The Sky Beneath the Stone

Alex Mullarky

Available to buy

Quick Look

  • Thirteen-year-old Ivy North travels through a mysterious hole in the garden wall and discovers the extraordinary world of Underfell in this immersive fantasy adventure
  • Alex Mullarky is a captivating new talent in children's fiction who effortlessly blends the magical world with the natural one
  • This tale of family, friendship and overcoming fear is set in an enchanted version of the Lake District and is inspired by local folklore
  • Perfect for fans of The Girl of Ink and Stars and Glassheart

Adventurer Ivy North is afraid to go outside. But when a sorcerer turns her brother into a bird, Ivy must go to an enchanted realm to rescue him. Can Ivy face her fear and save her brother? The captivating debut from a new voice in children's fiction.

198 x 130 mm
Floris Books
Age Range:
From 10 to 13 years
288 pages
Publication date:
24 Feb 2022


Thirteen-year-old Ivy North is an adventurer. She can pitch a tent in four minutes flat, knows the local landscape like the back of her hand, and she's an expert map reader. There's just one problem.

She's afraid to go outside.

But when her little brother is transformed into a kestrel by a powerful sorcerer, Ivy is the only one who can rescue him. Following him through a mysterious hole in the garden wall, she emerges in Underfell -- an enchanted realm that seems like the Lake District she knows, but is dangerously different.

Battling her dread of being out in the open, Ivy must gather all her courage to navigate a path across this extraordinary world, where powerful fairies with birds' wings fly through purple skies and a ghostly spectre haunts her every step. With the help of an unexpected new friend, can Ivy break the spell -- before her brother becomes a bird forever?

An immersive and beautifully written fantasy adventure, The Sky Beneath the Stone is a soaring journey of family, friendship, overcoming fear -- and realising that we are never as lost as we think we are. Alex Mullarky's debut novel introduces a captivating new talent in children's fiction.


'I absolutely adored this! This Sky Beneath the Stone is beautiful, bright and brilliant -- a perfect blend of magic, adventure and heart, with a gorgeous Cumbrian setting, a wonderful weaving of nature, folklore and history, heart-lifting incidental inclusivity, and OS grid references at the start of each chapter so you can map the journey! It is one of those books I want to press into every young reader's hands, because I know so many of them will fall in love with it.'
-- Sophie Anderson, Carnegie-shortlisted author of The House with Chicken Legs

'A beautifully written adventure steeped in the myths and magic of the Lake District. I long to journey through the wall and explore the enchanted, dangerous wilds of Underfell!'
-- Ross MacKenzie, author of the Nowhere Emporium trilogy

'When her brother is enchanted, a young girl must overcome her fear of the outside in this assured fantasy debut. The richly drawn Lake District setting is enhanced by Ordnance Survey grid references at the beginning of each chapter.'
-- The Bookseller

'As a librarian we tell the children never to judge a book by it’s cover, well in this case I will change my mind. It has the most beautiful cover I have ever seen. And the back cover is just as amazing. It’s bright and colourful and draws you in… I loved this book, it takes you on an action-packed adventure, it makes you look at yourself and ask if you were Ivy would you be brave enough to go through the wall. Thoughout the book we watch Ivy question herself, gain confidence and start to believe in herself. She grows up before our very eyes, I know if I was lost I’d want Ivy looking for me.'
-- Armadillo

'Alex Mullarky weaves the reader through every twist and turn imaginable as the two friends and the ever-faithful Grendel take us on their quest in this fantastic magical adventure full of hope, courage and a little sprinkle of magic when all seems lost. A stunning cover by Diana Renjina sets the scene for this wonderful novel that has OS grid references at every chapter heading - a map lovers dream!'
-- Sarah Broadley, My Book Corner

'We were captivated by this book, which is filled with folklore, adventure and characters you can't help but root for, in one of the most original magical worlds we've ever travelled through. Plus, reading it has added a few things to our own bucket lists (see hawfinches, visit Long Meg, buy a tup).
If you love wildlife and the wilderness, and enjoy a quest with a generous sprinkling of magic, then we know you'll find this story a treat.'
-- Roaring Reads

'I adored this book. I grew up in Lancashire and spent a lot of time in Cumbria, so many of the places in the book were familiar to me.'
-- Charlotte Somewhere


Alex Mullarky is a writer, veterinary nurse and the author of The Sky Beneath the Stone. They transport injured seals as a Marine Mammal Medic and scan the sea for whales and dolphins with Shorewatch. Their work with wildlife inspires their stories about nature and magic.
Alex lives on the edge of Edinburgh with their family and loves to explore Scotland's wild coasts and islands in their free time. They can often be found wild swimming, playing roller derby, or running along the beach with their dog Finn.

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