City of Stolen Magic

City of Stolen Magic


Brought to you by Penguin.

A spellbinding, epic and heart-racing magical adventure from an exquisite new storytelling talent.

India, 1855. There are two kinds of magic in Chompa's world. The kind her mother favours: writing-magic, which anyone can do if they take the time. Write a spell in Farsi, and wait. It's calm, controlled, safe, says Ammi. It's slow, frustrating, boring, thinks Chompa.

Then there's finger-magic, which only those descended from ancient djinn are born with. Immediate, powerful - and dangerous, for every act of finger-magic leaves a trace, and comes at a price . . .

Growing up in an isolated village, hot-headed Chompa has never understood why her mother forbids her from using her potent finger-magic - until, one day, Chompa defies Ammi, and casts a spell. Soon after, a group of pale men attack their home and snatch Ammi.

In desperate search of her mother, Chompa must travel to another world: to England, and the smoky, bustling streets of East End London, where the powerful Company is transporting magical people like her and Ammi for the most sinister purpose . . .

'A wonderfully vibrant debut . . . A vivid magical adventure' - Jasbinder Bilan

'An unexpected gem of a story . . . A stellar setting, a gut-punch of a twist, and an unforgettable heroine. This has all the hallmarks of classic children's storytelling' - Nizrana Farook

©2023 Nazneen Ahmed Pathak (P)2023 Penguin Audio


  • 'Ahmed Pathak is a wonderful new voice; the book took her years to write, and it shows in the depth and care of each beat of the story'
    Katherine Rundell

About the authors

Nazneen Ahmed Pathak

Nazneen Ahmed Pathak is a British Bangladeshi writer, historian and visual artist who lives in the port city of Southampton. She spent most of her teen years in commuter belt suburbia writing, reading, and listening to melancholy indie music, going on to study English literature at the University of Warwick and completing a PhD in Bangladeshi literature at the University of Oxford. As a historian she researches the geography and history of migration, a subject which is also at the heart of much of her fiction, poetry and visual arts practice. She was selected as one of 12 mentees from 2000 applicants for the 2016/17 inaugural round of Penguin Random House's Write Now mentorship scheme which aims to support and publish underrepresented writers.

She has held residencies at Southampton Central Libraries, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton Museums and Archives, and the Francis Crick Institute in association with Poet in the City. She has been published in Poem: International English Language Quarterly, Places of Poetry: Mapping the Nation in Verse (OneWorld Publications), The Puffin Book of Big Dreams (Puffin), and A Match Made in Heaven: British Muslim Women Write About Love and Desire (Hope Road Press).
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Sandhya Prabhat (Illustrator)

Sandhya Prabhat is an independent animator and illustrator from Chennai, working out of California, USA. Prabhat is an independent animator and illustrator from Chennai, working out of California, USA. She has illustrated children's books, as well as animating for TV and movies, and designing for social media platforms. Her clients include Penguin Random House India, HarperCollins India, Candlewick and Lantana Publishing.
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