They were a sorry, motley crew: Corby, the great black crow who could not fly; Pisky, a golden carp confined to a bowl; Puddy, a warty toad who suffered headaches; Moglet, a scrap of a kitten with a lame paw; and Thing – poor, ugly and deformed, who hid behind a mask. When their slavery to an evil witch ended in a very unexpected and spectacular fashion, they were free to seek the Black Mountain and the Lord of the Clouds, who they all believed would release them from the curse of pain. But seven were needed, a magic number – hence a knight in rusty armour and a broken-down horse with cloven hooves joined the band. Here was the most unlikely group of unheroic heroes – but each needed the others to make the journey through substance and shadow, webs of despair and snares of enchantment. They would meet those who would help them: an absent-minded monk, a sorcerer with a predilection for extraordinary hats, a mushroom gatherer and others; and they would stop along the way to help those in need. The road would be long and hard, but it would also become the road home. Cover art by Michael Posen.