The Lost Girl King

The Lost Girl King

By Author / Illustrator

Catherine Doyle


Magical Realism

Age range(s)



Bloomsbury Publishing PLC




Paperback / softback




Amy and Liam Bell have been packed off to stay at Gran's house in the wilds of Connemara for the summer. Out for a walk on the first morning of their holiday, they trace the flight of a hawk to a nearby waterfall - only to watch the bird disappear through it. Intrigued, the children follow and soon realise they've discovered the entrance to Tir na nOg, the legendary land of eternal youth.  But they've been tricked. Almost immediately, Liam is captured by a troop of headless horsemen who take him to Tarlock, the ruling sorcerer of Tir na nOg, who is seeking the bones of a human child for a sinister new spell.

Packed with edge-of-your seat adventure, incredible imagination, humour and warmth, The Lost Girl King is the rare kind of story that has you reading long past lights out.   'The Lost Girl King echoes Lord of the Rings and Narnia, whilst being original and fresh. It's sure to become a classic of its own' - Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars. 'A glorious gulp of a summer adventure' - Piers Torday, author of The Lost Wild. 

Catherine Doyle reads from The Lost Girl King



When their mum goes away with her new boyfriend, Amy and her brother Liam are left with their gran. For Liam, being curled up on a beanbag reading, or listening to one of gran’s stories about magical worlds, is just fine, but for restless Amy, it feels like she is being imprisoned. As soon as the rain stops, Amy vows to go adventuring. Dragging Liam with her and ignoring gran's warnings to stay near the house and away from the mountains, she sets off. Following a white hawk, Amy finds a waterfall and recklessly dives straight in. What she discovers on the other side is not the adventure she was looking for. Instead, Amy and Liam find themselves in the land of Tir na nOg, the place their gran told them about, where the sun always shines, and the birds are every colour of the rainbow, although something is not quite right.

When Liam gets taken by a stampede of headless horsemen, and Amy gets rounded up by the Greencloaks, it is no longer a game; it is now life or death.  Amy must find and rescue her brother before the evil Tarlock uses them both to further destroy the land. But on her journey, Amy realises that in order to save her brother, she must also find a way to save Tir na nOg too. And with time and dark magic against her, Amy fears that she may never get back home to see her gran.

Catherine Doyle, author of The Lost Girl King, has created a gritty adventure story that twists and turns with every page. Her words bury the reader in the doomed world of Tir na nOg, and the feisty drive of Amy to find her brother peppers every page. It will certainly keep young readers turning the pages to find out what will happen next.  Curriculum links: family, friendship, love, hope, determination, perseverance, problem solving, environmental issues.

308 pages / Reviewed by Donna Burkert, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


The Lost Girl King is the thrilling new adventure story by Catherine Doyle. This book is infused with Irish mythology and language that allows you to be transported into another realm. Amy and Liam have been packed off to Gran's house for the summer. They are heading to Connemara on the west coast of Ireland. Gran is passionate about folklore and myths of the old country and when Amy discovers that Gran has published a book about fairytales, she becomes fixated on finding the magical kingdom of Tir na nOg but Gran warns against searching for the magical kingdom.

After finding a lucky sixpence in the walls of the house, Amy takes this as a sign and persuades her brother to go on an adventure to search for Tir na nOg. It is from here that we are plunged into the adventure with Amy and Liam discovering the realm of Tir na nOg, but they do not realise the danger that lies in waiting for them. Tir na nOg is no place for children and Amy quickly learns that her holiday has turned into an impossible quest to save her brother and the magical Kingdom from the desolate state that has befallen upon it.

This book is fantastic as it captivates us with Irish mythology running through the whole adventure. Children will love the characters. Amy is feisty, strong headed and fearless, whereas Liam is kind, wise and exhibits a steely resolve despite being in situations that are terrifying. Children will gain an enormous amount of pleasure from reading this thrilling adventure story and I would recommend this for any KS2 classroom or library.

308 pages/ Reviewed by Hayley Summerfield, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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