Paul Cornell Returns to a Strange Supernatural English Suburb as The Lights Go Out in Lychford

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

This November, Paul Cornell returns to the “suburban fantasy” of the Lychford series, one of the most delightful and delightfully dark locales in fantasy. The novellas are set in the small English town of Lychford, a spot where the barriers between the human world and the supernatural realm are thin, and a group of local witches (don’t call them a coven)—including Lizzie Blackmore, also incongruously the reverence of St. Martin’s Church, as well as an old woman and the propreitor of the local magic shop—work to keep the peace.

Below, we’re sharing the cover and official summary for The Lights Go Out in Lychfordthe fourth story in the series, which began with 2015’s The Witches of Lychford—as well as some thoughts from the author.

The book is available for preorder now, and will be released November 19, 2019.

Be careful what you wish for…

The continuing tale in the award-nominated Witches of Lychford series, described by Seanan McGuire as “Beautifully written, perfectly cruel and ultimately kind”.

The borders of Lychford are crumbling. Other realities threaten to seep into the otherwise quiet village, and the resident wise woman is struggling to remain wise. The local magic shop owner and the local priest are having troubles of their own.

And a mysterious stranger is on hand to offer a solution to everyone’s problems. No cost, no strings (she says).

But as everyone knows, free wishes from strangers rarely come without a price…

Cover design by FORT

From the author:

When last we left Lychford, that pleasant Cotswolds market town had been left defenseless,the occult barriers that secretly protect it from mystical other dimensions having been torn down. Besides that, Judith, the hedge witch who leads the amateur ‘coven’ of three very different women who stand guard over the town, is suffering from dementia, and can’t be sure of her own powers any more.

The Lights Go Out in Lychford is very much about my own Mum’s experience of dementia, of how frightening that was for her and those around her, as someone very practical found their thoughts becoming as fantastical as magic. (Our amazing cover, which I think is the best in the series, sums up exactly what the book is about.) But, as ever, there’s sadness and comedy and everyday life in the Lychford books, so this one is also about the joy and eccentricity of working on a local festival, as I myself do. Once again it’s the hugeness of magical battles combined with popping out to the Post Office.

As well as telling a complete story, as all the Lychford books do, The Lights Go Out brings the series to a point of high drama, and sets things up for the forthcoming final book, Last Stand in Lychford.

The Lights Go Out in Lychford will be released November 19.

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