Bannister’s Muster

Book One


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?

A boy with his head in the clouds. A magical ride through the sky. Can he take a trip back to medieval London and get home in time for school?

Twelve-year-old Nathan Bannister fantasizes about never having to go to class again. But his dreams never included a crazy wizard and a hot air balloon waiting inside his bedroom! Nathan is cold, scared, and still in his pajamas when the mad magician abandons him in medieval London.

Desperate to return to his Granny’s house in the modern world, Nathan falls in with a ragtag crew of street kids. As he attempts to find friends and allies, the young boy must escape a wicked Baron and rescue the girl if he wants any chance of returning home.

Can Nathan track down the loony wizard to find his way back before school, or will all his homework become ancient history?

Snap is the first book in the Bannister’s Muster middle-grade fantasy series. If you and your child like wondrous magic, awesome action, and cool medieval cities, then you’ll both love Barbara Gaskell Denvil’s brilliant adventure.

Buy Snap to take a magical medieval balloon trip today!

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.”