Hey, and welcome back to my blog. I have an extract for you for the book The Glass Coffin by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch. I am looking forward to reading this myself. It is the 3rd book in a series but I have been told that it can be read as a standalone. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.
The tyrannous Huntsmen have declared everyone in one village to be outlaws, since they insist on supporting the magical beings of neighbouring Darkwood. Why won’t they accept that magic is an abomination?
Far from being abominable, the residents of Darkwood are actually very nice when you get to know them, even Snow the White Knight, who can get a bit tetchy when people remind her she’s a Princess.
In order to stop the Huntsmen from wiping out all magical beings, Snow and her friends have to venture into the Badlands of Ashtrie, and seek the support of the Glass Witch – but she has plans of her own, and let’s just say they’re not good ones.
A New Woman
To the south west of a great continent, hugging the Golden Sea, lie two small countries. This in itself is not unusual; most countries in this continent at this current, pre-industrial moment in history, are small. They’re about the size of Wales, because most small countries are. The country in the far south-westerly corner is called Myrsina, and its neighbour to the east is named Ashtrie. Their climates are mostly temperate, their soil mostly fertile, and their people mostly healthy. There used to be a major trade route through here, stopping off at port towns on Myrsina’s coastline and travelling by road across the land, through Ashtrie and on to the rest of the continent beyond. In those days, both Myrsina and Ashtrie were rich with trade. Those days are gone. Now, merchants will stop only briefly at Goldenharbour or Tide on Myrsina’s western coast before continuing by sea, or else cut straight north through a narrow mountain pass, minimising the trip through Myrsina and bypassing Ashtrie altogether. There would be no land route east for them to take even if they wanted to. The road through the Darkwood that stands between Myrsina and Ashtrie has been reclaimed by the trees… and other things, besides. Bad things. Dark things.
Long story short, a bunch of dirty rotten witches ruined everything, as any of Myrsina’s friendly ruling huntsmen would attest. For their part, the huntsmen are doing their very best to put a stop to the witch menace, once and for all. Why, they’ve only just installed a brand new Head Huntsman: a practical and forward-thinking woman, who has bold new plans to completely wipe the Darkwood and all of its wretched inhabitants off this plane of existence entirely. Yes, you read that right – a woman! They’re very progressive, these days; they’ve got rid of the old ‘abominations’ list that used to limit what women in the country were allowed to do. They don’t even fetch the pitchforks when they see a girl wielding an abacus any more. Turns out, powerful women in Myrsina are just as good at killing witches as men are. You go, sisters!
As for what the people of Ashtrie have been doing about the witch problem… well, nobody in Myrsina rightly knows, since to get into Ashtrie, one must pass through the Darkwood, and nobody goes into the accursed Darkwood. Because it’s cursed. Nobody.
Nobody besides all of the residents of Nearby Village, that is. The hundred or so villagers pass quite cheerfully over the log bridge into the bordering cursed forest and back again on a regular basis, with the exception of Monday nights, when everybody hides because that’s Bin Night, and if the Bin Men catch you in the Darkwood on a Monday night, they absolutely will kill you. According to the huntsmen, the small farming village of Nearby is essentially an annexe of the Darkwood and should be treated as such, since all of its inhabitants declared themselves to be witches and traitors in an ill-conceived display of solidarity with the forest’s magical beings. That was a week ago, and everybody’s still getting used to the new arrangement.
About The Author
Gabby Hutchinson Crouch (Horrible Histories, Newzoids, The News Quiz, The Now Show) has a background in satire, and with the global political climate as it is, believes that now is an important time to explore themes of authoritarianism and intolerance in comedy and fiction. Born in Pontypool in Wales, and raised in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, Gabby now lives in Canterbury.
Thanks for reading