A mysterious and compelling literary fantasy that weaves magic, mathematics, love, family—and riddles within riddles.

Sixteen-year-old Canny Mochrie has always been different; she has a calculating, mathematical mind and she sees something extra. When she begrudgingly joins her stepbrother on a trip to research a 30-year-old coal mine disaster, she meets the alluring Ghislain Zarene, who is held hostage by a powerful spell. Canny starts to untangle the mysteries of the valley—only to find that its secrets are her secrets, too.


  • Stunning writing, a compelling plot, and a strong female protagonist
  • Shortlisted for the 2014 LA Times Book Awards
  • YA winner at the 2014 NZ Children‘s Book Awards
  • Published in the US by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
  • From the same world as Knox‘s multi-awardwinning Dreamquake children‘s series

by Elizabeth Knox

“I love this book with all of my heart … Mortal Fire and its heroine, Canny, are that rare thing: real magic.“ – Kelly Link, author of ‘Pretty Monsters!‘


“Finely wrought magic from start to finish. It has brains; it has heart; it has people to fear and fall in love with; and it all takes place in a totally beguiling world full of natural beauties, glittering puzzles, and earthy problems.“ – Margo Lanagan, author of ‘Tender Morsels‘


“This literary fantasy demonstrates why Knox is one of the premier writers in the genre. The prose is lush and descriptive … the characters are drawn with finesse, the plot is a series of riddles nested within one another like Russian dolls, and the themes of crime, punishment, guilt, and forgiveness are worked out amid startling religious symbolism of ‘severing and sacrifice,‘ resurrection and virgin birth.“ – The Horn Book


„A deeply intriguing heroine, Canny provides the focus for this powerful, perplexing story rife with enigmatic characters in a spellbound setting.“ – Kirkus

Gecko Press | pb | 434 pp | 2013 | 14+

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