The Frost on the Mirror

$24.95 inc. GST

by: S.J. McKenzie

274 pages
129mm x 198mm
ISBN: 9780648232490
Publish date: 4.7.2017

SKU: 9780648232490 Category:


Bernard Crowley and his sister Inch are ordinary, elderly magicians, barely making ends meet, especially since the Northern Church began to declare so many different types of magic to be heretical. Their friend Closer is even worse off. The price of magic materials keeps going up, and the poor man can hardly keep his magical wheelchair in operation.

Their Destinies are changed one Midwinter when they experiment with various charms, a mirror, and a book called Giddens of Happenstance. A Kildareen wizard called Lucy Wilde begins to pursue the artifact they have inadvertently created, and even more mysterious forces work to change the shape of their whole lives.

Will they be able to prevent their discovery from falling into the wrong hands?

About the author

S. J. McKenzie is an Adelaide-based fantasy writer. He holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Adelaide with a thesis on medieval travel writing and cartography. He is the author of the on-line collection of Celtic stories in the Blue Men, Green Women series. He has also written widely on ideas of sustainability in different cultures. Two stints living in the Pacific islands (Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea) gave him a chance to engage other cultures first hand. Since returning to Australia he has been working on the Mirror of Seasons quartet, of which The Frost on the Mirror is the second instalment.

The first book, The Ballyman Waits, was published by Stone Table Books in 2017. You can find out more about S.J. McKenzie at


  1. Dr. Yarrow, Lead Inquisitor, League of Miles

    This book is blasphemy, pure and simple. The Mayhem it describes was well documented, but it had nothing to do with Elves, or any magical mirror, as the author claims. Anyone in possession of a copy within Mine Right has until the end of the month to bring it to the Commoners’ Lawn and burn it on the pyre. –

  2. Clara Hunt, Wood Elf

    It did happen much as Mr McKenzie describes, except he left out most of the parts where we skulked about in disguise, trying to make sure those old magicians never meddled with magic at Midwinter. And I suppose there is no harm in him saying what really happened, now that it’s all over.

  3. Lucy Wilde, Kildareen wizard

    S.J. McKenzie is at it again, with another scurrilous and completely twisted account of real events. It is anti-Kildareen propaganda and we will not stand for it. We did not steal any magic from the North in the previous century. We simply adapted what we found to suit our own purposes, in the name of Kildare.

  4. Tina Morganella, University of South Australia

    The three main characters in The Frost on the Mirror – Closer, Inch and Bernard – are just the sort of cheeky, kind-hearted older folks we’d probably all like to be. There are also elves, and of course the Dreamer of Bally. But for me, the book was so enjoyable because of these three. I love their child-like curiosity and willingness to delve into the unknown. They tinker and mess about so much so that they create a powerful time travelling device without even knowing it. They go from simply using magic to make their lives more pleasant and easy, to creating a powerful tool that changes the world – but it doesn’t phase them much and they take on their mammoth responsibilities with aplomb, goodwill, and ultimately, terrible sacrifice. The three of them are charming and cranky, brave and terrified, and clever and naïve, all at once and each to varying degrees, and they are who drive the story and kept me intrigued.

    The other intriguing aspect of the book is the focus on destiny or fate. The magic is certainly clever and amusing, and the characters are richly drawn and very likeable. But it’s the idea of destiny that made me pause for thought, and wonder ‘What if…?’. We might reflect perhaps on a moment of our lives we wish we could go back to, or erase, or change. Or some sort of future we wish we could summon, or at least have insight into, from the here and now. And what would we do with such a device as a time travelling mirror. I really enjoyed exploring this idea in The Frost on the Mirror – totally risk free! I really did find it thoughtful and provocative. This quote from the venerable Giddens summed it up neatly for me:

    Spoke Giddens: If there is no truth to Destiny, then there is no truth to anything. We will move beyond the realm of the saints, and see the world as the gods must see it. To them, it is nothing more than a plaything, a mirror of seasons, a ball of chance and happenstance, for to every man it is a different day. Do you understand?

    Spoke Chevaluna: I understand nothing, Master.

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