocrat named Jonathan Strange tumbles into the practice, too, and finds himself quickly mastering it.