The Wild West Witches
In Brief: Simple Good & Bad tale with undemanding and mildly comic style.
Series: Witch Trade
Publisher: The Chicken House
Published in: 2003
Age Range: Children
Setting: Contemporary England & the American Wild West
- Abby & Spike are the young heroes of the story, Abby an apprentice Light Witch and Spike the Prince of Lantua, the underwater kingdom where the Light Witches ice dust comes from.
- Captain Starlight is the Ancient Mariner, friend of the Light Witches
- Sir Chadwick Street is the head of the Light Witches in England, and he is married to Hilda, a Light Witch with a special affinity for living things.
As the Light Witches prepare for the Pageant of Merlin's Sword, Wolfbane and his family are attack them to steal the Sword, forcing Abby and her friends to flee to the American Wild West a century before. Once there they have to devise a way to rescue the Atlantis Boat from the mine it landed in. They become aware that Night Witches are in the area, and correctly guess that Wolfbane has followed them, but discover that not everything is what it seems.
Literary: In common with the others in the series, the book's style is undemanding. Good & Evil are — almost comically — clear to see: the Night Witches delight not only in moral decay but in the physical kind as well. (“A rubbish dump! What are we waiting for? Lead on, Caspar.”) The spoken spells are either rhyming riddles or anagrams, which offer the reader the challenge of working out the spell's effect before the narrative gives it away.
Good & Evil: Aside from obvious deception, you know that the Light Witches and their allies (the Elves, the Ancient Mariner and others) are on the side of good, while the Night Witches and their allies are not.
'Night Witches,' said Abby softly. 'Here in Silver Springs?'
'It appears so,' whispered Sir Chadwick, 'Wolfbane could have followed us through time.'
'How?' asked Hilda.
'Perhaps with the new Black Dust he has devised,' answered Abby.
Sir Chadwick nodded. 'He could have been in Silver Springs for ages.'
'And he would be in disguise,' said Spike. 'We must remain calm,' said Sir Chadwick. 'If Wolfbane has followed us to get hold of Excalibur I think we can assume he has only a limited amount of the new Black Dust.' 'But we have no Ice Dust at all,' said Mandini
Sunday 2nd November 2003