[DWJ] News from the archive - The Merlin Conspiracy

Hannah Green hannah.green at sevenstories.org.uk
Tue Jun 14 12:01:43 EDT 2011

I've spent the last couple of days reading through three partial manuscript drafts of early versions of 'The Merlin Conspiracy'.  The three manuscripts are numbered sequentially from 1 to 3, suggesting that is the order in which they were written.  All three are significantly different from each other and from the published book, although similarities in characters and events can be seen in all three versions.

Manuscript '1' focuses on a heroine called Hedda Hyde, a crime writer and detective whose grandfather appears to be a Magid, and who is sent to search for Romanov in Loggia City.  Manuscript '2' is only four pages long and bears the title 'Magicmaster (?)'.  It features Romanov on his island, meeting Mini the elephant and seeing visions of a young girl seeking his help.  Manuscript '3' focuses on a teenage boy called Geraint Harvey, who is attending a convention with his grandfather, a crimewriter and a Magid.  As with Hedda Hyde in the first manuscript, he is sent to Loggia City in search of Romanov, while a parallel story begins to develop featuring Conrad, a trainee from the Royal College of Magicians sent to protect the Crown Prince of England as he plays a cricket match in France.

It's fascinating to see how certain elements of the story were clearly in place very early on - Loggia City, and Mini, for example - and yet so much is different in these early attempts.  There are passages from these manuscripts which make it almost word for word into the published book, and yet the surrounding context is completely different.

I really do love my job!

Hannah Green
Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books
Design Works, William Street, Felling, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE10 0JP
Tel. 01914952707
E-mail: hannah.green at sevenstories.org.uk<mailto:hannah.green at sevenstories.org.uk>

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