Up Next Reminder | The Whitby Witches

Hey everyone,

This is a courtesy reminder that you will want to track down a copy of The Whitby Witches which we’ll be reading in April.

But before we put in our version recommendations, I just wanted to give you a quick warning about what is coming up in May. When Aufwader and I sat down to work out in what order to tackle the Jarvis canon, we decided to go in order of publication, to get a feel for how his writing style grew over time.

It also allows us the opportunity to replicate the experience (at least a little bit) of what it was like for Jarvis readers to discover the quirky sequence of publication that some of these books took. For instance, after the Deptford Mice, the next book to appear was The Whitby Witches, which appeared as a single edition with no indication on the cover or the inside title page that it was anything other than a stand-alone.

But then, not too long after that, his next book was an exciting return to the world of the Deptford Mice with The Alchymist’s Cat, which proudly declared that it was Book 1 of The Deptford Histories. However, just when you thought that the return to Deptford was going to be a thing to look forward to, the next book after that was A Warlock in Whitby, which declared itself to be Book 2 of The Whitby Witches.

Yes, that’s right. Robin Jarvis – or his publishers? – had decided to bring out two trilogies at once, alternating books. As someone who bought the original books, I can only say IT WAS AWESOME. To this day, I love mixing up series and alternating one book in a series with another.

Apologies for those of you that can’t stand that sort of thing and will be driven crazy by it. Where that all leads is just to give you a heads-up that if you happen to see some mega-deal on the Deptford Histories and you don’t own then, this might be a good idea to snaffle them as well.

With regard to versions, if you’re after the original illustrations, here are the two versions of choice:

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The original Hodder Wayland edition from 1995.
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The Hodder Silver edition from 2001.

But if you want to hold off a bit longer – or you’re like us and enjoy collecting – you can currently pre-order a brand spanking new version with cover art that ties in to the current Witching Legacy series. (However, for various reasons, this doesn’t feature the original interior illustrations.) This new version is classed as an Egmont Modern Classic and will also feature … wait for it … NEW BONUS CONTENT.

We’re definitely adding this one to our collection …

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Cover by Rohan Eason, 2017.
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11 thoughts on “Up Next Reminder | The Whitby Witches

  1. Chronological order of publication. This is going to be critical when, after getting through a number of other Jarvis series, we arrive at the Hagwood trilogy. I can’t quote the source now, when I want it; but there was a statement or an interview I happened across, confessing that the three books about Hagwood were never meant to be written so far apart; that for personal/family reasons, the best-laid plans were disrupted and delayed. And so the readers were left with Hagwood books One and Two, and waited many years for “War in Hagwood.”

    Other Robin Jarvis books were published in the interim. So the Hagwood saga will be all braided into those others during this read-through. In fact “War in Hagwood” is a very recent publication in the Jarvis oeuvre — it would not surprise me to know that there are Jarvis followers out there who have yet to read Book Three because it is so new.

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    • You’re right – Dark Waters and War in Hagwood took …fourteen years, I think it was, to be published. Last year there was a small furore from those who had waited since the release of Thorn Ogres to hear how the trilogy ended, and I know many of us were very pleased when War in Hagwood was finally announced. Is the Hagwood trilogy a favourite of yours? I’m certainly looking forward to rereading it.

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      • Is it true that Books Two and Three of the Hagwood trilogy were in danger of never seeing the light of day before the miracle happened and they were? I remember hearing that somewhere and if it was no mere rumor, we owe the publishing house which came to the rescue a debt we can never hope to repay.

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      • Well, it was a different publishing house that brought out 2 and 3 (and a republished Book 1 – the original had gone out of print). So, yes, it’s a safe conjecture to assume that it might have been another Deathscent …

        I have wondered whether the break in time made Robin decide to go for a darker tone in the Hagwood stories but I’ll speculate on that one next year …

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      • I hope, hope, hope that Deathscent II will come streaking out of the Heavens someday. We must, must, must find out where the whole saga is supposed to go from the hellish conclusion of Book One. It’ll happen, Matt. I have faith that the day will come when we return to the Uplifted Islands.

        I’ve wondered what the covers of Books Two and Three of Hagwood would have looked like. You know, if they followed shortly after Book One and were drawn by hand?

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    • I knew that the Hagwood trilogy took many years to be released in its entirety but was unaware that the release dates of “Whitby Witches” and “The Alchymist’s Cat” were interwoven as described. It should be interesting when we replicate that reading experience for ourselves, huh?

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  2. Thanks, Aufwader, since you asked:
    The Hagwood saga reminded me of The Lord of The Rings, even though it is a miniature, a series on a scale far less epic than Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Tolkien and his books are dear to me, and it pleased me to see the little touches that recalled the older author in Robin Jarvis’ plotting and characterization.
    But I have to come clean about one thing: I read Thorn Ogres of Hagwood and War in Hagwood without reading the installment in between, Dark Waters of Hagwood. And I honestly didn’t miss it much, because so much of Book Two was recapped and summarized in Book Three.

    Oh, and Robin Jarvis has stated in an interview, for the record, that he wants to reprise Deathscent as well, because there are historical periods that he is dying to write historical fiction about.

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    • I’ve always thought of Hagwood as a mixture of ‘The Hobbit’ and various Brian-Froud-related films from the 80s sieved through the Robin Jarvis filter, so I see where you’re coming from. (Regarding Deathscent, I think I’ve seen that interview. How I long to read about the uplifted court of Catherine de’ Medici!)

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      • My favorite thing about the Hagwood books is the insane number of different magical folk we get to meet over the course of its three installments. There are so many of them, some we’re familiar with and others whom Sir Robin dreamed up himself, making for an enchanted realm that’s a mix of the familiar and the completely unexpected. It adds to the dreamlike quality of the story, you know?

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  3. Cant wait to get into this haha…though it was the sequel book where it really got good isnt it, whereas the first book, to be blunt, is the training wheels version (as the Americans found out)

    Also is it just on my end or is the first image not loading/broken?

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