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'a masterclass in plotting and elegant writing with turns of phrase that are genius' - Napier Courier

This gripping, page-turning fantasy adventure follows a dangerous quest through a divided world.

From the high reaches of a tree, Fliss watches the soldiers attempting yet again to break through the invisible wall. Amid the explosions, a drummer boy tries to escape. As he is about to be shot, Fliss reaches through the wall and pulls him to safety. But Fliss is dismayed to find she has saved an overfed rich boy. She is even more dismayed to learn that she must accompany him back through the wall on a special mission to rescue the Nightingale.

The world they have to travel through is a perilous one, full of predatory thieves, slave masters, beggars, dippers, mudlarks, drain-sliders, spies and wall-men. It is a world where the ruling families are caught up in a lethal power struggle.

Will Fliss and the despised drummer boy learn to trust each other? Who is the Nightingale? And will they all make it back alive?


50 Best Books for Kids: Pared-back prose marks this unexpected novel from one of our greatest writers for children. Fliss, a complex and convincing heroine, must undertake a rescue mission inside the land separated from her own by an invisible wall.

Anne Packer, NZ Listener

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    January 30, 2017


    192 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    January 30, 2017

    Penguin eBooks

    192 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ


From high in the branches Fliss watched slaves dig trenches where the wheels of the cannon would rest. Their overseer strolled back and forth, coiling his whip. A sergeant from the foot platoon lounged on a grassy slope, smoking his pipe. Now and then a trooper unslung his rifle and aimed at Fliss in her tree, hoping to see her flinch and lose her grip, but he did not fire. Although she was in range, no bullet could reach her: no cannon ball or fire-throwing machine, no wind or weather. Nothing could break through the wall.

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