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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Glass of Lead & Gold (The)
by Cornelia Funke
Age Range: 9-11
In the snow-covered city of Londra, fifteen-year-old orphan Tabetha Brown manages to survive and eke out a meagre living by finding treasures in the mudbanks of the river Themse. The riverbed is a dangerous place and Mudlarking is not a healthy business, with the filth-ridden mud up to your knees and changeable tides. Tabetha tries to stay out of trouble, dressing as a boy and keeping a low profile as well as avoiding becoming too friendly with the other Mudlarkers.
On Christmas Eve her life changes when a sinister stranger asks her to keep her eyes open for a glass with a slender stem and delicate engravings of Sand Fairies and Fire Elves. She will be paid three silver shillings if she finds a fragment. Little does Tabetha know that what she already has in her possession is a priceless, long-lost magical object – the Glass of Lead and Gold.
Tabetha’s adventure now truly begins. She finds herself with some unlikely companions including a one-armed girl, a rather impressive soup chef Troll as well as a myriad of Hobs, Watermen, Kelpies and Thumblings who all hail from the Mirrorworld first visited in the ‘Reckless’ series. Will Tabetha discover that there are even greater fortunes to be found than the magical glass?
The Glass of Lead and Gold is a short novella from master fantasy writer Cornelia Funke. She returns to the Mirrorworld and Londra – a mirror image of Victorian London – in her new Christmas tale which works perfectly as a stand-alone story.