11 October 2009

Time of Trial

The Fourth Volume of The Laws of Magic

by Michael Pryor

Random House. Crime, Fantasy (Magic), Australian. Paperback rrp $17.95

Aubrey Fitzwilliam is a magical genius and the son of the Prime Minister of Albion. The Laws of Magic series follows his adventures with friends George and Caroline as they try to capture the elusive Dr Tremaine, a magical genius who seems even more powerful than Aubrey. It’s a risky mission as Dr Tremaine wants to lure Aubrey into his evil plans.

Time of Trial starts out with a cricket match Aubrey is hoping to win even though the odds are against them. But unfortunately Aubrey senses magic and before anyone can say “out”, the cricket match is a flurry of wind, rain, lightning and magic. There seems to be only one target - Aubrey. When Aubrey is hit by the powers of the storm he collapses but, just as fast as the storm started, it quickly dissolves. Has Dr Tremaine won so easily?

After recovering Aubrey is given a mysterious Beccaria Cage. This small gold pendant hangs around his neck and keeps his body and soul together – a problem that occurs every time he uses magic. Will this be the key allowing Aubrey to continue using his magic without killing himself?

But nothing is ever as it seems and after Aubrey, George and Caroline escape from a fate that would be worse than death, they travel to the country of Holmland and the home of Dr Tremaine.

Is this Aubrey’s chance to capture Dr Tremaine? Or is everything that has happened so far part of Dr Tremaine’s larger plan for world war? Time of Trial is full of plot detours and turns.

This has to be one of the best young adult magic fantasy series I’ve read in a long time. There is always one more layer of story and you will find yourself gleefully anticipating the next twist. Brilliant storytelling!

The Laws of Magic series has been shortlisted for three Aurealis Awards, a longlisted for a Golden Inky and selected as a Notable Book in the CBCA Awards.

Book three of The Laws of Magic, Word of Honour was reviewed by the Reading Stack in Issue 14.


  1. Thanks for the kind review. I'm glad you enjoyed 'Time of Trial'
    Best wishes
    Michael Pryor

  2. Good books deserve good reviews. Word of Honour was another book I enjoyed.
    I just wish it was all true....
    Would love to have magic!