What’s after The Land Mysteries


It’s time for a teaser of coming attractions, following on in the late 1940s after the Land Mysteries series. The second section has some spoilers for Illusion of a Boar

Copy of Best Foot Forward lying on a wrinkled silk cloth, with a violin lying across it. The cover has a deep red background with map markings in a dull purple. Two men in silhouette stand, looking up at a point in the top left. An astrology chart with different symbols picked out takes up the left side of the image, with glowing stars curving up to the title.

The Land Mysteries

For a good while – several years – I was convinced I wasn’t going to write anything after the first half of 1929. I wasn’t as interested in writing the 1930s (especially the heart of the global Great Depression), and I also wasn’t sure about getting deeper into writing the Second World War.

And then I wrote Eclipse. Kiya left a marginal comment about wanting to see Geoffrey Carillon and Alexander Landry team up to take on munitions dealers. Every single one of my early readers commented on that idea and also wanted to see it. I gave in to the inevitable. As you do.

It took some more thinking, though. I didn’t want to do just one book, hanging out there at that chronological range. It felt unbalanced. So that meant thinking about what else I could write that was interesting in the Second World War. 

One of the things I realised early on is that as much as I wanted to write more romances, that it’s tricky to write romances actually during a war. (Not impossible, as the series proves, but it probably wouldn’t sustain a whole series sensibly). Getting people in the right place for long enough is tricky! 

But I also wanted to explore the other kinds of relationships people have in their lives. Sometimes that’s family. (Sometimes that’s enemies to “it’s complicated” to family.)  Other times it’s about mentorship. Sometimes it’s about professional commitments or goals that emerge and need doing. Sometimes it’s about chosen siblings and friendship. 

What that meant for the Land Mysteries

So the Land Mysteries series turned into a series that has two romances in it.

Those are Best Foot Forward and Illusion of a Boar. It has a book focused on mentoring and apprenticeship – Old As The Hills, where both Rathna and Gabe have apprentices who are key to events as they unfold. There’s one about the networks of people we find and choose. That’s Upon A Summer’s Day, Gabe’s particular answer to a question, but where Rathna, Alysoun, Richard, Geoffrey, and Alexander also point of view characters.

Also, I did some math, and realised that I could write about Gabe Edgarton as an older adult. His romance in The Fossil Door takes place quite early in Gabe’s adult life (he’s 22). The idea of writing him at the height of his powers, at about 40, strongly appealed. And the idea of writing what his marriage to Rathna is like, when they are still passionately in love with each other, but separated by different challenges, also appealed. 

The series also has two character-focused novellas. Nocturnal Quarry is about Alexander as he navigates having more people who have his back. And there’s Three Graces, where three women take on an old mystery. 

And finally there’s The Magic of Four, which absolutely isn’t a romance, they’re all fourteen. It’s a school story, in the grand tradition of school stories, about four kids who are trying to figure out how they fit into the world, and what that means for their friendships. But it’s also got a fair bit about siblings (especially Leo and Ursula or Jasper and Stan) 

But also, some romances

(This is where I’m talking about some spoilers. Last chance to opt out.) 

Illusion of a Boar has a romance, but it has four point of view characters. When we start the book, one of them is married, in a distant and unsatisfying marriage (Claudio). One is in a relationship with an RAF pilot. She’s living with the unspoken knowledge of the chances he’ll die before the end of the war, and unable to think about a future with him until some things shift. And we have two people who are single, one of whom has just had a horrific betrayal and divorce in the six months before the book begins. 

At the end of the book, those last two have figured some things out. And that leaves Claudio. We’ll come back to Claudio. 

But I also had a couple of people who were old enough to be thinking about adult, long-term relationships. When I mapped out the children of various of my extant couples from the 1920s, several of their children are in their early 20s by the late 1940s. 

Moving on from the War

Ursula’s romance

This one takes place in the middle of 1947 (so just as The Magic of Four ends). 

Ursula Fortier (Leo’s older sister, daughter of Thesan and Isembard) grew up at Schola like her brother. But she was born to be in Fox House. She combines all her father’s native charm and social grace and her mother’s ability to make sense of patterns. (As Thesan keeps saying, astronomy is in large part the art and science of figuring out what’s there by what you can’t actually see.) 

Ursula is a terrifying delight. She wants to be heir to the land magic much more than either her father or brother do. And in the summer of 1946, she leaves school and promptly moves into the landed estate at Arundel with her Uncle Garin. She’s got plenty to keep her busy. She needs to convince Uncle Garin to formally name her as his Heir. She’s got a whole apprenticeship in Incantation magic to do. And there’s this secret society to impress. 

When she meets someone on the road near Arundel in the summer of 1947, she has no idea what that’s going to change. But being Ursula, she certainly has some ideas as soon as she gets a little more information. 

I’m writing this one starting in August 2024, and it should be out in May 2025. 

Edmund’s romance

This is probably 1948, but I need to poke at some further research to pin down the date. 

Edmund is the eldest child, son, and Heir of Geoffrey and Lizzie Carillon. He finished at Schola in 1944, and was immediately snatched up to assist in Intelligence work by Lap Manse, who had long been his father’s intelligence handler. (And since their marriage, also his mother’s.) Lap’s delighted to have someone who has a good range of language skills, intelligence, and the ability to understand when to keep his mouth shut. 

Edmund continues with the Intelligence work through the end of the War and a bit beyond, wrapping up in the summer of 1946 in order to go up to Oxford. His father, Geoffrey, read History. Edmund’s reading Classics. And, of course, keeping up a full schedule of magical training at Oxford’s Academy, including apprenticing with his Uncle Alexander in both Ritual and Naming magic. He’s also got to keep up the proper seeming of a young lordling of excellent family at university. 

It’s the last one that annoys more than a handful of people around him, and that’s where his romance comes in. She’s fought hard for a place at university, she has everything to prove – and she has some secrets of her own about her war work. 

I’m writing this one starting in February 2025, hopefully out in November 2025.

Claudio’s romance

In the As The Ground Shifts extra, Claudio has ended up as apprentice to Gabe Edgarton as a Penelope, much to his mother’s annoyance. He turns out to not only love the work but to be tremendously good at it. Where Gabe – and a number of the other Penelopes – excel at specific skills, Claudio goes at it differently. He’s rarely the best person in the room at any given skill, but he’s reliably in the top couple in everything, able to draw on different knowledge and magical knacks to solve problems. 

(Unlike a lot of Penelopes, he also doesn’t find rote and necessary meetings with the Ministry tedious. And he remembers to reorder materia before he runs out and turns in his paperwork on time without seven reminders.) 

But his personal life has, frankly, never been terribly good. Married very young, with a son born the year he turned 21, Claudio has been in the shadow of his parents all his life. More than that, their expectations continue to weigh him down. In late 1945, Gabe called him on the state of his marriage. (That’s in the last sections of As The Ground Shifts). It’s clear changes need to be made. 

By 1950, he’s arranged a civil divorce. At 41, he’s been figuring out how to build a more meaningful relationship with his son – and he’s trying to figure it out with his daughter. He’s given up much hope of anything like a romance, as much as he’s happy for his friends who are still very much in love. The rest of his life is much better. 

Only he keeps going at questions from an angle no one else – even Gabe – seems to be considering. And he certainly doesn’t expect what happens when he meets someone who could just become an actual partner, prodding Claudio to take a tremendous risk, but to do it his way. Certainly not the way his mother would approve of. 

I’m writing this one in August of 2025, and it’ll be out in May of 2026 if all goes well. 

So, you can see all of that’s going to keep me incredibly busy. Between those, I’ll be working on more books in the 1920s Mysterious Arts series. Farran Michaels (seen in Seven Sisters) gets his romance (that one’s spending a lot of time in London). And Gemma Smythe-Clive will too. (She makes an appearance as an adult in The Hare and the Oak.) Those should be out in August 2025 and February 2026, respectively.

By Celia

New and exciting!

Upon A Summer's Day

Explore my blog posts

Explore posts about each book

Get in touch

My contact page has all the latest on where you can find me (and a form if you'd like to email me directly).