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The Puzzle Ring


The Puzzle Ring book cover
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  • Title: The Puzzle Ring
  • First Published: May 2009
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • ISBN: 978-0-330-42493-6
  • Pages: 409

'The Puzzle Ring' is an historical fantasy for children aged 10+. It tells the story of a girl who discovers that her family was cursed long ago, and the only way to break the curse is to find and fix a broken puzzle ring. To do this, she must travel back in time to the last tumultuous days of Mary, Queen of Scots ... a time when witches were burnt and queens were betrayed and the dark forces of wild magic still stalked the land ...

Hannah Rose Brown was not quite thirteen years old when she discovered her family was cursed...

It seemed a day like any other day. Yet for twelve year old Hannah Rose Brown, it is the day when her ordinary life is changed forever, a day when she discovers a past full of secrets and a future full of magic.

Hannah lives with her mother, Roz. Her father Robert disappeared soon after she was born, and she and her mother are all alone in the world. Or so Hannah has always believed. Yet one day a letter arrives, addressed to the Viscountess of Fairknowe. Hannah thinks it's a hilarious mistake but the letter upsets her mother who confesses that Hannah’s father was the Viscount of Fairknowe, and the heir to Wintersloe Castle in Scotland.

The letter is from Hannah’s great-grandmother – someone she never knew existed – begging Hannah and her mother to come to Scotland. At first Roz refuses – she had sworn never to return to Wintersloe Castle. But Hannah is determined to go, her curiosity aroused by the letter’s reference to a curse.

Wintersloe Castle is an old house, built near the ruins of a castle and overlooking the waters of Loch Lomond. On the northern wall is a strange gate, built through the hollow trunk of an ancient yew tree. Through the gate, Hannah can see the round hill that rises behind the house, crowned with a blackthorn tree. This is called Fairknowe on the maps, but the locals call it the fairy hill.

Strange things begin to happen. A toad coughs up a round stone with a hole worn through the middle. When Hannah looks through it, the world seems different. She hears a dog howling at night – yet there is no dog at Wintersloe Castle. Shadows seem to stalk her. One stormy day, the toad shows her the way to her father’s old tower room – and Hannah discovers the history of the curse of Wintersloe Castle, which has blighted the family and the house for centuries.

Hannah is determined to break the curse, but to do so she must go back in time to the last tumultuous days of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. She must face all sorts of dangers, including being hunted by the evil queen of the Otherworld and being accused of being a witch...

Reviews

'The Puzzle Ring' has been gaining rave reviews both here in Australia and overseas. Some highlights:

Steph Bowe, Teenager of the Year:

'The Puzzle Ring is a fantastically imaginative fantasy novel ... A truly wonderful read.'

Stephen Davenport, The Independent Weekly:

'Kate Forsyth's latest novel, The Puzzle Ring enchants and enthrals until the very last sentence. Every page erupts with assurance and imagination, demonstrating what marvels an author can accomplish when her head and her heart are fully engaged.'
'Immensely entertaining fun, with a compelling narrative and lovingly drawn characters.'
'The Puzzle Ring is, arguably, Forsyth's best book yet; it's simply a treat for those who like good fantasy fiction.'

Angie Schiavone, The Sydney Morning Herald:

'The Puzzle Ring is captivating, wonderfully fantastical, tremendously insightful, and best of all, fun ...'

The Scotsman:

'The story zips along from one side of our world to the other before stepping into a totally different one. Readers will love its pace and humour and be sucked into the mystery and adventure.'

Book Dreaming:

'I loved this book! My son loved this book. YOU will love this book!' (Read more)

Read more reviews of The Puzzle Ring

Inspirations

Read more about some of the inspirations behind The Puzzle Ring