book 6

DARKE Illustrations: Marcia and Linda

This week:
Friday (13. 05) – Beetle and Septimus
Saturday (14. 05) – Marcia and Linda

Next week:
Friday (20. 05) – Jenna and Simon
Saturday (21. 05) – Merrin and The Thing

Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, characters, Darke | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

DARKE Illustrations: Beetle and Septimus

This week:
Friday (13. 05) – Beetle and Septimus
Saturday (14. 05) – Marcia and Linda

Next week:
Friday (20. 05) – Jenna and Simon
Saturday (21. 05) – Merrin and The Thing

Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, characters, Darke | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

Septimus Heap 6: DARKE – The Cover (2)

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DARKE gets starred review in Kirkus!

The penultimate episode in this well-crafted series pits apprentice wizard Septimus and allies against a relentless tide of Things bent on overwhelming the Magyk that protects the town of Castle and establishing a penumbral Darke Domaine.

Their 14th birthdays become more battles for survival than celebrations for Sep and Princess Jenna when she is captured by the powerful Port Witch Coven. His planned visit to the deadly subterranean Darke Halls takes on special urgency after the Darke finds an opening in the palace and begins pouring out in a deadly tide through the streets. As usual, not only is the cast, particularly the large and tumultuous Heap family, sharply drawn both in the tale and in Zug’s finely detailed character studies at the chapter heads, but the danger and the spellcasting alike seem vividly real and credible. Lightening the load with humorous byplay and tucking in plenty of ghosts, strong-willed characters, deft literary references—a character named Bertie Bott, a house on There And Back Again Row—and a particularly exciting dragon battle, Sage expertly weaves multiple new and continuing plotlines together. An appendix ties up what loose ends it can while leaving the door open for the conclusion.

A memorable, edge-of-the-seat escapade that will enthrall confirmed fans and newbies alike. (Fantasy. 10-12)


Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, Darke, reviews | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

DARKE Poster

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Letters from Angie Sage (13)

Hi everyone,

I waved goodbye to DARKE forever yesterday. The little yellow courier van took the proofs back to America to HarperCollins. I have spent the last week just checking through everything, making sure it all makes sense and reads well. And it does! Mark has done some really beautiful new illustrations. There’s a lovely new – somewhat romantic – one of Simon, a new one of Marcia too, also Sep and Beetle – both a little older and a lot more confident. And for duck fanciers there is a special one of Ethel in her new waistcoat.

Now for the less fun stuff. I know lots of fans are unhappy with the UK publishing date – and that includes me too. I have talked this over a lot with my editor at Bloomsbury. Both she and I were trying to find various solutions, including maybe a limited release in June, but in the end nothing was possible and of course they must have the final say in this. I asked Bloomsbury for a statement explaining the problem that I could post here and this is it:

“There are big differences between the US and UK hardback and paperback markets. We will be publishing DARKE hardback in autumn because autumn makes a lot more sense for our UK market.

“We cannot give an advance release to limited bookshops because that would be unfair to their competitors.

“Our export paperback is always available before the UK paperback, but this time it also available before the hardback UK edition as we have to match the American publication date in areas where both editions can be sold.”

I hope this explains things, even though it doesn’t fix them.

I’m off to get started on the Prologue of Book 7 now…

Happy February!

Categories: angie sage, book 6, BOOK 7, books, characters, Darke, letters from angie | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

Septimus Heap 6: DARKE – The Prologue


Book Six



It is a Darke and stormy night.

Black clouds hang low over the Castle, shrouding the golden pyramid at the top of the Wizard Tower in a dim mist. In the houses far below, people stir uneasily in their sleep as the rumble of thunder enters their dreams and sends nightmares tumbling from the sky.

Like a giant lightning conductor, the Wizard Tower rears high above the Castle rooftops, Magykal purple and indigo lights playing around its iridescent silver sheen. Inside the Tower the duty Storm Wizard prowls the dimly lit Great Hall, checking the StormScreen and keeping an eye on the UnStable window, which has a tendency to panic in a storm. The duty Storm Wizard is a little on edge. Magyk is not usually affected by a storm, but all Wizards know about the Great Lightning Strike of Long Ago, which briefly drained the Wizard Tower of its Magyk and left the rooms of the ExtraOrdinary Wizard badly scorched. No one wants that to happen again— particularly the duty Storm Wizard.

At the top of the Wizard Tower in her as yet unscorched four-poster bed, Marcia Overstrand groans as a familiar nightmare flickers through her sleep. A loud craaaack of lightning splits open the cloud above the Tower and zips harmlessly to earth down the duty Storm Wizard’s hastily conjured Conductor. Marcia sits bolt upright, dark curly hair awry, trapped in her nightmare. Suddenly her green eyes open wide with surprise as a purple ghost shoots through the wall and skids to a halt beside the bed.

“Alther!” gasps Marcia. “What are you doing?”

The tall ghost with long white hair tied back in a ponytail is wearing bloodstained ExtraOrdinary Wizard robes. He looks flustered.

“I really hate it when that happens,” he gasps. “Got Passed Through. By lightning.”

“I’m very sorry, Alther,” Marcia replies grumpily, “but I don’t see why you had to come and wake me up just to tell me that. You may not need to sleep anymore, but I certainly do. Anyway, it serves you right for being out in a storm. Can’t think why you want to do that—argh!”

Another craaaack of lightning illuminates the purple glass of Marcia’s bedroom window and makes Alther appear almost transparent.

“I wasn’t out there for the fun of it, Marcia, believe me,” says Alther, equally grumpily. “I was coming to see you. As you requested.”

“As I requested?” says Marcia blearily. She is still half in her nightmare about Dungeon Number One—a nightmare that always comes when a storm is playing around the top of the Wizard Tower.

“You requested—ordered would be a better way of putting it—that I track down Tertius Fume and tell you when I had found him,” says Alther.

Marcia is suddenly wide-awake. “Ah,” she says.

“Ah, indeed, Marcia.”

“So you have found him?”

The ghost looks pleased with himself. “Yup,” he says.


“Where do you think?”

Marcia throws back the bed covers, slips out of bed and pulls on her thick woolen gown—it is cold at the top of the Wizard Tower when the wind blows. “Oh, for goodness sake, Alther,” she snaps, as she pushes her feet into the purple rabbit slippers that Septimus gave her for her birthday, “I wouldn’t ask if I knew, would I?”

“He’s in Dungeon Number One,” Alther says quietly.

Marcia sits down on the bed rather suddenly. “Oh,” she says, her nightmare replaying itself at double speed. “Bother.”

Ten minutes later, two purple-clothed figures can be seen scurrying along Wizard Way. They are both trying to keep out of the needle-sharp rain that sweeps up the Way, Passing Through the leading figure and soaking the one close behind. Suddenly the first figure dives down a small alleyway, closely followed by the second. The alleyway is dark and smelly but at least it is sheltered from the near-horizontal rain.

“Are you sure it’s down here?” asks Marcia, glancing behind. She doesn’t like alleyways.

Alther slows his pace and drops back to walk beside Marcia. “You forget,” he says with a smile, “that not so very long ago, I came down here quite often.”

Marcia shudders. She knows that it was Alther’s faithful visits that kept her alive in Dungeon Number One.

Alther has stopped beside a blackened, brick-built cone that looks like one of the many disused lock-ups that can still be seen scattered around the Castle. Somewhat unwillingly, Marcia joins the ghost; her mouth is dry and she feels sick. This is where her nightmare always begins.

Lost in her thoughts, Marcia waits for Alther to unlock the small iron door, which is pockmarked with rust. The ghost gives her a quizzical look. “No can do, Marcia,” he says.


“Wish I could,” says Alther wistfully, “but, unfortunately, you are going to have to open the door.”

Marcia comes to her senses. “Sorry, Alther.” She takes out the Universal Castle Key from her ExtraOrdinary Wizard belt. Only three of these keys were ever made, and Marcia has two of them: one of her own in her capacity as ExtraOrdinary Wizard, and one that she is keeping safe for Jenna Heap until the day she becomes Queen. The third is lost.

Making an effort to steady her hand, Marcia pushes the slim iron key into the lock and turns it. The door swings open with a creak that at once takes her back to a terrifying snowy night when a phalanx of guards threw her through the door and sent her tumbling into the darkness.

A foul smell of rotting meat and burned pumpkin tumbles out into the alleyway, and a trio of curious local cats screech and head for home. Marcia wishes she could do the same. Nervously she fingers the lapis lazuli amulet—the symbol and source of her power as ExtraOrdinary Wizard—that she wears around her neck and, to her relief, it is still there—unlike the last time she passed through the door.

Marcia’s courage returns. “Right Alther,” she says. “Let’s get him.”

Alther grins, relieved to see Marcia back in form. “Follow me,” he says.

Dungeon Number One is a deep, dark chimney with a long ladder attached to the inside of the top half. The bottom half is ladder-free, lined with a thick layer of bones and slime. Alther’s purple floating form drifts down the ladder but Marcia steps carefully—very carefully—down each rung, chanting an UnHarm Spell under her breath, with a Begird and Preserve in readiness for both her and Alther—for even ghosts are not immune to the Darke Vortices that swirl around the base of Dungeon Number One.

Slowly, slowly, the figures descend into the thick gloom and stench of the dungeon. They are going much farther down than Marcia expected. Alther had assured her that their quarry was “only lurking around the top, Marcia. Nothing to worry about.”

But Marcia is worried. She begins to fear a trap. “Where is he?” she hisses.

A deep, hollow laugh answers her question, and Marcia very nearly lets go of the ladder.

“There he is!” says Alther. “Look, down there.” He points into the narrow depths and, far below, Marcia sees the goatlike face of Tertius Fume leering up at them, an eerie green glowing in the darkness. “You can see him, you can do the Banish from here,” says Alther, lapsing into tutor mode with his ex-pupil. “The chimney will concentrate it.”

“I know,” says Marcia tetchily. “Please be quiet, Alther.” She begins to chant the words that all ghosts dread—the words that will Banish them to the Darke Halls forever.

“I, Marcia Overstrand . . .”

The greenish figure of Tertius Fume begins to rise up the chimney toward them. “I am warning you, Marcia Overstrand—stop that Banish now.” His harsh voice echoes around them.

Tertius Fume gives Marcia the creeps, but she is not deflected. She carries on with the chant, which must last for precisely one minute and be completed without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Marcia knows that the slightest falter means she must begin again.

Tertius Fume knows this too. He continues his approach, walking up the side of the wall like a spider, hurling insults, counter chants and bizarre fragments of songs at Marcia to try to put her off.

But Marcia will not be deflected. Doggedly she continues, blanking out the ghost. But as she embarks upon the closing lines of the Banish—”your time above this earth is done, you’ll see no more the sky, the sun”—out of the corner of her eye, Marcia sees the ghost of Tertius Fume drawing ever closer. A stab of worry shoots through her—what is he doing? Marcia reaches the very last line. The ghost is inches away from her and Alther. He looks up, excited—almost exultant.

Marcia ends the chant with the dreaded words, “By the power of Magyk, to the Darke Halls, I you . . .”

As Marcia reaches the very last word, Tertius Fume stretches his hand up to Alther and Merges with his big toe. Alther recoils from the touch but is too late.


Suddenly Marcia is alone in the chimney of Dungeon Number One. Her nightmare has come true. “Alther!” she screams. “Alther, where are you?”

There is no reply. Alther is Banished.


Thirsty for more? Download the Magyk Special Edition e-book featuring an exclusive excerpt: Prologue & Chapters 1&2 from Book Six, Darke! Go here for AmazonKindle, here for Nook and here for Kobo. The offer has ended (it was limited time!).

Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, Darke | Tags: , , , | 60 Comments

Letters from Angie Sage (12)

Hi everyone,

Snow snow snow! Yes, we have snow almost at Christmas and we are really excited (we don’t often get snow in south west England).
I finished the copy edit for DARKE last week and so now have space to think about the last Septimus. It doesn’t seem possible that the next book really is the last in the series. But I would still like to write Marcia’s story and maybe revisit the Castle in ten years time and see what is going on. So it’s not over yet.

You can follow me on Twitter now – AngieSageAuthor is me. And yes, I do tweet quite often, I like Twitter as it’s so simple and immediate.

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and a brilliant 2011 (when we might hear a lot more about the film…)!


Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, Darke, letters from angie, septimus heap the movie | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Frequently Asked Questions

Hey guys,

I just wanted to tell you that now we have a FAQ page. So – please read it before asking questions here. Also, you can check out the FAQs on Angie’s official website – here.


Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, characters, Darke, website | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Septimus Heap 6: DARKE – Synopsis (US version)

In the sixth book of the Magykal series, Alther Mella has been Banished, a Darke Domaine engulfs the Castle, and a Darke dragon is on the loose. Septimus must use all of his skills to save the Castle and the Wizard Tower from destruction: He must enter the Darke. But he cannot do this alone. With the help of Jenna, Alther Mella, Marcellus Pye, and his estranged brother, Simon Heap, Septimus and Marcia Overstrand, the Extraordinary Wizard, battle the spreading Darkenesse. Will Septimus succeed in protecting his Magykal world?

Septimus Heap, Book Six: Darke follows our hero’s ongoing quest to realize who he is and who he is to become. Written with Angie Sage’s characteristic humor, Darke is another compelling fantasy adventure filled with many surprises and laugh-out-loud moments. Readers will revel in the action-packed story as they realize the wisdom of Magyk—that all things are meant to be part of a living whole.

Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, Darke | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

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