This wonderful book is a scary magical adventure tale filled with excellent scholarship. It presents the Old Magic legends of Europe, the British Isles in particular, with accuracy and combines them with the every day life of the early 20th century to make a thrilling fantasy. Set in Cornwall following the Great War it follows the efforts, trials and successes of young Phelim who has been enlisted by a strange wildman, Mad Sweeney, a witch girl, and the 'Obby 'Oss to slay the gigantic, continent-sized Stoor Worm who is waking from her anicent slumber and will destroy the world. Why Phelim? Much to his own surprise Phelim is the living heir of Jack O'Green and a Chime Child to boot! This story is masterfully told with humor, suspense, dangerous thrills, and poignant insights into the sufferings and triumphs of human beings. It is colorful and evocative as well as beautifully thought-provoking. It is creative and filled with refreshingly "new" characters even though they are based on the actual legends of old. Geraldine McCaughrean is a renowned scholar on the subject of folklore and she has populated the pages of this book with myriad concepts and creatures from out of the dark and wild past. As she says by way of introduction, "All the creatures, dangers, legends, and magics described in this book were, until very recently, accepted as real and true by ordinary people living and working in a civilized and Christian Europe." Were a reader to investigate the various "creatures, dangers, legends, and magics" found within these pages more fully, perhaps on the Internet, a truly vast treasure trove of nearly forgotten lore would be opened before them. This book succeeds as a purely good yarn, as a coming-of-age story, as myth and legend, and as a very concise compendium of the beings and practices of the Old Magic. I highly, highly recommend it.