For Ages
10 to 99

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Mark of the Dragonfly comes a thrilling fantasy adventure about two magical friends living as refugees in a world that doesn't trust magic. Perfect for fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak and the School for Good and Evil series!

There was no warning the day magic died in Talhaven. It happened with a giant explosion and the arrival of a skyship full of children, all with magic running through their veins and no memory of home.

Rook and Drift are two of those children, and ever since that day, they've been on the run, magical refugees in a world that doesn't trust magic. Because magic doesn't die right away--it decays, twists, and poisons all that it touches. And now it's beginning to poison people.

Try as they might, Rook and Drift can't remember anything about their lives before Talhaven. But it's beginning to look like they're the only ones who can save their adopted world . . . if that world doesn't destroy them first.

Praise for The Door to the Lost

"This fun, exciting story . . . and the many well-rendered, imaginative and heartfelt scenes along the way make this journey worthwhile." --The New York Times Book Review

"Themes of refugees and found families are addressed in a way that retains fantasy flavor while realistically presenting the brutality of ignorance and beauty of humanity. Your new favorite fantasy." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Johnson's immersive world building is vivid . . . and the fast-paced action, compelling characters, and one cute magical fox will keep fantasy-loving kids hooked." --Booklist

"With heartfelt explorations of the meanings of friendship and family. . . . Fans of portal fantasies, steampunk, and action-driven books will find this an entertaining read and will be left wanting more." --School Library Journal

Praise for The Mark of the Dragonfly

"This magnetic middle-grade debut . . . [is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal." --Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic. . . . Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot." --School Library Journal, Starred

An Excerpt fromThe Door to the Lost

"You can’t run from us, exile!”


That’s what you think. Rook pelted down the backstreets of Regara’s merchant district and docks, her lips twisted in a grim smile. For as long as she could remember, Rook had been running, and she was getting very good at it.


She reached out and snatched the rail of the nearest building’s fire escape, using her momentum to swing around the corner into a dark alley. Her foot splashed down in a deep, fishy-smelling puddle that had swallowed a portion of the cobblestoned street. Mud and icy water soaked her socks and pant legs. Rook ground her teeth in irritation.


It was time to get out of here. Obviously, the Night Market wasn’t taking place in Fish Side tonight, but that hadn’t stopped the constables from laying a trap for anyone who came looking for it here.


The problem with holding a secret, movable market once a month was that, well, it had to be secret, and it had to keep moving. It wasn’t exactly something you could advertise. Come one! Come all! Get your black-market magic here! We’ve got the goods that can--literally--blow away the competition!


“Cut off the alley! We’ve got her!”


The voices echoed from two streets behind her, and were closing in fast. Rook barreled toward the brick wall that dead-ended the alley, her piece of yellow chalk already clutched in one sweaty hand. She skidded to a stop and drew a rectangle as tall and wide as her body on the uneven surface of the bricks. Her thoughts centered on her next destination, repeating it in every beat of her pounding heart.


Skeleton Yard.


Skeleton Yard.


Oh please oh please let the market be at Skeleton Yard.


Fear and magic flooded Rook’s veins. Both sensations were as familiar as breathing, but still, she faltered. Would her power take her where she asked this time? Lately, it had been failing her more and more often.


The yellow scrawl on the bricks snapped into rigid lines with a crack, as if an invisible hand had picked up one end of each and tugged it into place. A puff of chalk dust sparkled in the air, and the lines began to glow. Brightly they shone, until the chalk could no longer contain the light, shooting golden rays out from the wall.


There came the deep rumble of stone scraping stone, and one by one, the bricks in the wall popped free of their mortar and pushed outward with a loud kachunk kachunk kachunk sound. Dust choked the air, blurring the scene before Rook’s eyes. The stone scraping changed to the cadence of wood creaking and warping, a shrill sound that rang in her ears.


Then, as quickly as the noises began, they stopped. When the mortar dust settled, it revealed a startling sight--a cherrywood door nested within the surrounding bricks, as naturally as if it had always been part of the builder’s plan.


But the transformation didn’t end there. Tendrils of gold light sprang from two points along the left side of the door, coiling in the shape of leaves and ropey vines that melted into the wood and solidified into polished brass hinges. Rook shifted her attention to the right side of the door, where a small mushroom of light sprouted into a shiny doorknob. She could just make out her distorted reflection on its surface.


The instant the knob became solid, Rook seized it and yanked the door open. Behind her, uniformed constables poured into the alley, shouting and blowing shrill whistles. Rook ignored them and focused on the open field beyond the door’s threshold, lit by silvery moonlight and smelling of wild mint and wet grass.


Anywhere is better than here. Rook dove through, slamming the magical door in the faces of the constables.

Under the Cover