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ISBN-10: 1-55404-316-6
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Medieval
eBook Length: 296 Pages
Published: January 2006

From inside the flap

There is an alternative to the universe we know and understand: a very close and similar alternative that is almost exactly the same, almost normal and familiar except for some minor deviations.

History there took a slightly different path, the DNA spiral is left-handed, electricity doesn't work and magik does.

In a world of steam-buggies and airships, windmills and gas-lamps, magik is the science that binds the fabric of society. A science that could offer a great future for its students like seventeen year-old Garreth Royal.

Unfortunately, Garreth has failed first year at the College of Mages and his future is bleak. Worse, there is a senior wizard, one Theolonia Crabbe, who has dark designs on Garreth. Theolonia carries within her mind the soul of her dead twin brother, Horatio, and Horatio needs a body to inhabit to fulfill his destiny. Horatio is a mandrake?a cold and fell necromancer of the worst aspect.

But itís not exactly Garrethís body the wizard wants, but his opposite number in the mythical parallel universe... ours... that place where strange forces are at work and magik isn't. And the ancient and proscribed Book of Null tells how to swap them over



Once long ago, in the frozen, far-off northern lands of Outer Thule a dragon told the most amazing secret to a magician. They were playing cards at the time, and the dragon was losing. Dragons and mages have little use for gold and the like; the coin - and purpose - of their game was information. And the mage was winning, not because he used glamours and conjurations of magikal mien to aid him, but because he was a good player of the cards and the dragon wasn't.

Besides, the skeins of magik unravel in the presence of dragon-folk. Spells and such can take on unusual aspects around them... usually with awful consequences. Thatís why dragons inhabit the cold, northern wastes and men don't: there are no conflicts of interest.

As forfeit for losing, the secret was divulged, thus the world that men knew and were familiar with was the mirror-image of another. And in that other reality, some things were very different indeed.

For one thing, the science of magik did not work, and strange new ideas and forces shaped that world. Oh, the heavens were still the same, the stars occupied their usual places, and the Moon still graced the skies, but this other world was opposite in all other things, and mechanical and scientific contraptions ruled the day; there was no knowledge of the wonders and mysteries of the natural power of magik. On that world, man never knew what had been lost or never gained.

Until until someone found a way to cross over into it, to open up a doorway between them - a doorway that upset the order of things.

Such was the rarity of the disclosure, and so profound the tale, that the mage recorded everything in the runes of his craft and sent what he had learned to the great colleges of magelore for their examination. And for many years great thinkers and magicians wrestled with the tale, seeking to find the moment of access. For then, once knowing the time and place, a formula of power - spell, if you will - could be crafted to delve into this mirror world.

The lore and legend of the craft of magik was sifted for clues; history was searched and dissected for any evidence of something out of place; and slowly, very slowly, over many generations, the little pieces began to add up.

There were stories of people who didn't belong, strangers who would appear in the midst of a battle or at the height of a storm when the lightning was flashing, All of them found near ley-lines or barrows or henges; places of mystery and power. And these strange ones all shared the same disturbing ability they were unaffected by magik. Not like dragon-folk were unaffected, but totally indifferent to it! They were impervious to the direct application of constructed magik.

More! The structured symbolisms of mathematics, harmonics, philosophical paradigms, and mental imperatives that are the building blocks of the entire range of thaumaturgical disciplines that make up the Arts Arcana, known as Magik in the common tongue, would fall apart in the presence of these strange ones! Such power! To be able to nullify magik! Nullify... null. Ahhh. The last clue fell into place. Null.

Legend told of a book so dire and fell that it had been proscribed and damned for all time. A book that spoke of places beyond this world; the Book of Null. Written during the great Druid convocation at Long Meg, in the days when the power of Rome held the land.

From one end of the Angle Isles to the other, the search for the book ran its course. From the Pictish highlands to the Cymric valleys, across the lowlands of Angland and down to the brooding cliffs of Tintagel, throughout the mist-encased realm of Erinís Isle mages sought the book. Dark vaults, in remote colleges and abbeys and seminaries, were searched; the great Druidic establishments and centres of learning scoured their libraries and crypts, and ancient rune-stones were cleaned and examined.

And it was found., encased in a sealed leaden box and buried with others of its kind at the holy centre of learning at Newgrange, in Erinís Isle.

Now, with the book as a guide, spells could be created that would follow the threads of history back into the past; threads that could be wound back to the moment when the doorway was opened. And at the centre of that moment, where the streams of probabilities met, was William of Normandy, claimant to the throne of Edward the Confessor.

And in 1066, he set sail to claim what was his.