Children of the Red King

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Children of the Red King
  • Midnight for Charlie Bone
  • The Time Twister
  • The Blue Boa
  • The Castle of Mirrors
  • Charlie Bone and the Hidden King
  • Charlie Bone and the Beast
  • Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock
  • Charlie Bone and the Red Knight
  • (first edition titles)
Author Jenny Nimmo
Cover artist David Wyatt (first)
Chris Sheban (US)[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Children's fantasy novels, school stories
Publisher Egmont Books
Published 2002–2009
Media type Print (trade paperback #1–2, hardcover #3–8; 3000 pp.)[1]
No. of books 8
Followed by Chronicles of the Red King[2]

Children of the Red King is a series of eight children's fantasy school and adventure novels by the British author Jenny Nimmo, first published by Egmont 2002 to 2009.[1] It is sometimes called the "Charlie Bone series" after its main character. A series of five books was announced in advance, completed in 2006, and sometimes the books were called the "Red King Quintet" until its continuation.

A prequel is in progress, Chronicles of the Red King, whose second volume was published April 2012. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database catalogues the whole as the "Charlie Bone Universe" series.[2]


Children of the Red King comprises eight novels. All were first published by Egmont Books with cover art by David Wyatt. The first two were released in trade paperback editions, the others in hardcover.[1]

  1. Midnight for Charlie Bone (January 2002)
  2. The Time Twister (October 2002)
  3. The Blue Boa (April 2004)
  4. The Castle of Mirrors (June 2005)
  5. Charlie Bone and the Hidden King (June 2006)
  6. Charlie Bone and the Wilderness Wolf (June 2007)
  7. Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock (September 2008)
  8. Charlie Bone and the Red Knight (October 2009)

In the United States, the books were released with the following titles (variants shown by bold type):

  1. Midnight for Charlie Bone (March 2003)
  2. Charlie Bone and the Time Twister (September 2003)
  3. Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy (July 2004)
  4. Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors (July 2005)
  5. Charlie Bone and the Hidden King (May 2006)
  6. Charlie Bone and the Beast (May 2007)
  7. Charlie Bone and the Shadow (September 2008)
  8. Charlie Bone and the Red Knight (May 2010)

Plot summaries[edit]

Midnight for Charlie Bone[edit]

Midnight for Charlie Bone is about 10-year-old Charlie Bone as he starts to notice strange things happening to him. Charlie gets asked by a book store owner, Julia Ingledew, to find her long lost niece that her brother-in-law had traded for a case of some sort. This case was given to Charlie along with this seemingly impossible task of finding the lost girl as well as finding out about his special power. He can read the thoughts of people in photos when the photo was taken. His cruel and uncaring grandmother Bone and her three even meaner sisters send him to Bloor's Academy which at first looks like a dreaded thing, but it could lead to the where abouts of the missing girl. With the help of Charlie's friend Benjamin and the loyal dog Runner Bean, as well as some of his family members, Charlie goes on his first adventure to Bloor's Academy with the hopes of not letting Miss Ingledew down.

The Time Twister[edit]

Charlie Bone and the Time Twister in the U.S.

Charlie's great-great-uncle, Henry Yewbeam, is tricked into looking into the Time Twister while staying with his jealous cousin, Ezekiel Bloor at Bloor Manor. The Time Twister, a crystal ball which transports those who look at it to another point of time where the weather is the same as that at the departure point, takes Henry from 1916 to the present day without ageing him. Charlie, at Bloors Academy, which used to be the manor, witnesses his appearance and takes him to Mr Pilgrim's room. However, the dog Blessed (known as Percy to Ezekiel) also sees this, and tells Billy Raven, an orphan who can communicate with animals and is acting as a spy for Ezekiel in return for the chance to be adopted. Ezekiel orders Billy to bring Henry to him. The next morning, Henry gets hungry, and leaves the safety of Mr Pilgrim's room. At midnight, Charlie goes down to the kitchens to find Cook, the friendly and helpful chef of the blue canteen, but comes across Henry directly. He says that he had met a "small lady in black", who had given him tea and sweets. It turns out the lady in black is the lady who owns the black glove that breaks Gabriel's fingers. The lady in black is also Manfred's mother(he slams the door on his mother's fingers while she was wearing the black glove, hence the breaking of Gabriel's fingers). Together they devise a plan: Henry will go in one of the canteen's freezers until the temperature is the same as winter in 1916, then look at the Time Twister and be transported back; Charlie will keep checking that he's still breathing. However, when they put their plan into action, the freezer door freezes shut. Hearing Charlie shout out, Cook comes running, and manages to heave the door open, revealing Henry who has turned blue and fainted of hypothermia. They take him back to Cooks top-secret quarters, where the Flames help revive him. Charlie then returns to his dormitory, with the help of a magical torch that Cook gives him which shows up details that aren't usually visible. Cook threatens Blessed, who lives in her quarters, not to tell Billy about her secret home or Henry. On his return to his dormitory, Charlie finds Billy, who has apparently just been bribed with cocoa. Charlie later finds out Henry is actually his still alive great-grandfather's 'older' brother, from his great-uncle Paton. Charlie and his friends make up a plan to help Manfred's mother, cursed because she can never leave the castle. Manfred's mother escapes through the Time Twister to another time while Charlie and Uncle Paton take Henry to live with his younger brother (and Paton's father), James, by the sea.

The Blue Boa[edit]

Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy in the U.S.

The group finds out about an invisible boy named Ollie Sparks, who has been put in his condition by a blue snake with feathers. They also find out that Mr. Boldova, an art teacher, is actually Ollie's brother who's trying to save him. But the group finds that a mysterious girl named Belle has come to the school. Belle is really Yolanda Yewbeam, who is a shape-shifter, and Charlie's great aunt's aunt.

The Castle of Mirrors[edit]

Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors in the U.S.

Billy Raven has been adopted by a mysterious and evil couple called the de Grays. The de Grays are endowed and have created a force field to trap him on the weekends to prevent him escaping. A distant relative of Billy's is trying to adopt him but ends up dying for Charlie's Uncle Paton. Manfred and Ezekiel are brewing trouble for all the endowed children. However, the white horse that they reconstruct turns out to be the Red King's wife, Queen Berenice when Ezekiel tried to make her Borlath.

Charlie Bone and the Hidden King[edit]

Charlie is going to Bloor's school on a mission, to find his dad. Unfortunately, 'the shadow' is let free, and it causes trouble everywhere. On top of that, someone is charming Charlie's mother to forget about her life and true family. The shadow had cast a spell on her. At last, he discovers that his father is Mr.Pilgrim!

Charlie Bone and the Wilderness Wolf[edit]

Charlie Bone and his Uncle Paton are visiting Charlie's old house while his parents are out whale watching (on their second honeymoon). While there he finds that his whole upstairs floor area was ripped up and they find that there were people inside the house earlier. When Charlie goes to Bloor's Academy he finds a new boy is there that he has to guide around. His name is Dagbert Endless because his last names are "as endless as the seas". Dagbert's endowment is to drown other people, controlling water. Dagbert has to be around Charlie all the time, so he starts to drive his friends away by insulting them. Later Charlie finds out that his great Aunt Venetia is getting married to a man who has two young children. Meanwhile, there is a weird howling that the whole town could hear. The town decides to call it the "wilderness wolf" and thinks that it's dangerous. When Charlie goes home for the weekend his Uncle gets bitten by a creature outside their house. He claims that the things were definitely not a wolf as everyone else thought, but more of a human. When the town holds a meeting, Charlie's friend Benjamin proposes the idea that Charlie's classmate Asa Pike might be the creature since earlier he betrayed Manfred Bloor and helped Charlie get his father back. Charlie's great Aunt Venetia dropped her new children at Ingledew's bookshop. Little Eric was endowed, but Miranda was not. When Charlie goes back to Bloor's he is told by Billy Raven that the Wilderness Wolf is shouting "Help". When there is gunshots one night Billy tells Charlie that he heard it howl "Father". Later that week Charlie wakes up to his friend Naren sending the message goodbye. When he tried to talk back Dagbert sees the message and Charlie confronts him. While talking Dagbert experiences wild symptoms, such as glowing and pain, and he keeps telling Charlie to get his Sea Gold Creatures from under his pillow. When he gets better Dagbert explains how it is his birthday and how he is now more powerful than his father. When Charlie goes home for the weekend Benjamin explains his plan about Asa Pike and Charlie thinks that could be right. He decides that he has to help Asa because Asa risked everything to help him and his father. So he, Olivia, Benjamin and Runner Bean go into the forest looking for him. Instead they find Asa's mother as they realize that Asa's father was shot and was now dead. On their way across a dangerous metal bridge the water rises so high that Runner Bean was washed away. Charlie's wand (which was turned into a moth) ends up helping them from drowning and Charlie sees the Red King across the bridge. Benjamin goes off to find Runner Bean and Charlie and Olivia bring Mrs. Pike to the Pet's Cafe. There she explains her story of how she thought that Asa would be good at Bloors Academy with Manfred as his friend, but they explained how they took him away because of how he betrayed them. Charlie leaves and remembers that he has to pick up Billy's Rat from a Kettle store. When he gets there the lady gives him a strange kettle that gets warm when he was in danger. Charlie and Billy make a plan to go save Asa from under ground. When they go they see Asa in his beast form, but Charlie finds that Billy lost his endowment. They decide that he needs to change back into his human form before they can talk to him. When Billy uses his special candles and Charlie uses his wand (moth) Asa turns into his human form as they leave the area. They see the Red King and they agree that Asa should go with him. Asa thanks Charlie for helping him and leaves.

Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock[edit]

Charlie Bone and the Shadow in the U.S.

The enchanter Count Harken is back to take his revenge on the Red King's heirs, starting with Charlie Bone's family. Charlie's ancestors have been kidnapped and imprisoned in the dark, forbidding land of Badlock, and it's up to him to save them. Traveling through a painting to the terrifying countryside, Charlie and his best friend's dog, Runner Bean, take up the quest. However, when Runner Bean gets stuck in the painting, Charlie needs the help of his friends. Can they get past an army of trolls, rescue Runner Bean and Charlie's ancestors, and get out before it's too late, or will Count Harken finally succeed?

Charlie Bone and the Red Knight[edit]

The evil Bloors are collecting even more powerful and magical allies. In the early proceedings, these allies are just sinister whispers and shadow but later on, these allies are daylight robbers and descendants of Count Harken. The cronies are taking over the city and driving everyone away. Charlie is determined to stop them. However, with the Pets Cafe closed, Billy trapped in Badlock, and Olivia "taken over," it looks like Charlie's only hope is the mysterious Red Knight. In the meantime, Charlie and his friends are searching for a will that reveals everything including who really owns Bloor's Academy. Paton believes the Raven family rightfully owns it which means Billy could inherit the academy if the will can be found. However, Charlie is in for a surprise when the will is revealed. The Red Knight is revealed to be none other than Lyell Bone himself, who wanted to watch his son near to him, but in a disguise. The will is hidden in the church where Lyell played, and the academy is owned by the Bones. Manfred and Ezekiel die in a freak accident, and Dr. Bloor moves away, (presumably to Paris, where his wife lives), along with all the evil people in the city. Bloor's becomes Bone Academy, and is proclaimed the happiest school in the city. Billy is adopted by Lyell and Amy, Paton and Julia marry, and they move together to the bookstore. The book (and series) ends when Billy whispers to Charlie at the Pet's Cafe, "Tancred and Emma are holding hands."


Children of the Red King[edit]

Charlie Bone, the protagonist, can travel into photographs and pictures. Through his father, he is descended from the Red King and through his mother, from Mathonwy, a Welsh magician and friend of the Red King. He can use his powers to talk to the people inside them, on some occasions he can take items from the paintings. This was first discovered in the second book of the series. Main character of the series.

Idith and Inez Branko are telekinetic twins, distantly related to Zelda Dobinsky, who has left Bloor's Academy.

Manfred Bloor is known to be a hypnotist and is one of the main antagonists. He hypnotized Lyell Bone, causing Lyell to lose his memory. Toward the end of the series, Manfred's endowment changes and develops into that of his ancestor Borlath's, which is the generation and control of fire.

Zelda Dobinski descended from a long line of Polish magicians. Her endowment is telekinetic. She can move objects with her mind and is distantly related to Inez and Idith Branko. She leaves Bloor's Academy in the third book and goes to study Math in a university.

Dagbert Endless can control water and is a follower of the Bloors until the Eighth book. His father, Lord Grimwald, drowned Cook's parents and Cook's fiancé, he says that he accidentally drowned Tancred.

Dorcas Loom can bewitch clothing and has two brothers. She is often referred to as 'Dorc', causing some people to call her a dork.

Una Onimous, the niece of Orvil Onimous and Onoria Onimous, has the endowment of invisibility.

Asa Pike, a werewolf, can change his shape at dusk. He was Manfred's sidekick until book 5 when he helped Charlie and his friends by releasing the red king. For this he was punished and later was resqued by Charlie Bone

Naren Bloor, Bartholemew Bloor's daughter, can send Shadow words over great distances. She had disappeared and Charlie Bone finds out she was on the sea when Lord Grimwald tried to drown his parents in the sea.

Billy Raven, an albino, has the ability to speak to animals. He is an orphan, was briefly adopted in Book 4 but the parents were horrible. He is adopted by the Bones at the end of the final book.

Lysander Sage descended from an African wise man and can call up his spirit ancestors. Lysander is Tancred's best friend. Lysander has two sisters, Hortense and Alexandra, who are both unendowed. He inherited his ability from his mother, Jessamine Sage. Lysander's father is a powerful judge in the city. Lysander also is good friends with Charlie Bone.

Eric Shellhorn, a stone animator, can bring any stone statue to life. He lives with his step-mum (or mom) Venetia Yewbeam, because his sister (Miranda) and father (Arthur) escaped from the city. Venetia poisoned a shawl which stopped Eric's mother's heart, then made Arthur marry her.

Gabriel Silk can feel scenes and emotions through the clothing of others. He comes from a long line of psychics.

Joshua Tilpin has magnetism and descended from Lilith, the Red King's oldest daughter, and Harken, the evil enchanter who married her.

Emma Tolly can turn into birds and fly, and is an excellent artist specializing in drawing birds. She was hypnotized by Manfred Bloor for eight years and renamed Emilia Moon. Charlie and his friends rescue her and she lives with her aunt, Julia Ingledew because her parents died and her Dad made the mistake of giving her to the Bloors. She saved Tancred from drowning and started dating Tancred at the end of the last book.

Tancred Torsson is a storm-bringer. His Scandinavian ancestor was named after the thunder god, Thor. Tancred can bring wind, thunder, snow, rain, and lightning. Also very dear friend of Lysander Sage. Tancred was also almost drowned by Dagbert Endless in the seventh book.

Olivia Vertigo is an illusionist, but she does not discover her endowment until the fourth book. She is constantly changing her appearance, especially her hair color.

Other endowed characters[edit]

Alice Angel is a witch and godmother to Olivia Vertigo. She left because she didn't need to be there any more but came back when Olivia was "tricked". Her opposite is Titania Tilpin, and took care of Mr. Crowquill (Billy Raven's guardian) until he died saving Charlie's uncle Paton.

Cook (Treasure) is the 'lodestone' at Bloor's. She keeps the balance. She is currently hiding from Lord Grimwald who she refused to marry. She has a sister, Pearl, who is looking after one of Charlie's relatives who is also in hiding from the same man (he killed her parents and destroyed her home after they refused). She is endowed with tranquility. She lives in a series of underground rooms in her kitchen.

Dr. Saltweather doesn't really have an endowment, but he's immune to water. He becomes headmaster to Bone Academy (rename after the Bloors left).

Titania Tilpin, mother of Joshua Tilpin and also known as Miss Chrystal, was discovered to be a witch. She eventually leaves the Academy but stays working with the Bloors. Her opposite is Alice Angel.

Mr. Torsson is a very powerful weather-monger like his son, Tancred

Senor Alvaro has the power to make people believe things with images he puts in their minds.

Eustacia Yewbeam is a clairvoyant and child minder. She is the second of Charlie's great-aunts. She lives in the second thirteen in Darkly Wynd. She grows every single plant and herb in her garden, and in the third book Charlie and his friends had to steal a special herb to heal Paton. Once, she had posed as a sitter in Benjamin Brown's house while his parents were away, and let Asa Pike in the house to attack Runner Bean.

Paton Yewbeam is Charlie's great-uncle and is one of the few good Yewbeam characters. His endowment is power-boosting, meaning he can explode lights. Because of his endowment, Paton does not go out in daylight, in fear of exploding lights of intersections or in shops. Instead, Paton prefers to take walks alone at night. Uncle Paton lives in the house with Charlie's mother, Maisie (Charlie's maternal grandmother), Grandma Bone, and himself. He is Grandma Bone's brother and is 20 years younger than she is. Paton has a developing relationship with Julia Ingledew. It is implied that Paton had kept his head down before Charlie was born, but since Charlie's efforts to fight against the Bloors, Paton has aided Charlie in his efforts. Paton is also a historian and a lover. He is constantly working on a book about the children of the Red King. He was also run over by his sister Venetia in the second book. He gets married to Julia Ingledew in the last book.

Venetia Yewbeam is the youngest and most cunning of the four sisters. She has the same endowment as Dorcas and is the step-mother to Eric Shellhorn. She is a designer of magic clothes, and used to have a man stuck in the attic of her house (from book 1 - the end of book 3). She used to be a smart woman, known to be frequently wearing red boots, but the arson of her home changed her completely. Now, she only thinks of revenge against Charlie and Uncle Paton. Venetia has been teaching and aiding Dorcas Loom as they share the talent of bewitching clothes.

Samuel Sparks was disguised as an art teacher at Bloors Academy hoping to find his brother Ollie. Samuel can heat up rocks and make them sparkle. His brother Ollie was Invisible and after he was turned visible by Charlie Bone, he and Ollie Left Bloors academy to go to the sparkling castle.

Unendowed characters[edit]

Amy Bone is Charlie's mother. She is married to Lyell Bone (who is found in the fifth book) and her mother, Maisie, lives with them. She is also descended from the Welsh magician, Mathonwy. She works at a greengrocer and is not endowed.

Lyell Bone is the son of Grizelda Yewbeam and Montague Bone, who disappeared after "breaking the rules" according to Grizelda. Everyone thought that he was in a car accident, and that he drove into a quarry. Lyell was hypnotized by Manfred Bloor, and he was looked down on for marrying Amy Bone because she wasn't endowed. Lyell is not endowed; however he is a very talented musician, especially in piano and the organ. Lyell found out he was the heir to Bloor's Academy when they found the will and saw the connections in book 8.[3] Also, he and Charlie are the only two children of the Red King that are descendants of Borlath, Amadis, and Amoret.

Benjamin Brown is one of Charlie's best friends and lives across the street from him at number 12 Filbert Street. He has no endowment. His dog is called Runner Bean.[4]

Fidelio Gunn is not endowed, but is an excellent musician. He comes from a family of musicians and owns a deaf cat. He is one of Charlie's loyal and best friends.

Julia Ingledew is the owner of Ingledew's Bookstore and is Emma Tolly's aunt. She has a relationship with Paton Yewbeam and marries him at the end of the book.

Maisie Jones is Amy Bone's mother and descendant of Mathonwy, the Welsh magician and friend to the Red King.

Onoria Onimous, Orvil Onimous' wife and owner of the Pets Cafe, has a great love for animals.

Orvil Onimous is the husband of Onoria Onimous and co-owner of the Pets Cafe. Also is an expert on the Red King and his history. He and his wife help Charlie and his friends in every way they can. Orvil was also almost killed by his doorman Norton Cross while he was cycling with his wife.

Grizelda Yewbeam is Lyell Bone's mother and therefore Charlie Bone's grandmother. She is sister to Eustacia, Venetia, Lucretia and Paton Yewbeam. She is daughter to James Yewbeam and Solange Sourzac Yewbeam. She has no endowment. Although related to Charlie, she and her sisters, in league with the Bloors, are constantly trying to thwart him.

Lucretia Yewbeam is the eldest of Charlie's great-aunts and the younger sister of Grandma Bone. She is unendowed, but is just as nasty as her sisters. When her mother died under mysterious circumstances in Yewbeam castle, Lucretia and her sisters stayed and lived with Yolanda. She is the matron of Bloor's Academy

Charlie Bone Universe[edit]

Nimmo and Egmont have completed three volumes of a prequel, Chronicles of the Red King, released in paperback April 2011, April 2012 and August 2013. The Red King rather than Charlie Bone provides the connection but the Internet Speculative Fiction Database catalogs the whole as the "Charlie Bone Universe" series.[2]

Chronicles of the Red King
  1. The Secret Kingdom (April 2011, ISBN 978-1-4052-5732-9)
  2. The Stones of Ravenglass (April 2012, ISBN 978-1-4052-5733-6)
  3. Leopards' Gold (August 2013, ISBN 978-1-4052-5734-3)


  1. ^ a b c d Children of the Red King series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  2. ^ a b c Charlie Bone Universe series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2012-04-30. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  3. ^ Nimmo, Jenny (2009). Charlie Bone and the Red Knight. 
  4. ^ Nimmo, Jenny (2002). Midnight for Charlie Bone.