Happy Sabriel Day!

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Garth Nix’s Sabriel, the first in his best-selling and much loved Old Kingdom series!

Sabriel through the ages
Sabriel through the ages


There’s been lots of wonderful chat online from readers and fellow writers, all sharing their love of the book and the series. Here’s a few of our faves so far:

Sabriel covers

Last year we published Sabriel‘s long awaited prequel, Clariel, and produced a whole new cover design for the series (which you can read about here), and here’s Garth with some of the older covers over the years:


Do you remember the first time? Win Old Kingdom goodies!

To Hold the Bridge
To celebrate #SabrielDay we’re giving away a signed Sabriel poster, along with a signed set of the Old Kingdom books AND forthcoming collection of short stories To Hold The Bridge, which includes a brand new Old Kingdom novella (from which the collection takes its title).

For your chance to win, all you need to do is tell us about your first encounter with Sabriel and share it with us, either in the comments below or on social media (just tag us & #SabrielDay so we don’t miss it). If you’ve not read Sabriel, read the extract below and share with us why you want to read more.

The winner was Omar Eldarwich!

Here’s some of our staff’s recollections:

Jen recreating the Sabriel cover
Jen recreating the Sabriel cover

I don’t remember the first time I read Sabriel. Not because it didn’t blow my cranky teenage mind, but because I’ve read it so many times since then. I love the world of Lirael, which is all rushing rivers, icy caves, premonitions and flying (and dogs!), like the cold sunny days at the beginning of winter. But Sabriel is the dark and the underground, and that serious, strong, clever girl looking for her father in a strange country full of strange beasts.

The Abhorsen books tell you if you’re prepared, and determined, and if you listen to your dad, you’ll discover yourself, and that’s more important than any romance. Also, always carry a knife, and pay attention to the river.



The first time I came across Sabriel was in my school library. I can’t remember if it was pointed out by my librarian or whether I found it by myself amongst the stacks. Either way, I was drawn in by the stark, simple cover. I was hooked by the first chapter, and quickly devoured the rest of the book. I had read lots of fantasy previously, but rarely had I encountered a world so richly detailed or one that felt as real as the Old Kingdom did. It was like discovering another classic. I wanted to be there, to fight alongside Sabriel as she battled the creatures of the dead.

I quickly bought the next two books and took them with me on a trip to New Zealand (where they unfortunately got very water damaged). I raced through those two as well, choosing to finish the last one rather than join in with the New Year’s celebrations – I just couldn’t tear myself away.

The Old Kingdom Trilogy was one of my favourite series growing up, and to me they still remain one of the best fantasy series out there.


Read the opening to Sabriel

If you’ve never read it before, or if you want to remember the joy, you can read the opening to Garth Nix’s Sabriel below:

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