Magic, mystery, and flying horses: Read an extract from The Golden Tower by Belinda Murrell

Magic, mystery, and flying horses: Read an extract from The Golden Tower by Belinda Murrell

It seemed like just another ordinary Tuesday when Sophie met Baccio. Grey. Damp. Dreary. She would never have guessed that her life was about to change forever.

Sophie was staying for the holidays in England with her grandmother. Nanna lived in a whitewashed farm cottage at Brocklea, down a narrow country lane on the Kentish Downs. The quaint, thatched cottage, blooming with rambling roses, looked like something out of a fairytale. It was surrounded by velvety, soft lawns, and garden beds brimming with hollyhocks, columbines and peonies. Beyond the blackberry hedge were fields of grazing cows.

Sophie was sitting at the timber kitchen table in front of the Aga stove with Nanna, drinking tea and eating warm spinach-and-cheese quiche. A vase of cream-coloured roses filled the kitchen with their sweet scent. Juno, Nanna’s blue-eyed Himalayan cat, prowled around Sophie’s legs, begging for a pat. Sophie picked her up onto her lap.

‘Hello, puss,’ she said. ‘Would you like some cheese?’

Juno miaowed in answer, eagerly nibbling the offered sliver of cheese.

‘Juno loves having you here,’ Nanna said. ‘And so do I.’

Sophie stroked Juno’s silky white fur. ‘Mum called this morning. She said Oxford is beautiful. Archie says the college reminds him of Hogwarts – all sandstone turrets and gargoyles. He half expects to see wizards zooming around on broomsticks.’

‘How’s Archie enjoying his camp?’ asked Nanna, putting her teacup down.

Sophie couldn’t help pulling a face while thinking of her brother. Archie was three years younger, but off on a grand adventure without her. ‘He loves it. They’ve been studying philosophy and mock law trials and robotics, with lots of debating about social issues. I guess they’ll have solved all the problems of the world by now.’

‘Mmm. It’s a huge opportunity for your brother, doing summer camp at Oxford University,’ said Nanna. ‘It was an incredible honour to be chosen.’

Archie wasn’t like most ten-year-old boys. He spent his time building mechanical devices, code-breaking and asking incessant questions. While he sometimes drove Sophie crazy with his messy inventions and unusual obsessions, she was also very protective of him.

‘He’s the youngest one there,’ said Sophie proudly. ‘The other kids are also super-smart, from all around the world.’

Nanna twisted the gold medallion hanging on a chain around her neck. ‘Well, I’m so happy because it means I get to spend three weeks with my precious granddaughter.

Continue reading here…

Related Articles

Belinda Murrell's Favourite Islands in Children’s Literature

News | Author Related

8 November 2019

Belinda Murrell's Favourite Islands in Children’s Literature

School Camp Fun: Review Pippa's Island Camp Castaway by Belinda Murrell

Kids & Ya

9 April 2018

School Camp Fun: Review Pippa's Island Camp Castaway by Belinda Murrell

Publisher details

The Golden Tower
Belinda Murrell
Puffin Books
Children’s Fiction
02 March, 2021


In her wildest dreams, Sophie never thought she might be kidnapped by a cat and taken to a world of flying horses and wonder – but also magic, mystery and danger! Transported to the land of Tuscia, Sophie accidentally saves the daughter of a wealthy family and is swept along on their journey to the Golden Tower. Now she is the only one standing between sisters Isabella and Bia and the terrible fate their stepmother has planned. Sophie doesn’t think she is brave enough, but with the help of a talking cat, a stableboy and some very tiny mischief-makers, she might be able to save the day.
Belinda Murrell
About the author

Belinda Murrell

Belinda Murrell has worked as a travel journalist, technical writer, editor and public relations consultant. Her overseas adventures inspired her work as a travel writer for the West Australian newspaper and Out & About With Kids travel magazine. Her work has also appeared in the Sun Herald, Sunday Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald. While Belinda studied Children's Literature at Macquarie University, her passion for children's books was reignited when she had her own three children and began telling and writing stories for Nick, Emily and Lachlan. Belinda's books include the Sun Sword fantasy trilogy, Scottish timeslip tale The Locket of Dreams, French Revolution timeslip tale The Ruby Talisman, Australian timeslip tale The Ivory Rose and Australian historical tales The Forgotten Pearl and The River Charm. 

Books by Belinda Murrell


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *