Elizabethan London: a teeming city of traders and thieves, courtiers and preachers, riff-raff and quality, cut-throats - and demons. When scrunty Jack the 'Judicious Nipper' picks the wrong pocket at the Globe Theatre, he finds himself mixed up in an altogether more dangerous London than he could have imagined - a city in which magic is real and deadly.
An outbreak of devil-worship has led to a wave of anti-witch fervor whipped up by the Elect, a mysterious group of Puritans recognizable from their red-stained right hands, led by the charismatic Nicholas Webb, a growing power at Court. Rumour has it that he wants to purge the city entirely and build a New Jerusalem. Jack has his own reason for hating him: he saw him kill his mother.
Helped by Beth Sharkwell the Thief Princess of Lambeth, Kit Morely the Intelligencer and Dr Dee the Queen's Wizard, Jack pits himself against Webb's Puritans. But this is no straightforward struggle. Things are not as they seem. In fact, ever since his encounter with Webb, there has been something wrong with Jack's vision. He keeps seeing things. Demons.
Black Arts is the first in a series of thrilling time-travel adventures, each bringing the past to glorious life, as Jack and his companions hurtle from one epic struggle to the next.
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I really, really enjoyed it. I think it's a brilliant book, a great blend of action, adventure, magic, horror and humour. Plus the language is top notch . . . A period book that will work very well for modern readers - Charlie Higson
Extremely impressive . . . Black Arts is a complete, self-contained and wholly satisfying novel in its own right. This is a sparkling and intelligent debut - Guardian
Prentice and Weil do know how to spin a thrilling yarn . . . Devilishly good fun - Financial Times
Roistering and sweaty, full of magic and mischief is Black Arts by Prentice and Weil. The authors' use of contemporary slang is brilliant - Literary Review
Full of dark magic and a powerful sense of history, the first novel in the Pandemonium series is sure to engage young readers - Booktrust
A tale that includes ritual murders, curses, demons and Dr John Dee was never going to be dull. This is a fast-paced historical tale that’s almost in the league of the great Leon Garfield - Financial Times