Castle in the Air

Book 2 of the Moving Castle trilogy

Diana Wynne Jones

Illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel

Abdullah dreams of adventure, but dreams can be big trouble in Castle in the Air, Diana Wynne Jones’s delightful sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle. This Folio edition is illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel.

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‘The best children’s writer of the last forty years’

  1. Neil Gaiman

Diana Wynne Jones’s sequel to the much-loved Howl’s Moving Castle explores more of her gorgeously imaginative world, taking the story to a distant land infused with the flavours of The Arabian Nights. Castle in the Air tells the sort of fairy tale only Jones could – warm, clever and enriched with humour, like gold silk in a magical carpet. Marie-Alice Harel, winner of the ninth Book Illustration Competition, returns with more of her exquisite artwork, including six gorgeous full colour images, black-and-white chapter head illustrations, and a wraparound binding design that floats the impossible castle of the title across a night’s sky of silvery stars. This beautiful edition of Castle in the Air also features delicately glittering endpapers depicting the gardens of Abdullah’s dreams, and a splendid decorated slipcase.

Bound in printed and blocked textured paper 

Set in Agfa Wile 

256 pages 

6 colour illustrations, 10 black & white chapter openings and a title-page spread

Printed endpapers 

Printed slipcase 

9˝ x 6¼˝

Abdullah the carpet seller is prophesied to become a great man, but it all seems like so much hot air until a temperamental magic carpet causes him to cross paths with a beautiful princess called Flower-in-the-Night. When his true love is whisked away by a powerful djinn, suspicion falls on Abdullah and his quiet life is unceremoniously upended. Can he find her before the furious Sultan catches up with him? Will a grumpy genie and a soldier of dubious morals help or hinder his progress? And what will happen when he becomes involved in the affairs of a certain Royal Wizard? The answers lie in a mysterious floating castle, where Abdullah will find courage, his heart’s desire and more princesses than you can shake a tiara at.

Castle in the Air is packed with all the particular delights and pleasures of Jones’s stories. The world of Howl and Abdullah is written in the language of fairy tales, yet is shot through with a marvellous pragmatism and compassion; as Marcus Sedgewick put it, she was ‘wise about the ways of people’. Harel’s illustrations capture the author’s delicious brand of chaotic magic with dreamlike hues of hazy purple, blue and orange, while each image bursts free of its framing as if it can’t sit still. As with Jones’s extraordinary magical worlds, there is a new wonder to be enjoyed around every corner, making this an irresistible edition for anyone who ever dreamed of their own castle in the air.

About Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones had an unsettled childhood against the background of the Second World War. Her family moved frequently, finally settling in rural Essex. She and her two sisters were deprived of books but, armed with a vivid imagination and an insatiable appetite for stories, Jones wrote them herself to read to her sisters. She never ceased writing, and from 1973 onwards published many titles, which have been released worldwide in 30 languages. Her magical adventures have enthralled children and adults ever since. Among Jones’s best-loved books are the Chrestomanci series and Howl’s Moving Castle (1986; Folio 2019) and its two sequels. In 2004 Howl’s Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli, Japan. It broke all box-office records in Japan at the time and was nominated for an Oscar. Jones’s numerous awards include the Guardian Award for Children’s Fiction, two Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards and a Life Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention 2007. Neil Gaiman called her ‘the best writer of Magic there is’. 

About Marie-Alice Harel

Marie-Alice Harel is a French illustrator based in Edinburgh. She started her career as a Geosciences PhD and researcher before taking up illustration full-time in 2016. Her illustrations, predominantly watercolours, can be found in books, picture books, galleries and magazines. Harel teaches life drawing and illustration at the Edinburgh Drawing School. Previously longlisted in the 2018 Book Illustration Competition, run by the House of Illustration and The Folio Society, Harel’s illustrations and binding design for Howl’s Moving Castle won the 2019 competition. Marie has since illustrated Castle in the Air for Folio (2021) and House of Many Ways (2021).


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