Just returned from ten days birding in southern Morocco. The snow-capped Atlas mountains are beautiful, and, with their recent rains, the desert was a carpet of flowers in places. Spring migration seems to be slow off the ground, with only small numbers of birds passing through against the northerly winds. However, resident desert specialities included sandgrouse, Houbara bustard, and a roosting Egyptian Nightjar. See my photos on Flickr here.
My Agent Sophie Gorell Barnes of MBA Literary Agency has agreed to take on a third book of mine, The Nameless Automaton. This is a fantasy for young adults. The blurb is below.
In an enchanted land, one lone town outlaws magic. A great chimney dominates Isel Totterinton, spewing out magic-inhibiting praxilite, while guards arrest any magician they find. Yet at the end of the high street lies a small automaton shop, run by the mysterious Earnest Weatherdore and his granddaughter Claudine.
The shop’s mechanisms fascinate Peter Fawncrest from an early age. When he starts work there, he discovers he’s skilled at making the animated models. But soon, he learns not everything is as it seems. Brightly coloured mice scurry round the house. Are they just intricate automata or something more? And what lurks in a cabinet belonging to the shop’s main client?
Over the following years, Peter uncovers a hidden world of magic in the town, one that changes him beyond recognition, and leads him to uncover a secret that threatens to destroy his entire world.