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Children's Fiction General


by (author) Arthur Slade

Initial publish date
May 2018
Recommended Age
10 to 14
Recommended Grade
5 to 9
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2018
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2018
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A ruthless queen. An ancient god. One brave girl and an impossible choice.

For over a thousand years, Queen Servilia has ruled the world of Illium. Using magical red dust mined from the earth, she has enslaved her subjects, enforcing uniformity and sameness to maintain her absolute power.

But in Village Twenty-One, wild magic is growing. Fen, a young girl whose hand has been cut off as punishment for theft, wakes one morning to discover that her hair has gone crimson: a sign that she has been invested with magic of her own, and is a threat to Servilia’s reign. For Fen, this is a death sentence.

When her village is burned to the ground and her sister captured, Fen must make an impossible choice. Will she risk unleashing the most feared magical entity of all time—an ancient god who could overthrow Servilia, but whose power may be even more terrifying—in order to save the only family she has left?

About the author

The first volume in ARTHUR SLADE’s Hunchback Assignments series won the prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, and the second volume, The Dark Deeps, was a finalist for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award. Slade is also the author of Dust, a national bestseller and the winner of the 2001 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award and the Saskatchewan Book Award for Children’s Literature. His other books include Tribes, Megiddo’s Shadow, Jolted, Monsterology, Villainology and the Canadian Chills series. He lives in Saskatoon. Visit him online at

Arthur Slade's profile page


  • Unknown, OLA Best Bets
  • Unknown, Saskatchewan Book Awards

Editorial Reviews

“Slade’s piano-wire precision is a show of remarkable skill. It’s due to his unerringly smooth prose and spot-on dialogue that the story is able to whisk along so quickly. . . . Timely and timeless.” — Quill & Quire

“A wonderfully written story with a strong, brave heroine.” — Canadian Children’s Book News

“A highly enjoyable read that has wide appeal. It is creative, well-paced, interesting, with great dialogue and imagery.” — CM Magazine

“Moves with the pace and unpredictability of a wildfire. . . . gritty and visceral and full of surprises. Readers will be swept away.” — Wesley King, author of The Vindico and OCDaniel

“A wildly inventive, action-packed fantasy. A darkly fascinating read.” — Kevin Sands, author of The Blackthorn Key

Other titles by Arthur Slade