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The Mislaid Magician: Or, Ten Years After

The Mislaid Magician: Or, Ten Years After

4.1 9
by Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer

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Now married with children, Cecelia and Kate must face a threat to the wizarding worldIt’s been a decade since Kate and Cecelia foiled Napoleon’s plot to reclaim the French crown. The cousins now have estates, children, and a place at the height of wizarding society. It is 1828, and though magic remains at the heart of the British Empire, a new power


Now married with children, Cecelia and Kate must face a threat to the wizarding worldIt’s been a decade since Kate and Cecelia foiled Napoleon’s plot to reclaim the French crown. The cousins now have estates, children, and a place at the height of wizarding society. It is 1828, and though magic remains at the heart of the British Empire, a new power has begun to make itself felt across England: the steam engine. As iron tracks crisscross the countryside, the shaking of the locomotives begins to disrupt the workings of English magic, threatening the very foundations of the Empire. A foreign wizard on a diplomatic mission to England vanishes, and the Prime Minister sends Cecelia’s husband to investigate. In order to accompany her husband to the north of England, Cecelia leaves her children in Kate’s care. As Cecelia and James fight for the future of magic, Kate is left with a no less daunting problem: how to care for a gaggle of disobedient, spell-casting tots. This ebook features illustrated biographies of Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the authors’ personal collections.

Editorial Reviews

The epistolary cousins of Sorcery and Cecelia and The Grand Tour are back! Ten years have passed, and sweetly bumbling Kate and headstrong Cecy have settled into their marriages with Thomas and James. While all seems quiet on the domestic front, trouble is percolating in early-19th-century England. The advent of railways has brought with it unexpected complications: In addition to smoke-belching engines and clattering passenger cars, these mechanical intruders have destabilized the entire ancient realm of underground magic, endangering the entire British Isles. As in previous books, authors Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer convey both realism and superrealism in their quaint missives. A treat that must be sampled.
VOYA - Ann Welton
In this sequel to the authors' two previous books, The Grand Tour (Harcourt, 2004/VOYA December 2004) and Sorcery and Cecelia (2003/VOYA June 2003), cousins Kate and Cecelia are happily married, proper Victorian housewives-well, almost, if one ignores the decidedly loose-cannon nature of Cecelia's magically gifted twins and the fact that Kate's husband is a wizard; not to mention that the spell Kate employs to keep her hair up is one sure thing. When a German magician disappears while investigating some problems with a railroad line, Cecy's husband, James, is called in to investigate by the Duke of Wellington. Kate is left minding all the children in bucolic Skeynes as Cecy and James head for the North Country. But the disappearance has repercussions that impact all parties, as Kate's scatterbrained sister, Georgy, comes to Skeynes, one of the children goes missing and is found with yet another mysterious child, and several people find themselves turned into dogs. The world building of this alternative England has depth and credibility, and the characterization is solid and believable. The wry, tongue-in-cheek humor is effective, and the plot line is intriguing. Nonetheless one should not attempt to read this book without reading the previous titles. The cousins' past is reconstructed throughout the course of the narrative, but the epistolary style dictates that background is given slowly, and the arch Victorian phrasing may frustrate some readers. Buy where earlier books in the series have a following.
Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Cecelia and her cousin/best friend Kate live in Regency England. At first glance they appear to live an upper class life typical of the times. They have mixed with the highest society, mingled with royalty, even encountered such historic figures as Beau Brumell and the Duke of Wellington. But they are also magicians or wizards. In this third book about Kate and Cecily, it has been ten years since their adventures in The Grand Tour. Both are married with children and their lives revolve around their husbands' work, running their estates, and supervising nannies, who, though competent, have their hands full with lively offspring, especially since they are showing signs of inherited magical gifts. In their letters to each other, these two young women have more questions than news: why is Kate's sister visiting when she should be busy in London at the height of the social season, and where is her husband? Who is the mysterious prowler that has gotten past Cecelia's protective spells around the grounds of her home? And what about the missing Prussian, Herr Schellen, whom Kate and husband Thomas are assigned to locate? Since this book is part of a continuing adventure, it does not stand alone well. The book is full of romance, mystery, and whimsy but the letter format, combined with the Jane Austin-like language and style, are nearly impossible to follow for all but the dedicated and mature readers who have read the first two books in the series. Reading the first chapter—letter—of this book is like walking into the festivities of a family reunion—a family to which you do not belong. A summary or who-is-who chart would have been very helpful. Having a dictionary thatincludes archaic British terms would definitely come in handy.
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up
In this third magical mystery involving two letter-writing cousins, the women's quiet lives of domesticity are interrupted when the Duke of Wellington asks Cecelia's husband to look into the disappearance of a German magician in the north of England. Cecelia and James hurry to investigate, leaving Kate and her husband to care for their six children. The story is told in the form of the correspondence between the wives as well as the husbands, until the mystery is solved. Readers may be slightly disappointed to find that Cecelia and, especially, Kate are not quite as intrepid as they were in their previous adventures, leaving much of the investigative work to other characters, and at times merely reporting events rather than instigating them. Yet some of the sparkle remains, and fans of the first two books will certainly enjoy revisiting these delightful characters. Suggest this Harry-Potter-meets-Jane-Austen series to romantic-fantasy readers, but strongly encourage them to read the earlier ones first.
—Jennifer StubbenCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Another delightful epistolary fantasy set in an alternate, magical 19th-century England. A decade after their joint honeymoon, domestic concerns and magical studies have replaced international intrigue for the irrepressible cousins Cecy and Kate. But a summons from the great wizard Wellington sets off a new, dangerous, investigation. Soon, both ladies (and their enterprising spouses) are up to their ears in missing surveyors, tangled ley lines, railway steam engines, ensorcelled stone circles, thaumaturgic threats left over from Cromwell, eager spellcasters in the nursery, an annoyingly badly behaved runaway duchess, a suspiciously well-behaved abandoned child and sundry unsavory characters (to say nothing of the superfluous dogs). The letter format manages to tie off the copious plot threads with neat dispatch, and readers will be captivated by the engaging, headstrong Cecy and reliable (if maladroit) Kate, and charmed by the unexpected twists that a touch of fantasy yields in familiar Regency tropes. The more mature interests of the characters make this a good choice for the adult section as well. A thoroughly enchanting confection. (Fantasy. YA)
From the Publisher
"A thoroughly enchanting confection."—Kirkus Reviews
"The sparkle remains, and fans of the first two books will certainly enjoy revisiting these delightful characters."—School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Chelsea Weithman
Cousins Cecelia and Kate are constant pen pals keeping each other up-to-date with their busy lives. Both married to well-respected magicians, they realize that their children are becoming curious about the art. The Duke of Wellington requests James and Cecelia to travel in search of a powerful German magician. The magician has recently gone missing while inquiring about the new railways across England. As such, they leave their four children with Kate and her husband, Thomas, who are having adventures of their own. Kate's sister unexpectedly arrives because a man threatened her life through her husband; a mysterious stranger kidnapped young Edward, and a young girl named Drina was rescued along with Edward. The novel is written as the correspondence between Kate and Cecelia and their husbands. The description and use of language set the story in the early 1800s. While convincing, the language makes the story sometimes dull as the characters recount their daily lives. Younger readers may feel discouraged by the dense text and format of the novel and the numerous characters. The magic and spell-casting of the book is not as entertaining as in Harry Potter but rather subdued, and it proves less interesting in comparison. The story takes some time to develop, but it will appeal to most readers after they get into it. Reviewer: Chelsea Weithman

Product Details

Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Publication date:
Cecelia and Kate Series , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Mislaid Magician

or Ten Years After

By Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer


Copyright © 2006 Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-5468-4



24 February 1828 Tangleford Hall, Kent

Dearest Kate,

It was splendid to see you and Thomas and your boys again this fortnight past. (And I still think that Baby Laurence is the image of his papa, even if he is still quite bald. In deference to Thomas's feelings, however, I shall not mention the resemblance again until little Laurence is old enough to have grown some hair.) My only regret is that we could not stay longer at Skeynes. You have turned it into such a comfortable home that I do not wonder at your reluctance to go up to London, though I do hope James and I can coax you all to visit Tangleford next summer, so that we may return your hospitality.

Two weeks was hardly enough time to catch up on all your doings of the past few months. I know James was as sorry to leave as I, and as for the children—well, you saw how Baby Alexander cried when we left, and Diana and the twins all sulked for two days straight. (I had expected it of Diana, who is only four, after all, but I had hoped that at the age of nine, the twins would have grown out of such tricks. Apparently it takes longer than that.)

Speaking of the twins, I am afraid Arthur has confessed that he and Eleanor sneaked into Thomas's study on the last day of our visit. Eleanor has been suffering from a trifling ailment since we left—no more than a bad cold, but Arthur was convinced that it must be the result of some dreadful magical protection they had triggered, and so he poured out the whole story to James and me the night after we arrived home. I do not know where he can have come by such a notion, but he was so earnest in his concern that both James and I had difficulty in keeping a sober expression. I promise you that we did so, however, as neither of us wishes to encourage him to undertake any similar adventures in the future. Poking about in a wizard's study is serious business.

The reason I mention it is that Thomas may need to readjust his warding spells. (I am still not entirely sure how Arthur got past them; please do let me know, if you should discover it.) And I wish you would advise me whether Thomas maintains a continuous scrying spell on the gazing ball in his study. Arthur claims to have seen things in it, and if he is neither making up tales nor using an existing spell, I may need to find him a magic tutor who can oversee more advanced work than his present teacher.

James is going up to London to consult with the Duke of Wellington. (I suppose I ought now to say with the prime minister, but I am not yet accustomed to thinking of him so.) Though I am not sure what the duke has in mind this time, I am quite pleased for him by this turn of events. James becomes bored and most unhappy when he does not have enough to do, which is a habit I am sure he picked up on the Peninsula when he was aide-de-camp to Lord Wellington. And whatever the duke needs, I doubt it will be boring!

At first, I had hoped to go to London along with James, but both Baby Alexander and Diana show signs of coming down with Eleanor's cold, and I really cannot leave Nurse to manage them all alone, most especially if Arthur is going to remain in good health. For he is sure to get into some scrape while her back is turned, and she has a decided partiality for him that sometimes persuades her to be less firm with him than she ought.

Indeed, I am feeling nearly as sulky as the children, for I had been looking forward to seeing Aunt Elizabeth and Mr. Wrexton again. What with Mr. Wrexton's work at the Royal College of Wizards, they are so firmly settled in London now that it is nearly impossible to induce them to visit outside the city. (I cannot bring myself to call Mr. Wrexton "Uncle Michael," though he and Aunt Elizabeth have been married these ten years. I suppose I have never quite got out of the habit of thinking of him as my magic tutor.) I especially wanted Mr. Wrexton's opinion of the discursive-chain cantrips Thomas and I had that disagreement about.

I had also hoped to order a few gowns in advance of the Season, and to review the redecorating of our town house (for you know that now the duke is become prime minister, we shall have all kinds of distinguished persons visiting, so it is most important that everything be properly done).

Now it must all be left to the last minute, for James is quite hopeless at such things. I daresay he would not notice even if the drapers put crimson drapes in the blue salon. It is most provoking, and of course I cannot complain of it to James. So I write to you instead.

Love, Cecy

25 February 1828 Tangleford Hall, Kent

My dear Thomas,

The eldest of my young hellions has confessed to sneaking into your study near the end of our visit. The offense has already met with suitable punishment, but I trust you will let me know of any damage or disruption that he has not seen fit to mention. He has not provided any reason for the excursion other than a desire "to see a real wizard's study." Sometimes I think he takes after my dear Cecelia a little too much.

I am off to London as soon as may be. Wellington's summons was waiting for me when we arrived home. I am not yet entirely sure what the business is about, which will tell you a good deal right there. Unless he has good reason, Old Hookey has always been clear about his orders; I infer that the matter is serious. I need not tell you to be discreet.

Cecelia stays here with the children. I shall write when I know more, and tell you what I can.

Yours, James

27 February 1828 Skeynes

Dear Cecy,

I do hope full health has been restored to the Tarleton household by the time you read this. To be honest, it is but a faint hope, for things here at Skeynes are just as disease-ridden, all sniffles and coughing, hot bricks and red flannel. Nothing serious, thank God. This, too, shall pass, and you'll have your chance at London before you know it. It will be lovely to see the Wrextons again. I agree that it would be vastly preferable to have a bit of extra time with the dressmakers and the drapers for once, but I'm sure that you will work your customary wiles upon them, and that no one would ever suspect you accomplished so much in so very little time.

The same mail coach that brought your letter has brought us another visitor: Georgy! She arrived with only one maid, can you believe it? and we had not a word of warning she intended to come. Hardly the distinguished behavior one looks for from Her Grace, the Duchess of Waltham, you'll agree. "More to this than meets the eye," says Thomas darkly, "so I'll leave you to get to the bottom of it," and off he gallops to Waycross. Thomas claims he needs to see if the damage from the flooding is as bad as the man of affairs there says it is. Provoking man! He knows I know floods are a matter of utter indifference to him (until they intersect with his comfort, that is), so why not just stay here while I get on with interrogating Georgy? One might have wondered if there were a warrant out for his arrest, he set off with such speed. Anyone would think that a journey to Waycross in this weather was a high treat.

Come to think of it, given the sniffles and the coughing, it might have been a bit of a relief to the poor man to get away from the sound of sick babies crying. Not that he's subjected to much of that, thanks to blessed Nurse Carstairs. Without her, Cecy, I shudder to think what life would be like. Something akin to that big painting at the Royal Academy, you remember the one, with Thomas in a long white beard as Ossian, and the children and me as his faithful followers, huddled at his feet, wearing nothing but plaid blankets. Laurence would do very well swaddled in a plaid blanket, but I shudder to think how dirty Edward's feet would get. They are quite dirty enough now, with half the staff reminding him to put his shoes back on.

Enough of that. I can't tell you anything about sick babies you don't know from experience. All this vaporing is by way of explanation of why I haven't yet told Thomas about the incident of Arthur and Eleanor and Thomas's study. He was off before I'd even opened your letter. When he comes home, I will be sure to tell him.

I cannot help but admire the persistence the children showed, for that door is not often unlocked. You know your children best, of course, but I would not wonder if we learned that Arthur made the enterprise sound as if it were all his idea in order to protect his dear sister. Eleanor, when in health, seems far more likely to have had the idea originally. If I have heard her ask Thomas once to show her a spell please, I am sure I have heard her ask him a hundred times. She asks very nicely, of course, and there is no question that Thomas is the softest touch going when it comes to indulging a small girl's taste for such amusements. I don't fault her in the least for her interest. I merely point out that Arthur may have had a bit of help in entering the study.

From the piercing cries that just began to emanate from the nursery, I should judge that someone has spilt boiling water on a lion, or Edward has frightened one of the maids, or Laurence has awakened from his nap. The only thing that rules out the possibility of all three is the happy circumstance that we do not own a lion. My appearance on the scene will only intensify the din, but if I don't demonstrate a proper degree of concern, Edward will keep finding ingenious new ways of frightening the maids, and that will never do.

So I leave you, Cecy, precisely as you last saw me, halfway to distraction, but still your devoted,




1 March 1828 Tangleford Hall, Kent

Dearest Kate,

Georgy arrived on a mail coach? With only one maid? Of all the utter goosecaps! Depend upon it, the news will be all over the Ton within a week, and all the gossips will be saying that she has run away from her husband. (I don't suppose that is what she has done? If she has, it would be the first piece of good sense she's shown in years—and coming straight to you would be the second. The gossips cannot make a mysterious elopement out of it if Georgy is known to be staying with her sister, after all.)

I hope she does not keep you guessing as to her purposes for too long. The Season will be starting soon, and once it does, her behavior is certain to be the primary topic of conversation. Fortunately, it will probably not be long before some new scandal arises, but in the meantime, I should like to be prepared with whatever story the pair of you decide to set about. Or, more likely, with whatever story you and I decide to set about, as Georgy is seldom of any help in such matters. It is just like Thomas to abscond at such a moment.

As regards Thomas's study, I am quite certain that Eleanor was up to her pigtails in the matter, right along with Arthur, but even I would not venture to guess which of them was more responsible to begin with. Had I been able to interrogate them both immediately after Arthur's revelation, I might perhaps have discovered more, but Eleanor was too ill at the time, and now it is much too late. Arthur may take after me (as James often asserts), but I think Eleanor is more like you (which may have something to do with Thomas's susceptibility to her wiles)—at least as regards concocting plausible tales.

On rereading my letter, I see that it sounds rather snappish. Do believe that I am not out-of-reason cross with Georgy; she has always been a pea-goose, and I suppose she always will be. I am simply out of sorts this morning. James has been gone since Monday; the children are all absolutely full of colds (except for Arthur) and running Nurse ragged; and Arthur has been running me ragged.

I expect I had best tell you the whole, but you are not to worry. Last night, I was sitting up rather late over my books (what with the children's illnesses, it was the first opportunity I had had to look over the copy of Gregorius's Arcana that Thomas so kindly loaned me). It was well past eleven when there was a soft rap on the study door, and a moment later, Arthur slipped in.

I was at first inclined to read him a lecture, for though I do not keep so complex a magical laboratory as Thomas's, I try not to neglect my Arts, and the children all know that they are not allowed to interrupt when James or I are in the study. But Arthur was plainly much agitated; his eyes were wide and he was as tense as one of the strings in your pianoforte.

"Mama," he said before I could speak, "I am very sorry, but there is somebody outside in the garden, and I think he is trying to get in."

"Is there indeed," I said. I marked my place and set the book aside, then rose in a leisurely fashion, for I have found that a show of great calm is very reassuring to agitated children. I was not nearly so sanguine as I appeared, however. Arthur is a creative child, but not generally an overimaginative one, and so I had every dependence on the accuracy of his statement. "You did very well to come to me first, instead of alarming the servants," I told him as I snuffed the candle. "Now, show me."

We went down the hallway and across to the back of the house. There is a small, oddly shaped room there that is used mainly for storage. The window bows out over the back of the house, and moonlight was streaming in. Arthur scrambled into the window seat and pointed.

At first, I did not see anything. Then the bushes below the scullery window shook, and wobbled, and the dark figure of a man emerged. All I could determine with certainty was that he was of medium height, for he wore a workman's cap and a jacket that seemed to be several sizes too large for him. He brushed himself off and started toward the next window.

I was not much concerned, for he must have tried several of the rear windows before he reached the scullery, and the wards were holding. I was therefore tolerably sure that he was no magician. I whispered to Arthur to be very quiet and not move, and then I cast the Greater Cessation. Fortunately, it is not a long spell, if one already has solid wards in place to use as a base.

Arthur was, surprisingly, a model of decorum. I finished the spell and looked down, expecting the prowler to be frozen in place. Instead, I saw him continue to move, though very slowly, as if someone had attached lead weights to his arms and legs. His head turned, and then he began to— well, run is not precisely the right word, as even Baby Alexander could have caught up with him easily. Still, it was clear that he was trying to run, and he did succeed in moving. And the farther away from the house he got, the faster he went.

I shook off my surprise and turned to Arthur, who was staring, wide-eyed. "Go and fetch Mr. Hennesy," I told him. He barely took time to nod before he bolted for the door.

Needless to say, I did not sleep for the rest of the night. First I set Hennesy and the footmen to scouring the grounds. Though I had very little hope that they would find anything, I thought that the evident activity would discourage any further attempts at intrusion.


Excerpted from The Mislaid Magician by Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer. Copyright © 2006 Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

For over twenty years, Patricia C. Wrede (b. 1953) has expanded the boundaries of young-adult fantasy writing. Her first novel, Shadow Magic (1982), introduced Lyra, a magical world in which she set four more novels. Her other series include the Enchanted Forest Chronicles; the Cecelia and Kate novels, co-written with Caroline Stevermer; the Mairelon books, which take place in Regency England; and the Old-West Frontier Magic series. Wrede lives and works in Minnesota. Caroline Stevermer (b. 1955) is known for her historical fantasy novels for young adults. She published her first book, The Alchemist, in 1981, and soon began collaborating with fellow Minnesotan Patricia C. Wrede to create a magical version of Regency England. They published the epistolary novel Sorcery and Cecelia in 1988, and returned to the series with The Grand Tour (2004) and The Mislaid Magician (2006). Stevermer’s other novels include River Rats (1991), A College of Magics (1994), and Magic Below Stairs (2010).

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The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read. Lots of depth to the plot and the characters. A great story for expanding your vocabulary, too. I recommend it to anyone studying for the SAT or other similar standardized tests.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed all 3 books. This one is a nice turn on the first. A peek into the characters 10 yrs later, and Cece the adventurer, with Kate at home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CathyWV More than 1 year ago
Strongly recommend - good sense of character and humor, as well as a good mystery!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember when I first read Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. When opening it, I groaned 'I judged the book by its cover--took a chance, and bought it without flipping through'. From my experience, books with letters were dead boring. I was definitely surprised, though, when the 'boring' book became one of my favorites, filled with magic and twisting plots. It was definitely a great book, and I couldn't wait for its sequel--which was just as good 'though a little more mature'. Again, I couldn't wait for The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After. While it was, as always, great, it wasn't as good as the first two. There was adventure and secret plots, but a lot of it was about the usuals in a couple's life--children, cleaning, nannies, maids, etc. Not as much excitement. I recommend this book, but to really get these two authors' style, you have to read the other two.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿ve read a lot of books that are told in letters or e-mails. Usually it¿s a gimmick, one author playing both sides as it were. But having Ms. Wrede and Ms. Stevermer write the letters for their characters gives this book, as well as the others, a much more authentic feel. Cecelia and Kate have such separate real voices it`s hard to believe that all is really just fiction. It¿s a lot like stumbling across your great-grandmother's letters in the attic - but instead of just having part of the story you get to enjoy it all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Third book of Kate And Cecelia's Legacy provided the same amount of humor and adventure as the first two, but not alot of romance. Yet, it wasn't as satisfying as the first book. It didn't keep me up all night reading even though it does have a wonderful plot. Letters from James and Thomas gave some dept to their characters, but it seems like the delivery of Kate's and Cecelia's characters wasnt' was powerful as the first one.