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Head of Zeus
Invisible in a Bright Light
Invisible in a Bright Light by Sally Gardner

An imaginative novel [with] a suspenseful challenge and a vivid backstage world of intrigue and romance ... Original and rich' Sunday Times Book of the Week.

From I, Coriander to Invisible in a Bright Light, Sally Gardner's first middle grade novel in 14 years soars with the imagination of a master story-teller. A pitch-perfect story about a crystal chandelier that splinters into a thousand pieces, a girl abandoned as a baby on the steps of an opera house and a dangerous game called the Reckoning.

It is 1870: opening night at the Royal Opera House in a freezing city by the sea, where a huge, crystal chandelier in the shape of a galleon sparkles magically with the light of 750 candles.

Celeste, a theatre rat, wakes up in a costume basket from what she hopes is a bad dream, to find that everyone at the theatre where she works thinks she is someone else.

When the chandelier falls, she is haunted by a strange girl who claims to know Celeste's past and why she must risk playing a game called the Reckoning to try to save the people she loves.

'This is a classic Gardner modern fairy tale, full of fabulous locations and mesmerising characters. lt's a complicated, layered history tale ... but do not underestimate this age group's intelligence and focus; young book lovers will be as delighted as they are challenged' Big Issue, Books of the Year 2019.

Head of Zeus, a Zephyr book * Children’s Fiction
17 Oct 2019 * 352pp * £4.99 * 9781786695215
'An imaginative novel [with] a suspenseful challenge and a vivid backstage world of intrigue and romance ... Original and rich'
The Sunday Times
'It's so visually thrilling to read, I could vividly see the man in the emerald green suit and the huge chandelier in the opera house and so many other arresting ideas, on a screen in my head as I turned the pages ... I heartily recommend you read it'
The Lady
'Readers who enjoy puzzles and problem-solving will love this absorbing, mysterious thriller ... This riveting and original fantasy will compel you to keep turning just one more page until you find you haven't eaten, slept or moved from your seat for hours. Spectacular'
'Gardner is on superb form, bringing all her love of the theatre and costume (she used to be a designer) to a richly textured prose style with echoes of Hans Christian Andersen. Wicked opera singers, warm chocolate and shipwrecks combine to wondrous effect in a novel for children eleven and up'
Literary Review
'Intriguing, haunting and filled with suspense, this story will transport readers right to the gutter of time and back again and is one to recommend to those who love an other-worldly read or who are looking for something a little bit different to get stuck into'
Books for Topics
'This wildly imaginative theatre-set tale crackles with cryptic wit, otherworldly invention and storytelling excellence'
Gardner's first Middle Grade novel since the award-wining I, Coriander is sumptuous historical fiction; an elegant, complex novel that keeps readers guessing until the end'
Editor's Choice review, The Bookseller
'What a majestic conjuration of Middle Grade magic this is – think Alice in Wonderland in a dazzling theatrical setting ... This is a dream of a book'
Gardner's writing is atmospheric, almost cinematic, as the action moves through parallel realities. The story takes time to reveal itself, but it's absolutely worth it!'
Children's Books Ireland
'The prize-winning Gardner is [a] dab hand at literary world-creation'
'Carnegie Medal winner Sally Gardner has a rare ability to build worlds that are rich, strange and totally unique to her ... It's a story that all readers will respond to and will enthral you from beginning to end'
Absolutely South East (and West)
'Rich and haunting historical fiction with a charismatic female lead'
The Bookseller
'Riddles, sailors' myths and magic underpin the complicated plot with many delightful characters'
Cornish Times
'Younger readers can get carried away with the atmosphere ... [An] enjoyable story'
Northern Echo
'A dark and surreal fairy tale which reveals its secrets one by one. Gorgeous and atmospheric descriptions of backstage bring the mystery and colourful cast to life'
South Wales Evening Post
'Fantastical and compelling'
'Set in the colourful, larger-than-life world of the theatre, and filled with fascinating characters, this is a clever and intriguing historical adventure'
The Week Junior
'A classic Gardner modern fairytale, full of fabulous locations [and] mesmerising characters ... Young book lovers will be as delighted as they are challenged'
Big Issue
'An astonishingly beautiful, dark and original novel ... The book sparkles with Gardner's unique storytelling magic, romance and a story about the power of trust'
New Statesman
'[A] rich, evocative story ... Readers will delight in losing themselves in the surreal world that Gardner has created ... A great book for confident readers who want to read a book unlike any other, as they will be rewarded by a truly unique story'
English Association
Sally Gardner
Sally Gardner
Sally Gardner gained a first class degree at a leading London art college and became a successful theatre costume designer before illustrating and writing books. Her debut novel, I, Coriander won the Nestle Gold Award and she is also a Costa and Carnegie prize-winner. Her books have been translated all over the world and have sold over two million copies. Find Sally online at, or on Twitter @TheSallyGardner.