The Ostermark Novels

 
The Ostermark Novels

Two fantasy novels aimed at an upper primary, lower secondary age group.

Fireworks and Darkness
(HarperCollins, 2002)
Simeon Runciman is firework maker to the royal court of Ostermark, a difficult man with a dangerous past. His son, Casimir, has always known part of the truth about him. But when Simeon’s enemy, the sinister magician, Circastes, reappears in their lives intent of revenge, Casimir is caught up in a deadly web of murder, deceit and magic. Forced to fight for his own survival, Casimir must also confront the harsh truth of who his father is, and what he has done, as well as the real nature of the magic that he wields.
Fireworks and Darkness won the Davitt Award for Women’s Crime Writing in 2003. I still don’t know how.

The Star Locket
(HarperCollins, 2006)
Identical in appearance, yet raised as strangers on opposite sides of the world, Estee Merton and Sally Taverner share a perilous inheritance. Born as one child, and magically split into two at birth, each girl holds a broken half of a mysterious star-shaped locket, a magical talisman that could control the destiny of millions.
Now the star locket must be rejoined or destroy, and when that happens, only one twin will survive. Aided by a renegade secret society and a young man who loves one of them too much, Sally and Estee are drawn into a terrifying struggle on the murky streets of nineteenth century Starberg. As torn loyalties threaten everyone’s safely, the star locket is fated to decide which twin will live and which will be lost. The problem is, there is no way of telling who.

Natalie Writes:
These two novels are particular favourites of mine. The books are designed to be read as a pair—I call them ‘companion novels’, rather than label The Star Locket as a sequel, because although thematically linked, and taking place in the same made-up kingdom ‘somewhere in Europe’, they are set about 170 years apart in time, and feature two completely different sets of characters (though some of the characters in The Star Locket are descendants of characters who appear in Fireworks and Darkness). It was a way of showing what happened to Casimir after the events in the first book without actually writing a second book about him—and it was fascinating to come back to Ostermark after several generations. The books stand completely apart, and you don’t have to read them in order to enjoy them.
I’ve had a lot of letters and comments about the plot twist at the end of The Star Locket. It was something I worked very hard on getting right when I was working on the book, so it’s very gratifying to find that it works!
You can read a full account of the writing of Fireworks and Darkness in the back of that novel. And you can find reader’s/teachers’ notes in the downloads section.Downloads.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0