The Leap

Everyone says that Max is drowned, but Charlie thinks differently: she was in the mill-pool with him, and knows exactly what she saw. When she begins to see him in her dreams, her hopes are raised. It seems the reunion she craves is possible. But where exactly is Max leading her? And will she be able to return?

The Leap
The Leap

UK Paperback Edition
Corgi 2001
ISBN: 0099402858

US Paperback Edition
Hyperion/Miramax 2004
ISBN: 0786851953

This novel began with a short story, The Millpool, written in 1992. That in turn was inspired by the mill streams I used to see as a child, deep and cold and fringed with mossy stone; lovely and tempting on a hot day, but dangerous too. The Millpool was about two children picking fruit beside such a place, and what happened when one fell in. Much later I adapted it into the first chapter of The Leap.

After the high adventures of Buried Fire, I was interested in a more low-key and subtle investigation of how fantasy and reality collide. The book is split between the perspectives of Charlie, who believes something strange has happened, and her brother James, who doesn’t. It is up to the reader to decide whose side to take. One of my inspirations for this was Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, a brilliant ghost story that can be read in different ways. Much later, I used the idea of opposed perspectives in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, where we alternately follow Bartimaeus’s and Nathaniel’s sides of things.


"compelling reading… sensitively depicted"
The Guardian

"Atmospheric and intriguing… the quality of writing never flags"
The Daily Telegraph

"A finely choreographed novel of displacement, death and friendship"
The Oxford Times

The Ghost of Shadow Vale
Heroes of the Valley
The Last Siege
The Leap
Buried Fire
The Viking Saga of Harri
The Lost Treasure of
Captain Blood
Other Early Books