Nathan lives a quiet life with his sister and grandmother, until one night a strange man arrives in his bedroom and whisks him away in a balloon against his will. While still in his pyjamas!

Nathan is thrown (quite literally) into medieval London, and left to fend for himself, until he discovers some great new friends and all the excitement he has ever wanted. Of course, with a few enemies too. (Adventure is never simple) .

But best of all is the discovery of magic. Magic carries him and his friends to new lands and into new adventures, where he finds answers to old questions, and new ones to solve…


“This beautifully written children’s book really drew me in. The characters are refreshing, there’s unusual adventures and atmosphere which make it all seem to come alive. The pace is fast, and I couldn’t put the book down. A new Harry Potter explosion, I think. I read it to my son and I was just as captivated as he was. There’s magic, history, mystery and humour. What more could you want?”
"I really think Bannister's Muster is a wonderful novel that children will like immensely. There are lots of never-ending adventures and engaging action that Nathan and his friends find themselves in. Barbara Gaskell Denvil's depiction of life in medieval times is interesting and realistic, especially the parts involving the homeless kids who struggle to survive on the streets, as well as Nathan's adjustment to it. Her descriptions of Baron Darling and his brother and their antics are funny. It's an intriguing, fast-paced story that is hard to put down once you start reading. The author's writing is clear, the plot creative, and she ended the story in a suspenseful way as Nathan's adventures will continue in the upcoming sequel, Snakes and Ladders. Snap: Bannister's Muster is highly recommended for pre-teens."

A short excerpt from chapter one

“What?” yelled Nathan, turning around abruptly. “You mean you’re taking me to some strange place and then you’re going to leave me there all alone in the middle of the night?”

“No.” The thin man shook his head. “I’m not taking you some place. I’m taking you some when.” Still laughing, he added, “Look down.”

Both hands holding tight to the wicker lip, Nathan looked down over the edge of the basket, and gasped. Spread out below was a great city, but it was nothing like any city he had ever imagined. There were no skyscrapers and no motorways, but the hundreds of houses were small and clustered together either side of narrow lanes and twisting alleyways. There seemed to be very many churches with high steeples and one great cathedral with a huge spire and massive pillars rising from the raised entrance. Through the dark sleeping city ran the twists and loops of a river, which was wide and shining silver in the starlight.

“Where is this?” asked Nathan. “Is it still England?”

“Foolish Bumble-Bee Head,” sniggered the skinny wizard. “This is London, of course. Don’t you see the River Thames? Can’t you see St. Paul’s Cathedral? And there, in the distance, is Westminster Palace.”

 “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Nathan objected. “It can’t be London. St. Paul’s doesn’t look like that at all. It hasn’t got a spire, it’s got a dome. Some of those little houses have thatched roofs. London certainly doesn’t have little thatched cottages, or any funny old houses like this at all. And I can’t see Big Ben nor Tower Bridge.”

“But you can see the Tower with a hundred turrets,” Brewster said, pointing. “Look, stupid boy. The Tower of London. So where could we be except London itself. Look, Nat, look, and use your little brain.”

Nathan was cold, tired, confused, and extremely excited, but getting annoyed. “Don’t call me Nat,” he objected. “Gnats are horrid little flying insects that bite and there’s nothing wrong with my brain. And yes, there’s the Tower. But where’s the bridge?”

“The Tower bridge,” grinned the wizard, “won’t be built for nearly four hundred years. This, Nat, is London when King Richard ruled England, and the city was a very different place.”

The wind was howling like a wolf, and the basket was shaking, buffeted by the growing gale. The smell of magic, which Nathan had first found exciting, now seemed rank and too strong. Nathan shook his head, trying to get his hair out of his eyes. “My name isn’t Nat,” he mumbled. “My name is Nathan. And King Richard who? We haven’t got a King Richard.”

“Ah, but we did in the year 1485,” said Brewster, pulling on one of the cords. “And that’s where you’re going, boy. Richard III. He was a king some people hated and some people loved, and you’re going to meet him, if you use what little sense you have.”

Nathan took a deep breath. “I still don’t know if this is a real adventure or just a dream,” he said, “but you’re rude and I want to go home. I want my bed. And I don’t want to be made to walk around a lot of old houses in the cold just wearing my pyjamas. I haven’t any idea why you chose me for your crazy adventures and you can’t leave me here against my will.”

And Brewster Hazlett laughed again, very loudly. “Well now,” he cackled, “as it happens, yes I can.”



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(It's all their fault)

is a short story, telling how the problems in Lashtang began