Susanna Clarke’s 2004 Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a stand-alone historical fantasy novel1.
In 1806, John Segundus raises a question that many in York’s society of magicians would prefer not to have been asked. Once the North was dominated by the Raven King, whose sorcery is the stuff of legend. Why, then, is there no more magic done in England?
York’s magicians being theoretical2 rather than practical, some among them feel the question makes as much sense as expecting astronomers to rearrange the stars. In fact, Segundus’ question is incorrect but not for that reason. In fact, there remains at least one practical magician in England: wealthy, antisocial, arrogant Gilbert Norrell.