cover image To Hold the Bridge

To Hold the Bridge

Garth Nix. Harper, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-229252-0

The title novella, set in Nix’s Old Kingdom, is the gem of this collection of 19 stories, all previously published in recent years. It concerns Morghan, a penniless young man determined to win a job as a cadet for the Bridge Company, a corporation dedicated to the construction of a gigantic bridge. To do so, Morghan must demonstrate his talents with both weapons and magic. Later, he will find himself in the midst of a deadly nighttime assault on the Bridge by the evil Dead. In Vampire Weather, a boy living in a quasi-Amish community must defend himself from the charms of a pretty girl in cahoots with the monsters of the title. A Handful of Ashes describes an attack against a Harry Potter–like boarding school, and The Heart of the City concerns yet another attack, this one on a magical, early-17th-century Paris. Invariably well-written and featuring engaging characters throughout, these stories are all a pleasure to read, though a few are somewhat rushed. Even so, Nix’s fans will treasure this collection. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (June)