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A novel that will enchant readers of J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman. The fanastical appears in the middle of 1920's Oxford, home of Lewis and Tolkein as well as a young refugee looking to escape her grim reality.
In 1920's Oxford a little girl called Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer's wine-dark sea. Anna remembers a time when Agamemnon came to tea, and Odysseus sat her upon his knee and told her stories of Troy.
But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to have it recalled. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, and creates worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half-forgotten memories.
And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A Romany boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is. In this way she meets the only real friend she will ever know.
Paul Kearney was born in Northern Ireland. He studied Old Norse, Middle English and Anglo Saxon at Oxford University, and subsequently lived for several years in both Denmark and the United States. He lives in County Down, in a croft with a boat by the door.