This kind of fun will never fail to delight Philip Pullman Find me a witch! cried Arriman the Awful, feared Wizard of the North. Arriman has decided to marry. His wife must be a witch of the darkest powers - but which witch will she be?
To find the most fiendish, he holds a spell-casting competition. Glamorous Madame Olympia performs the terrifying Symphony of Death and conjures up a thousand plague-bearing rats. The magic of gentle Belladonna, the white witch, goes hopelessly wrong.
She produces perfumed flowers instead of snakes. And bats roost in her golden hair instead of becoming blood-sucking vampires. Poor Belladonna longs to be an evil enchantress - but how?
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal Deciding that he must sire a child to carry on his tradition of Loathing Light and Blighting the Beautiful, the Great Wizard Arriman announces a competition among the witches of Todcaster, one of whom will marry him.