Listen to David Tennant reading a very magical Wizards of Once bedtime story

Xar is a Wizard without magic, which is not exactly ideal. In this extract from Cressida Cowell's The Wizards of Once Xar attempts to be the first person to succeed in fleeing the formidable Gormincrag prison

It was a quarter past midnight, two weeks before Midwinter’s End Eve, and a thirteen-year-old boy was dangling precariously from a disintegrating home-made rope hanging from outside the darkest tower of Gormincrag, the Re-habilitation Centre for Re-Education of Dark Magic and Wicked Wizards.

(That, by the way, is a long and fancy name for a jail, and not just any old jail, the most secure and impregnable jail in the wildwoods.)

The boy’s name was Xar, (which is pronounced ‘Zar’, I don’t know why, spelling is weird) and he really, really, really should not have been there.

He was supposed to be INSIDE the prison, not OUTSIDE it, dangling fifty feet above sea-level from outside one of the windows. That’s one of the most important rules about prisons, and Xar really should have known that.

But Xar was not the kind of boy who followed the rules.

To listen to David Tennant read the entire extract, pick up this week’s The Big Issue and scan with your phone.

Twice Magic by Cressida Cowell, available now in hardback (Hodder Children’s Books, £12.99)

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