BN.com Gift Guide

Hatching Magic

( 16 )

Overview

You never know when magic will hatch....
Poor Theodora Oglethorpe! Her biologist father has gone off to explore the jungles of Laos without her, her best friends are away on vacation, and a long, hot, lonely Boston summer is all she has to look forward to.
Poor Gideon! Wycca, his pet wyvern, has disappeared through a magic hole in time in search of a place to lay her egg. Kobold, Gideon's wizard rival, wants nothing more than to get his hands...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (53) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $9.13   
  • Used (47) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...

Overview

You never know when magic will hatch....
Poor Theodora Oglethorpe! Her biologist father has gone off to explore the jungles of Laos without her, her best friends are away on vacation, and a long, hot, lonely Boston summer is all she has to look forward to.
Poor Gideon! Wycca, his pet wyvern, has disappeared through a magic hole in time in search of a place to lay her egg. Kobold, Gideon's wizard rival, wants nothing more than to get his hands on Wycca. In a desperate attempt to rescue Wycca from Kobold's evil clutches, Gideon follows her through the magic holeŠand finds himself transported from thirteenth-century England to the terrifyingly modern world of Boston, Massachusetts, in the twenty-first century.
Soon Theodora's involved with a chocoholic baby wyvern, a mysterious wyvern playing card, a couple of desperate wizards -- and the summer vacation of her life!

When a thirteenth-century wizard confronts twenty-first century Boston while seeking his pet dragon, he is followed by a rival wizard and a very unhappy demon, but eleven-year-old Theodora Oglethorpe may hold the secret to setting everything right.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
New York Post Middle-grade readers will love the story's humorous twists.
Publishers Weekly
A wayward dragon finds her way into the 21st century and her wizard owner follows her through time, enlisting the help of a girl and a modern wizard. PW said that the author "fashions a witty fantasy from several plot lines that come together into a satisfying denouement." Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The story opens with Wycca, a small cat-like dragon called a wyvern, searching for a place to nest and lay her egg. She discovers a small magical hole and climbs into it. Transported to a different time and place, Wycca's owner, a 13th-century wizard named Gideon, becomes worried and goes looking for her. He finds the hole and leaves to pack. The hole transports Gideon from his own time in England to 21st-century Boston. Gideon hurries to locate Wycca, because if he does not, his archenemy, Kobold, and Kobold's demon, Febrys, will find Wycca and use her against him. A third character, Theodora, an 11-year-old girl from the 21st-century who thrives on a game called Wizards & Wyverns, finds a black wyvern card to finish her collection so that she will be able to join the club. Wycca's egg soon hatches. All the while, Gideon and a 21st-century wizard, Merlin, who also works as a professor at Harvard University, use a more modern style of magic to find the wyverns. This book's language and compelling plot engage the reader. Its use of magic and technology cause the reader to become absorbed in the story of Wycca's incredible journey. I enjoyed every aspect of this book because of the interesting combination of mythological creatures and present-day life. 2003, Antheneum Books For Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, Ages 10 to 14.
—Joy A. Girgis
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Wycca, a small dragon called a wyvern, is looking for the perfect place to lay her egg when she stumbles into a bolt-hole that transports her from 13th-century England to 21st-century Boston. Although she is quite unbothered by this change in locale and proceeds to lay her egg, her wizard Gideon needs to find her fast, before the evil wizard Kobold and his demon can locate her and use her against him. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Theodora, an avid fan of a game called Wizards & Wyverns, finds a magical card and unwittingly summons Wycca's hatchling, which draws all the other magical folk to her, as well. The delight of this fantasy lies in the interactions of the well-drawn characters and in the fluid, skillful writing. The attempts of Gideon and his 21st-century wizard ally, the pompous but good-hearted Professor Merlin of Harvard University, to work traditional magic using modern materials are entertaining, as is Wycca's preoccupation with obtaining chocolate, her newfound addiction. Theodora's part in the plot is a bit forced, as are some of the circumstances and characters surrounding her, and there are a great many coincidences, including a plethora of modern-day wizards who are always right where they need to be. Those quibbles aside, this is a charming fantasy that will appeal to fans of Diana Wynne Jones. An extra bonus is Rayyan's artwork that heads each chapter, depicting the wyvern egg and the hatchling that emerges from it.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An earnest 13th-century wizard follows his pet dragon through a time/space bolt-hole into contemporary Boston in this lightweight, pleasant fantasy. While Gideon negotiates modern technology and city life (luckily befriended by a convenient Harvard wizard), Wycca the dragon lays her egg in a Boston tower and becomes addicted to chocolate. Also involved are Theodora, a Cambridge girl having a boring summer, and Kobold, another 13th-century wizard who is evil. Local readers may wonder why some Cambridge details are true while others aren’t, but fans of wizard and dragon paraphernalia will hope that their fantasies come as true as Theodora’s: an ancient wyvern card sticks to her shoe in the street and brings her the newly hatched wyvern to save. Potions and spells abound, but the narrative is over-obvious, leaving too little for readers to figure out. However, the pace quickens near the end, and several delightful closing details produce a satisfying finish. (Fiction. 8-11)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689870576
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Series: Aladdin Fantasy Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,461,692
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Downer grew up in Manila and Bangkok in the late 1960's and read many mysteries...until she discovered the rich and wonderful world of fantasy.

Returning to her native Virginia, she began to spend afternoons at the local library reading all the fantasy she could get her hands on. Soon she was inspired to begin a fantasy novel of her own, and so began her career as a fantasy author. She has written The Spellkey, The Glass Salamander, and The Books of the Keepers.

Ms. Downer combines her writing with a full-time career as a science editor at a university press. She lives with her husband, their son, and a large marmalade cat in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter I: A Rabbit Hole through Time

Like a cat that hides under the barn to have her kittens, a wyvern mother-to-be likes a nice, private spot to lay her egg.

Wycca had inspected several chambers around the castle and rejected them all. This one was unpleasantly hot, that one, drafty; this one smelled of mildew, that one was too close to the privies; and yet another was next to the bedchamber of the king's steward, who snored.

Wycca sighed. It was all very trying to a wyvern in a delicate predicament.

She shifted on her perch on the castle ramparts, doing her best to look inconspicuous while she enjoyed her afternoon bask in the sun. The courtiers in the garden below were gathered around a lute player by the fountain and didn't seem to notice the extra gargoyle high overhead.

Wycca flexed her claws and began to give herself a leisurely manicure, cat fashion. She fit in well among the ramparts, being about the size of the stone gargoyle waterspouts. She was a small, four-legged dragon with a neat, slender head and an eagle's beak. No matter what old bestiaries and modern dictionaries have to say on the matter, wyverns do have forelimbs as well as hindlimbs, and a set of powerful, membranous flapping wings, like those of a bat. Wyverns are the most catlike of the dragons in their agility, intelligence, temperament, and vanity, and like a cat, Wycca had slitted, feline eyes, retractable claws, and a deep, melodious purr.

This morning's nest-hunting had begun promisingly. Hidden behind a tapestry at the back of the queen's chapel, Wycca had discovered a small chest full of prayer books half eaten by bookworms. Their pages would make a fine, soft nest, and the little chapel itself was warm, dry, quiet, and unused, the humans having long ago abandoned it to mice and bats.

She had been happily planning the lining of the nest — fresh cobwebs, down from young owls, perhaps a few golden hairs from the princess's hairbrush — when the men came in and began to haul out the broken furniture.

The old king had recently remarried, and his new queen was young, French, and devout. Someone had remembered the neglected chapel. It was to be swept out, given a fresh coat of whitewash, and fumigated. The promising chest was the first thing to go on the bonfire. Wycca hid in the choir loft and watched the monks' beautifully carved pews turn to smoke. She would have to start her search all over again.

There was an easier way. Her master, Gideon, was the king's own wizard, and his chambers were warm and dry and quiet. Gideon knew she was about to lay an egg. He had placed a folding screen around her favorite sleeping place and now gave her a dose of swan-liver oil after dinner. It would have been simple to shred a cushion or two, line the heap with a few mouse whiskers and moth wings, and be done with it.

But Wycca had her dignity. Nests were not provided. They had to be sought with difficulty, discovered by cleverness, and kept hidden from everyone — especially wizards. Even her own wizard.

The sun went behind a cloud, signaling that basking time had come to an end. Wycca bestirred herself.

The egg made her ungainly, and Wycca could feel it shift as she struggled to her feet. She was overcome by a powerful urge, to dig, to tear something up — she had to make her nest. But where?

She fled (if you can call a swift waddle fleeing) to the back of the garden by the crumbling wall that was all that remained of a much older castle, leveled in a long-ago siege. She was venting some of her nest-building urges on the ground, clawing out a deep wallow among the melons, when she found it.

At first she thought she had dug through to the wall, but it wasn't stone. It wasn't earth, either, or fire or ice or air, or any other substance she knew — except one. Wycca sat back on her haunches and snorted in surprise.

It felt like magic.

Her master's magic was kept tightly corked in bottles and jars, to be let out only when the moon was waning and the wind was out of the right quarter, and then only in small amounts, ground up in a mortar with barley wine and ashes until it was the right strength for repelling demons or fetching wyverns.

But this magic had never known the inside of a jar. It was wild and strong and willful. It yawned suddenly, so that it was bigger than the largest melon, bigger than Wycca. The center of it wavered like summer heat on tiled rooftops, only cool and silver and humming faintly. It pulled at her, like the tug of the moon on the sea.

Suddenly, Wycca knew where she would build her nest.

She stretched out her neck slowly until the very tip of her beak broke the surface of the shimmering wildness. There was a ripple and a sound like a harp string being plucked, and in that heartbeat Wycca was instantly and completely Elsewhere. There was nothing in the melon patch but some tangled melon vines and a spot of darker, clawed earth.

When Wycca didn't show up for dinner, Gideon didn't think much of it. It was her habit to dawdle when he called, so that her appearance, when she finally made it, would seem like her own idea. After all, she seemed to say, curling up on the rug before the fire, only dogs and other witless creatures came when you whistled.

But when it began to grow dark and she still had not returned, Gideon began to worry. He hoped the silly creature hadn't gotten wedged into a tight spot somewhere down in the crypt — or, worse, the dungeon. But most of all, he hoped no one had taken her. Even a fetched wyvern — one summoned by spellcraft and given a golden collar and a Name — is still a magical creature. Wycca could be a powerful weapon against her wizard if she fell into the hands of his enemies.

Someone like Kobold, for instance.

Gideon and Kobold had grown up together, and when they turned sixteen, they had been apprenticed to the king's wizard. Both young men had won favor at court, and when the old wizard had retired to the country to raise bees, both of them vied for the coveted position of Sorcerer Royal. In the end, the king awarded Gideon the title and the wand, and Kobold had to hire himself out as an itinerant wizard, riding a circuit between various third earls and aging warlords. Unfortunately, Kobold had a lot of time left over to nurse his grudge and to sharpen his skills at summoning the minor demons. These he sent to the castle to spy on Gideon. If Wycca was missing, Gideon thought to himself, Kobold would learn about it soon enough. And if he could find a way to wreak his revenge, he would.

Gideon threw on his cloak and went out to look for Wycca. He started by checking all her favorite hiding places. She wasn't drinking buttermilk in the dairy or napping beside the fire in the laundry, where the linens were hung to dry. She wasn't hunting frogs among the lilies in the moat or teasing the high-strung falcons in their mews. She wasn't taking a dust bath on the jousting grounds.

He was lying flat on his stomach trying to get a good look under the dovecote when he heard a honeyed voice say, "Have you lost something, Gideon?"

He wriggled out from under the dovecote, brushing off feathers and petrified pigeon droppings. Standing beside the dovecote was Febrys, lady-in-waiting to the queen and one of Kobold's demon spies. She was wearing a gown of blue-and-silver brocade. Febrys was fair of face and would have been beautiful had she not been so unnaturally pale: the pale hair that showed beneath the linen of her headdress was closer to white than gold, and her eyes were like clouds reflected in water. The twilight on the silver brocade made her look more eerie still, as though Kobold had fashioned her out of cold moonlight and dust. Which he probably had, Gideon thought.

"I thought I saw a fox slip under the pigeon coop," he said.

She looked him up and down like an owl eyeing a mouse. "A fox? But why not send your wyvern after it? Why begrime yourself when she could save you the trouble?" Her voice dripped with sweetness, but it reminded Gideon of the honey the palace cook used to cover the taste of meat that was rotten. He laughed and Febrys took a startled step backward. Laughter is a powerful charm against demons.

"Send a wyvern after a fox? That would raise an awful clamor, and something tells me our new queen wouldn't care to have her evening prayers disrupted in such a noisy fashion. In any case, there was no fox — I merely fancied I saw one. But you can see for yourself." He waved an arm toward the dovecote.

Febrys wrinkled her nose. "Of course I take you at your word, Gideon." She turned and walked away across the courtyard.

Gideon looked after her. He knew he had not deceived her. She would go straight to Kobold. There was no time to lose.

He started back to his rooms. The apparatus required to fetch a wyvern was elaborate and would take one wizard working alone most of the night to set up, but if he worked steadily, all would be ready by the hour just before dawn, when fetching spells are most effective.

He took a shortcut through the vegetable garden, and it was then that he saw the unearthly glimmer coming from the melon patch. Gideon felt his heart sink.

There was no mistaking it: the talon marks in the earth were Wycca's. And there was no mistaking the hazy ring of oily light, shimmering and humming faintly like a spinning top.

Gideon sat down among the melons with a groan. Wycca had gone through a bolt-hole, a kind of magical rabbit-hole through Time, into some other Where — and, what was much worse, some other When.

He had started to put his hand through the bolt-hole when he stopped himself. It was no use rushing after her unprepared. He went back to his chambers and spent an hour putting his crucibles and books away under lock and spell.

Wycca couldn't have chosen a more inconvenient moment to run away. He was supposed to judge the flight trials of the rising class of yearling dragons, settle a long-running dispute between humans and some trolls about mining rights, host a lavish banquet for visiting dignitaries from the dwarves, and preside over the new session of the Guild's high court. He hardly had any time at all to pursue his own studies in demon genealogy or perfect the new universal antidote. The last batch of the stuff had rendered the king's food taster weightless for a week. Gideon now understood why his predecessor had retired to the country to tend bees.

On a high shelf lay coiled a two-headed snake and beside it, under a bell jar, a cool blue flame that burned without air or fuel. These were Gideon's familiars, the Worm Ouroboros, as old as Time, and Ignus, an intelligent, biddable Fire.

Gideon paused in packing his satchel. He lifted the glass bell and held out an empty coin purse, making a soft clucking sound. Ignus flowed off the shelf and into the coin purse. Gideon snapped it shut and placed it in his pocket. Then he held out his arm for Ouroboros. The snake slid along his master's arm, arranging himself in coils underneath the sleeve of Gideon's tunic. There was a small hole in the seam where the sleeve was attached, and from this the snake could look out.

The wizard's last task was to compose a note to the king explaining his sudden absence. He spoiled two sheets of foolscap before he hit on a likely excuse: a summons to attend an emergency convocation of the Guild of Adepts in the Wizardly Arts. He supposed Kobold would see through it, but by then Gideon hoped he would be back, with Wycca in tow, in time to head off any attempt to overthrow him as Sorcerer Royal. Gideon deftly folded the note into the form of a dove, said a few words over it in Wizard's Latin, and watched the paper bird wing its way to the castle and into the king's chamber window.

He gave the cage of newts their freedom and left out a saucer of buttermilk, just in case Wycca hadn't gone through the bolt-hole after all.

"Lock up," he told the door, and, as the bolt obediently slid to, the wizard shouldered his satchel and made his way back to the melon patch.

Copyright © 2003 by Ann Downer

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. A Rabbit Hole through Time 1
2. Theodora, Known as Dodo 11
3. The Wizard of Harvard Square 22
4. The Usefulness of Wyverns 33
5. The Forgotten Art of Fetching 47
6. A Perfectly Good Substitute for Eye of Newt 59
7. A Talent for Trouble 70
8. An Unfortunate Fortune 78
9. A Dragon in the Bathtub 86
10. More Than One Way to Fetch a Wyvern 97
11. Wyvern's Milk 111
12. A Wizard's Trump 121
13. Make a Wish 132
14. Demonizing Mikko 147
15. The Rescue 161
16. Sanctuary 175
17. The Care and Feeding of Young Wyverns 190
18. Pitfall 201
19. In Kobold's Grip 211
20. Where's Wycca? 220
21. Gwynlyn's Isle 231
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter I: A Rabbit Hole through Time

Like a cat that hides under the barn to have her kittens, a wyvern mother-to-be likes a nice, private spot to lay her egg.

Wycca had inspected several chambers around the castle and rejected them all. This one was unpleasantly hot, that one, drafty; this one smelled of mildew, that one was too close to the privies; and yet another was next to the bedchamber of the king's steward, who snored.

Wycca sighed. It was all very trying to a wyvern in a delicate predicament.

She shifted on her perch on the castle ramparts, doing her best to look inconspicuous while she enjoyed her afternoon bask in the sun. The courtiers in the garden below were gathered around a lute player by the fountain and didn't seem to notice the extra gargoyle high overhead.

Wycca flexed her claws and began to give herself a leisurely manicure, cat fashion. She fit in well among the ramparts, being about the size of the stone gargoyle waterspouts. She was a small, four-legged dragon with a neat, slender head and an eagle's beak. No matter what old bestiaries and modern dictionaries have to say on the matter, wyverns do have forelimbs as well as hindlimbs, and a set of powerful, membranous flapping wings, like those of a bat. Wyverns are the most catlike of the dragons in their agility, intelligence, temperament, and vanity, and like a cat, Wycca had slitted, feline eyes, retractable claws, and a deep, melodious purr.

This morning's nest-hunting had begun promisingly. Hidden behind a tapestry at the back of the queen's chapel, Wycca had discovered a small chest full of prayer books halfeaten by bookworms. Their pages would make a fine, soft nest, and the little chapel itself was warm, dry, quiet, and unused, the humans having long ago abandoned it to mice and bats.

She had been happily planning the lining of the nest -- fresh cobwebs, down from young owls, perhaps a few golden hairs from the princess's hairbrush -- when the men came in and began to haul out the broken furniture.

The old king had recently remarried, and his new queen was young, French, and devout. Someone had remembered the neglected chapel. It was to be swept out, given a fresh coat of whitewash, and fumigated. The promising chest was the first thing to go on the bonfire. Wycca hid in the choir loft and watched the monks' beautifully carved pews turn to smoke. She would have to start her search all over again.

There was an easier way. Her master, Gideon, was the king's own wizard, and his chambers were warm and dry and quiet. Gideon knew she was about to lay an egg. He had placed a folding screen around her favorite sleeping place and now gave her a dose of swan-liver oil after dinner. It would have been simple to shred a cushion or two, line the heap with a few mouse whiskers and moth wings, and be done with it.

But Wycca had her dignity. Nests were not provided. They had to be sought with difficulty, discovered by cleverness, and kept hidden from everyone -- especially wizards. Even her own wizard.

The sun went behind a cloud, signaling that basking time had come to an end. Wycca bestirred herself.

The egg made her ungainly, and Wycca could feel it shift as she struggled to her feet. She was overcome by a powerful urge, to dig, to tear something up -- she had to make her nest. But where?

She fled (if you can call a swift waddle fleeing) to the back of the garden by the crumbling wall that was all that remained of a much older castle, leveled in a long-ago siege. She was venting some of her nest-building urges on the ground, clawing out a deep wallow among the melons, when she found it.

At first she thought she had dug through to the wall, but it wasn't stone. It wasn't earth, either, or fire or ice or air, or any other substance she knew -- except one. Wycca sat back on her haunches and snorted in surprise.

It felt like magic.

Her master's magic was kept tightly corked in bottles and jars, to be let out only when the moon was waning and the wind was out of the right quarter, and then only in small amounts, ground up in a mortar with barley wine and ashes until it was the right strength for repelling demons or fetching wyverns.

But this magic had never known the inside of a jar. It was wild and strong and willful. It yawned suddenly, so that it was bigger than the largest melon, bigger than Wycca. The center of it wavered like summer heat on tiled rooftops, only cool and silver and humming faintly. It pulled at her, like the tug of the moon on the sea.

Suddenly, Wycca knew where she would build her nest.

She stretched out her neck slowly until the very tip of her beak broke the surface of the shimmering wildness. There was a ripple and a sound like a harp string being plucked, and in that heartbeat Wycca was instantly and completely Elsewhere. There was nothing in the melon patch but some tangled melon vines and a spot of darker, clawed earth.

When Wycca didn't show up for dinner, Gideon didn't think much of it. It was her habit to dawdle when he called, so that her appearance, when she finally made it, would seem like her own idea. After all, she seemed to say, curling up on the rug before the fire, only dogs and other witless creatures came when you whistled.

But when it began to grow dark and she still had not returned, Gideon began to worry. He hoped the silly creature hadn't gotten wedged into a tight spot somewhere down in the crypt -- or, worse, the dungeon. But most of all, he hoped no one had taken her. Even a fetched wyvern -- one summoned by spellcraft and given a golden collar and a Name -- is still a magical creature. Wycca could be a powerful weapon against her wizard if she fell into the hands of his enemies.

Someone like Kobold, for instance.

Gideon and Kobold had grown up together, and when they turned sixteen, they had been apprenticed to the king's wizard. Both young men had won favor at court, and when the old wizard had retired to the country to raise bees, both of them vied for the coveted position of Sorcerer Royal. In the end, the king awarded Gideon the title and the wand, and Kobold had to hire himself out as an itinerant wizard, riding a circuit between various third earls and aging warlords. Unfortunately, Kobold had a lot of time left over to nurse his grudge and to sharpen his skills at summoning the minor demons. These he sent to the castle to spy on Gideon. If Wycca was missing, Gideon thought to himself, Kobold would learn about it soon enough. And if he could find a way to wreak his revenge, he would.

Gideon threw on his cloak and went out to look for Wycca. He started by checking all her favorite hiding places. She wasn't drinking buttermilk in the dairy or napping beside the fire in the laundry, where the linens were hung to dry. She wasn't hunting frogs among the lilies in the moat or teasing the high-strung falcons in their mews. She wasn't taking a dust bath on the jousting grounds.

He was lying flat on his stomach trying to get a good look under the dovecote when he heard a honeyed voice say, "Have you lost something, Gideon?"

He wriggled out from under the dovecote, brushing off feathers and petrified pigeon droppings. Standing beside the dovecote was Febrys, lady-in-waiting to the queen and one of Kobold's demon spies. She was wearing a gown of blue-and-silver brocade. Febrys was fair of face and would have been beautiful had she not been so unnaturally pale: the pale hair that showed beneath the linen of her headdress was closer to white than gold, and her eyes were like clouds reflected in water. The twilight on the silver brocade made her look more eerie still, as though Kobold had fashioned her out of cold moonlight and dust. Which he probably had, Gideon thought.

"I thought I saw a fox slip under the pigeon coop," he said.

She looked him up and down like an owl eyeing a mouse. "A fox? But why not send your wyvern after it? Why begrime yourself when she could save you the trouble?" Her voice dripped with sweetness, but it reminded Gideon of the honey the palace cook used to cover the taste of meat that was rotten. He laughed and Febrys took a startled step backward. Laughter is a powerful charm against demons.

"Send a wyvern after a fox? That would raise an awful clamor, and something tells me our new queen wouldn't care to have her evening prayers disrupted in such a noisy fashion. In any case, there was no fox -- I merely fancied I saw one. But you can see for yourself." He waved an arm toward the dovecote.

Febrys wrinkled her nose. "Of course I take you at your word, Gideon." She turned and walked away across the courtyard.

Gideon looked after her. He knew he had not deceived her. She would go straight to Kobold. There was no time to lose.

He started back to his rooms. The apparatus required to fetch a wyvern was elaborate and would take one wizard working alone most of the night to set up, but if he worked steadily, all would be ready by the hour just before dawn, when fetching spells are most effective.

He took a shortcut through the vegetable garden, and it was then that he saw the unearthly glimmer coming from the melon patch. Gideon felt his heart sink.

There was no mistaking it: the talon marks in the earth were Wycca's. And there was no mistaking the hazy ring of oily light, shimmering and humming faintly like a spinning top.

Gideon sat down among the melons with a groan. Wycca had gone through a bolt-hole, a kind of magical rabbit-hole through Time, into some other Where -- and, what was much worse, some other When.

He had started to put his hand through the bolt-hole when he stopped himself. It was no use rushing after her unprepared. He went back to his chambers and spent an hour putting his crucibles and books away under lock and spell.

Wycca couldn't have chosen a more inconvenient moment to run away. He was supposed to judge the flight trials of the rising class of yearling dragons, settle a long-running dispute between humans and some trolls about mining rights, host a lavish banquet for visiting dignitaries from the dwarves, and preside over the new session of the Guild's high court. He hardly had any time at all to pursue his own studies in demon genealogy or perfect the new universal antidote. The last batch of the stuff had rendered the king's food taster weightless for a week. Gideon now understood why his predecessor had retired to the country to tend bees.

On a high shelf lay coiled a two-headed snake and beside it, under a bell jar, a cool blue flame that burned without air or fuel. These were Gideon's familiars, the Worm Ouroboros, as old as Time, and Ignus, an intelligent, biddable Fire.

Gideon paused in packing his satchel. He lifted the glass bell and held out an empty coin purse, making a soft clucking sound. Ignus flowed off the shelf and into the coin purse. Gideon snapped it shut and placed it in his pocket. Then he held out his arm for Ouroboros. The snake slid along his master's arm, arranging himself in coils underneath the sleeve of Gideon's tunic. There was a small hole in the seam where the sleeve was attached, and from this the snake could look out.

The wizard's last task was to compose a note to the king explaining his sudden absence. He spoiled two sheets of foolscap before he hit on a likely excuse: a summons to attend an emergency convocation of the Guild of Adepts in the Wizardly Arts. He supposed Kobold would see through it, but by then Gideon hoped he would be back, with Wycca in tow, in time to head off any attempt to overthrow him as Sorcerer Royal. Gideon deftly folded the note into the form of a dove, said a few words over it in Wizard's Latin, and watched the paper bird wing its way to the castle and into the king's chamber window.

He gave the cage of newts their freedom and left out a saucer of buttermilk, just in case Wycca hadn't gone through the bolt-hole after all.

"Lock up," he told the door, and, as the bolt obediently slid to, the wizard shouldered his satchel and made his way back to the melon patch.

Copyright © 2003 by Ann Downer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    hatching magic

    Kasey Carpenter La 1 The book I read was Hatching Magic which is By Ann Downer. This fantasy novel is two-hundred-forty-two pages long. And takes place both in the eighteenth century England and modern-day Boston. Also it is about a young wyvern 'type of dragon' named wycca who lives in the eighteenth century in England and is also pregnant seeking for the perfect spot to lay her egg. Just then she stumbles into a bolt hole and is transported to the twenty-first century Boston. My favorite part is when wycca gets transported to Boston because it is fun and exciting. The trip through the bolt-hole lasted less than a blink of an eye one moment Gideon was in the melon patch behind the castle next he was being jostled this way and that on the dance floor of the club Golgotha in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. I recommend this book because it is a good book. Also it really gets you hooked into it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    The book I am reviewing is called Hatching Magic. It is a good book story if you love magic and wyverns (wyverns are like dragons with beaks). It is by Ann Dower and the genre is fantasy. Its main characters are Theodora Oglethorpe, wizards Gideon and Merlin, plus Wycca Gideon¿s pet wyvern. It takes place in 2002 in the summertime of Boston, Massachusetts. There are many people¿s views but in the view of Theodora what happens is she is having a boring summer while her father is exploring the rain forest for new discoveries. As Gideon is sent through the ¿Bolt Hole¿ to the future in Boston, Massachusetts with Wycca too ¿ but she¿s not with Gideon. My favorite part of the story is when Gideon and Merlin are doing an experiment to summon Wycca back to her rightful owner when instead they summon a Chinese dragon! They have to think quickly when a policeman comes knocking at their door with their nosy apartment neighbor. Then Merlin hides the dragon in the bathtub and puts on the shower while Gideon sings to make it seem like he¿s in the shower! It was very funny. From reading this book I learned what life is like for a wyvern struggling in this futuristic word. I think there should have been less of people¿s views in the story- that¿s what made the story confusing at times. Otherwise it was a great story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2007

    Hatching Magic

    I read a great book called Hatching Magic, by Ann Downer. The story is about 2 wizards, one dragon, and a 12 year old girl. Gideon is the royal wizard and he owns Wycca, his pet Wyvern. Kobold is Gideon¿s brother and rival. Both of them tried out for the title of the royal wizard but he lost because he used one of the forbidden spells on another person. Theodora is a 12 year old girl with a big Wyvern collection of cards, hand made models and much more Wyvern stuff. The story takes place in the 15th century but skips to the 21st century. The reason Kobold follows Gideon to the 21st century is to get him back and because his master told him to (you do not find out who Kobold¿s master is). My favorite scene is when Gideon and Kobold fight for the mysterious card. To test out his new power Kobold uses a spell on Theodora¿s pet cat. Theodora gets really angry and tries to take on the wizard. But she is no match for him alone. Gideon and Merlin come through the door at almost the very last second Theodora could stand Kobold¿s clutches. Merlin is an older wizard that helped Gideon from pretty much the first second Gideon went through the bolt hole to the 21st century. Then Gideon and Kobold fight for the card. For about ten minutes they keep on casting spells at each other and countering the other¿s spell with another one. Kobold gets tired of this and uses one of his banned spells to summon a wraith. Merlin and Theodora use their minds to somehow slow it down from touching Gideon. Then, just before it touches Gideon, Wycca barges in from the window and clawed the wraith to death. After that almost everyone in the room team up to stop Kobold. From reading this book I now know what it feels like to see things that are considered ¿mythical creatures¿. I like how the author described the fight between Gideon and Kobold. Especially how their spells sounded and how the wraith looked. I think this book might be just a little bit under my reading level but not too short.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2007

    Kid's review

    I would like to recommend the book Hatching Magic by Ann Downer. Its genre is fantasy. The beginning of the story takes place in thirteenth century England and switches to Boston, Massachusetts in the twenty-first century. This story tells of Theodora Oglethorpe and a wizard named Gideon. Gideon is the king¿s personal wizard whose pet wyvern Wycca disappears into a magic hole while looking for a place to lay her egg that leads to the twenty-first century. When Gideon goes after her he drops an important card on the street. Theodora finds the card while looking for something to do. She then tries to use the card to get into a wyvern club in town. One of my favorite parts in the story is when Wycca comes back from flying and since her belly is so fat from the chocolate she ate the day before she has trouble balancing on the egg. When she at last get comfortable the egg starts to crack and the baby wyvern pushes out of the egg damp and blind. This is my favorite part because I love it when she helps her baby not by helping but by teaching to move on its own. This shows true care in Wycca. I thought the author did a great job writing this book because when I read it I felt like I was there in the story. This book was well written and perfect for grades 4-6. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys reading fantasy books. I would award the book Hatching Magic four stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2007

    Kids Review

    I would like to recommend the book Hatching Magic by Ann Downer. The genre is fantasy. The setting takes place in the past 13th century then the future 2000 Salem Boston. The book is about Gideon a magic wizard and his pet wyvern named Wycca. Wycca goes through time to Boston 2000 to lay her egg and Gideon follows her. At some point when he is in the future he losses a valuable card and a girl finds it stuck to her shoe. Kobold finds out that Wycca is missing and also tries to get his hands on the card because the card has very strong power and he wants to have it because he is a wizard to, and also he wants Wycca because if he gets her Gideon wont be able to do lots of magic. The girl finds the baby wyvern and wants to keep it without her parents knowing. That only makes it easer to get the baby wyvern. One of my favorite parts were when Wycca was very hungry and she found a chocolate store and parked outside was a chocolate delivery truck. She gets into the truck and starts eating the chocolate, and before she new it she had eaten all the chocolate. When she is done eating she can¿t fly because she is so fat from eating all that food so she stays in the truck over night. And the baby drinks her milk. Now that Wycca ate all that sugar she is now addicted to it so the both of them are going to the chocolate about every day. I think the end of the book is sad because the baby gets separated from its mother. From reading this book I know how it is to loose something valuable and somebody elts try to go after it. I think this book was just right for my reading level, I have a middle reading level. I like how the author described how Gideon felt about loosing the stuff. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 11, 2012

    good

    slow story line but still a good book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Hatching Magic

    Hatching Magic The title of the book is Hatching Magic. The author of this book is Ann Downer. The setting of this book is twelfth century Europe, but then Wycca Gideon¿s pet wyvern travels through a bolthole. A bolthole is like a rabbit hole through time 'an untamed magic that lets you through time'. So then the setting changes from twelfth century England to modern day times. While all this is happening a girl named Theodora wants to go to the Laos expedition with her father, but she has to stay home with her ¿Nanny¿. I use that term very lightly because their ¿Nanny¿ Mikko is more of a family friend to Theodora and her father Mikko is a ¿Nanny¿ that lives with the family she is employed to. Gideon found a man named Ian Merlin O¿Shea in modern day Harvard square Boston 'A.K.A Merlin' and Merlin takes Gideon in. Gideon has to find Wycca and her egg before her egg hatches or worse! The genre of this book is Fantasy. My favorite part of the book is when Ignus, one of Gideon¿s familiars 'he is a magical fire a smart fire another one of his familiars is a two headed snake that can see decades into the future and into the past', sees the orange flame 'Ignus is blue' come out of the stove. Ignus, being alive, is naturally curious and thinks it is a smart fire as well. The reason Ignus thinks it is a smart fire is because it came out when Merlin ¿summoned¿ it. Merlin explains that it is a stupid fire controlled by oil tanks inside the stove. Then Ignus starts moving around the burners trying to get the stupid fire to come out. I recommend this book because it is a funny book where the old world and the present day are given a twist. I would give this book five stars. This book has a sequel named The Dragon that Never Was.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2006

    Captivating Read

    I thouroughly enjoyed reading Ann Downer's Hatching Magic. The heroine, Theodora Oglethorpe, is a character many youngsters will empathize with: friends and father gone for the summer, motherless, obsessed with a genre of role playing games. Dragons in general have had much written about them. Theodora's obsession is with a related species, the wyvern. The descriptions of the wyvern and of the wyvern art, bring the book to life. The concept of the rabbit hole through time though not unique, being a variant on the oft used worm hole of science fiction, serves its purpose well. The organization of the Guild of Adepts is quite believable. The author neatly tidies up the details closing the adventure, while at the same time leaves the door open for a sequel. Nicely done!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2006

    A Must Read On Magic

    I read this book for a school evaluation. It was such a great book, in an incredible fantasy\sci-fi story-not like star wars! The author really takes you into the life of the characters, and you can really understand their feelings. The author describes the setting so much, as if you were there. I totally recommend this book if you are 10-14, and are LOOKING FOR AN AWESOME READ!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2005

    A great fanasy book.

    The book shows 4 sides of what is going on which makes for an interesting and fun book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2005

    Awesome Book!!

    I thought this book realy captured the descriptions of the characters and places that appeared in the story. The way the author wrote the story makes it very interesting to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    Mom Liked It Too

    My 9 year old son and I read this book together. I am not sure which of us was more disappointed when we finished it. This is truly a well-written and very enjoyable book. I hope Theodora Ogelthorpe is back in another book soon!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2004

    A GREAT BOOK!!!

    I really enjoyed the plot of the book and suspense in it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2003

    Definitely worth a read!!

    This is the first of her books that I have read and I am impressed enough to take a look at the others. Well written and a good story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)