A Secret of Birds and Bone

Publisher: Chicken House

Sofia’s mother is an ossuarist: a bone binder, making charms and sacred boxes to house them from bone and gold. Not only the most sought-after bone crafter in Italy, Sofia thinks that her mother’s gift for binding magic to her bone creations might make her the best in the world. Yet, after a visit from a mysterious woman dressed in silver with an armoured magpie, Sofia’s mother seems tense and worried.

When their mother goes missing on Sofia’s twelfth birthday, the children are put into an orphanage owned by the duchessa and run by nuns. But what was mother running from when she ran into the path of the horses at the Palio, Siena’s famous race? And what is so important about the bone locket she made for Sofia - which has been stolen?

Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s dark and delightful new fantasy story for 9-12 year olds is full of beautiful detail and perfect for children with a taste for the gothic. Historic, plague-beset Siena and its spooky catacombs is an intriguing and atmospheric setting, but it’s the sensitive story of a lone mother and her two children in perilous times that is the real heart of the story. Plenty of action and peril for impatient readers, and lovely description for those of an imaginative nature.

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