A recluse, Mr. Norrell has used his considerable wealth to buy up all the books of magic in England. When young Jonathan Strange sets it upon himself to become a magician, he ends up as Norrell’s only pupil—but it’s a dry sort of magic Norrell preaches, absent any of the mystery or terror of the old days. When Strange is drafted to help the British fight Napoleon, he is forced to improvise and create magic the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the reign of the long lost Raven King. In time, he discovers what Norrell has kept hidden from him. Like many books about magic, this one is about wilderness and exploitation and change—about the break between history and the future. Neither Strange nor Norrell can recover what was lost. But they can, with some luck, encounter it.