The woman within the mirror drew nearer. For a moment she appeared directly behind it and they could see the elaborate embroidery and beading of her gown; then she mounted up upon the frame as a step. The surface of the mirror became softer, like a dense cloud or mist.
Centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into England's past. Only one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose magical powers - of conjuring, misdirection and resurrection - send a thrill through the country.
But cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of the brilliant Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the antithesis of Norrell. And so begins a dangerous battle between two great men whose obsessions and dabblings with the dark arts will cause more trouble than they can possibly imagine.