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The Spell of Undoing

By Paul Collins

Book 1 in Quentaris: Quest of the Lost City

(1 customer review)


Calamity has befallen the city of Quentaris! Due to a vengeful plot by warlike Tolrush (which backfires), Quentaris is uprooted—city, cliff-face, harbour and all—and hurled into the uncharted rift-maze. Lost and adrift in this endless labyrinth of parallel universes, encountering both friend and foe and facing unknown dangers, Quentaris must somehow forge a new identity and find its way home.

But there are other surprises, too. When Quentaris gets over its shock, it discovers that it’s not only lost in some other universe, but now it is a floating city, adrift high above an unknown land, at the mercy of the winds.

Cover designed by Grant Gittus.

Buy The Series

  • The Spell of Undoing
  • +
  • The Equen Queen
  • +
  • The Gimlet Eye
Price for all:   $48.85
  • ISBN:9781876462536
  • Publication date:1 March 2008
  • Extent:186
  • Format:B format paperback
  • Genre:
  • Age guide: , 12+

1 review for The Spell of Undoing

  1. George Ivanoff

    The Quentaris Chronicles is a series of shared-world, stand-alone novels for kids, all set in the magical city of Quentaris and published by Lothian/Hachette Livre. But things have now changed in this magical city. The publisher is different (Ford Street Publishing), internal illustrations have been added and the city itself is now flying with the aide of giant sails.

    The Spell of Undoing is the first book in this new series, Quentaris: Quest of the Lost City.

It’s a very good-looking book with an eye-catching cover and internal splash page from Jeremy Maitland-Smith. It also introduces internal illustrations for the first time (by Fernando Molinari), which help create the atmosphere.

This book sets the scene for the new series. A dastardly spell is cast, but goes wrong, and the city of Quentaris is uprooted and hurled into the uncharted rift-maze, where it must drift through countless parallel universes as it tries to find its way home. To make matters worse, the rival city of Tolrush is also uprooted and set adrift – it stalks Quentaris, waiting to attack. Quentaris, however, is an enterprising city and it soon puts up giant sails, forms a navigator’s guild and generally gets on with things.


This first book follows the adventures of young orphan, Tab Vidler. When Tab witnesses the casting of the spell that uproots Quentaris, she finds her own destiny linked with that of the city. Will Quentaris fall to an attack from Tolrush, or can Tab find a way to save the city? In addition to the big adventure, there is also Tab’s quest to become a magician. The two elements of the plot work well together, interweaving the epic with the personal. This book has everything one comes to expect from author Paul Collins – vivid descriptions, unbounded imagination and interesting characters that one grows to care for.

 At two points in the book, footnotes direct the reader to the Quentaris website, where they will be able to read additions to the story. I have read a pre-publication review copy of the book (a month prior to its release), so I was unable to read these added bits as they were yet to appear on the website. It looks as if they will provide further background on some of the characters from the book. The book certainly felt complete without them, but I do look forward to reading them at a future time for some added insight. Although I personally find the idea of going to a website for further reading a little tedious (I’d rather everything be contained in the book itself), I do concede that kids would probably find it exciting. And it’s certainly clever marketing, as when the kids arrive at the site, they can find out about all the other Quentaris books.

I’ve read quite a number of the original Quentaris Chronicles, and this one, I feel, is one of the best. It works well as a story in its own right, but also successfully sets the scene for more adventures. The scope of the original series is broadened, and the door has been opened for more imaginative instalments to follow. And so, in many ways, The Spell of Undoing is the perfect first book for a series. I look forward to further adventures in Quentaris.

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