They’ve been visiting the human world for centuries, the strange, frail, totally colorless denizens of the Twilight Dimension. Lured by the color, the brightness, the sheer vitality of mankind’s world, they mean no harm--but few of them ever return home.
Foss Agate, well-to-do physician and dabbler in the 'supernatural sciences', has a burning ambition: to break the secret of the gateway between the worlds by capturing a living twilight creature. But his captive is no ordinary twilight dweller, Charn in an emissary of his queen, sent on a mission to discover the fate of her son and heir, who vanished years ago within the human world.
Torn by loyalty to Foss and compassion for his victim is his daughter, Calliope--a young girl who cannot help but fall prey to Charn’s spell and who holds the key to a long-hidden secret. But before she can unlock the door to the past she must overcome the fear that threatens to destroy her. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the Sacrament of Night...
May 29, 1952 -- October 21, 2009
Louise Cooper was born in Hertfordshire in 1952. She began writing stories when she was at school to entertain her friends. She hated school so much, in fact—spending most lessons clandestinely writing stories—that she persuaded her parents to let her abandon her education at the age of fifteen and has never regretted it.
She continued to write and her first full-length novel was published when she was only twenty years old. She moved to London in 1975 and worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer in 1977. Since then she has become a prolific writer of fantasy, renowned for her bestselling Time Master trilogy. She has published more than eighty fantasy and supernatural novels, both for adults and children. She also wrote occasional short stories for anthologies, and has co-written a comedy play that was produced for her local school.
Louise Cooper lived in Cornwall with her husband, Cas Sandall, and their black cat, Simba. She gained a great deal of writing inspiration from the coast and scenery, and her other interests included music, folklore, cooking, gardening and "messing about on the beach." Just to make sure she keeps busy, she was also treasurer of her local Lifeboat station.
Louise passed away suddenly in October 2009. She was a wonderful and talented lady and will be greatly missed.
Calling to the stars. Not with words, for she could no longer find the words, not now, not after so many years. But something within her was calling, crying still.
Each evening as the daylight fled she would move to her window and gaze out and up, waiting for darkness to come, watching for the first faint pinpoints to show against the sky's velvet. When that first tiny light appeared, she wept. It was an old, familiar ritual with her now, and in a strange way it brought a little comfort, though she no longer understood why. As more stars began to follow the first harbinger, her tears faded and her vision cleared once more, and she simply gazed, silent, rapt, alone with the thoughts that drifted like ghosts through her damaged mind. There was never enough time for watching. Never enough time, before the other lights, the cruel lights, took the stars away. The lamplighters, moving through the town streets to kindle their small, harsh fires. The hospice angels, crisp and rustling in white linen, bringing lanterns that she did not want but had no words to refuse. And the moon. She hated the moon's light above all others; when it shone, there was room for nothing else in the sky, and each evening as she saw its bland face rising she would clench her fists and beat them against her own upper arms, railing in silent fury. The lamps, the lanterns, the moon. All to drive the night back, keep it at bay, hold it fast lest they should come: the twilight ones, strange and cold and fragile as the stars, who moved in darkness and could not bear the blaze of day.
So afraid. Everyone was so afraid, and they would not see, and would not learn, and would not give her the darkness that allowed the door to open. Yet she had closed the door with her own hand. That much she knew, with a terrible certainty that lodged like iron in her and, unlike the stars, did not diminish. She had closed it, turned her face away and tried to return to the light. But light had had nothing to give her, so she had come to this place and would remain here, where people cared for her and were kind to her and took such pains to ensure that she would never, ever be alone in the dark again. She did not speak to them. There was nothing she could say that they would understand, and she had passed so much time in silence now that they thought she had no voice. But she had a voice. She knew it in... ah no, not in her heart, for that was withered, long withered, like the hearts of the willow trees in the garden. She could see the willows from her window, away beyond the lawns which she would not walk on, beyond the beds of flowers which she would not look at; abandoned and forgotten in their own small, overgrown wilderness. By day the willows were like flowing green water under the sun, but by night, if the wind blew, their leaves trembled and shimmered with faint silver. Like the stars. And when the lamps and the lanterns and the moon had dimmed the stars and snuffed them out, then sometimes she would remember that she had a voice, and would whisper the words of the old song that her mother had sung to her, a world and a life ago.
Sad is the willow tree; the willow stands apart: for when life is done, the willow wan must perish from the heart... The willows alone knew her secrets, so she sang the song for them, to let them know that she had not forgotten the debt she owed. It was the only tribute she could give now. But if they, and what they guarded, heard her, they sent her no sign.
So at last she would yield to the light, to the lamps and the lanterns and the moon, and would retreat from her window and return to the wooden table and the wooden stool and the work which was never finished. The angels let her have as much clay as she wanted, and water to soften it, and little wooden spatulas to shape and carve it, and they spoke softly and encouragingly to her, urging her to let them see, let them admire. She acquiesced, because the sculptures she made were never right. They were skilled, they were beautiful, but they were never right. When the angels had admired and exclaimed and gone away hoping to leave her contented, she would take the sculpture they had praised and twist it, mutilate it, working it with the heel of her hand until it was nothing again. Once, just once, it had been right. But never since. Never.
For twilight was fragile and darkness elusive, and without the dark, the memories could not truly return. Drive the night back, keep it at bay, hold it fast lest they should come... All she could do was call.
But still there was no answer.