Harrow-Potter, Robert Pattinson’s enchanting new novel is a coming-of-age story that follows Cali, the spirited yet aimless young wife of Llewelyn, an ex-aristocrat reinvented as England’s new King and on the road to regaining his throne.

The couple’s idyllic marriage is thrown into turmoil when England is struck by a mysterious plague that kills the young king and all but guarantees civil war.

Cali’s only chance of saving Llewelyn from the gallows and perhaps even his kingdom hinges on fleeing to Portugal and taking the throne there. As England plunges into chaos, Cali must navigate the machinations of high society and, armed only with courage and flair, save both herself and her beloved husband. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy The Tempest, this sumptuous historical adventure is told in the unforgettable voices of England’s greatest novelists: Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Agatha Christie, H. G. Wells and more.

‘A PAMPERED KING’

It was a golden evening and summer had finally arrived in England. The warm sun was beaming down and the air was thick with the sweet scent of blossoming flowers as the king and his wife stepped out onto the balcony at Kew Palace. The dazzling array of colored blooms in the long vases along the balustrade were like a banquet laid out for the royal couple to feast their eyes upon.

As the king took in the scene before him, a servant approached, bowing deeply.

“Your Majesty, Miss Cali has arrived with your diamonds and a letter from Madame de Fer.””The letter, Sire?” enquired the flustered footman who’d been sent to fetch the royal jewels. He’d been standing in front of the palace’s grand entranceway for almost an hour, awaiting the king’s pleasure. His mouth hung open, ready to deliver the message, and his hands were dripping with nervous perspiration. His gaze flickered towards the French windows as if pleading for help. The king frowned. He didn’t trust Cali, a commoner by birth, to properly tend to such business; the crown’s most trusted minister, Sir Walter Elliot, had accompanied her and was standing a few paces away, impassively observing the proceedings. A scullery maid, her thin arms laden down with buckets of steaming water, gave the king a guilty sidelong glance as she scurried by. The king, however, made no comment and turned his attentions back to the servant. He sighed. He loved his wife dearly and was well aware of her overbearing nature, but there was something about the way she treated the people of England, as if they were dogs she wanted to pet and then snuff out, that rankled. And then there were the diamonds. The king had seen the girl, Mary, the scullery maid’s daughter, slip a few strands of hair around her neck when she thought he wasn’t looking. He didn’t need to see them again to know they were there, sparkling and twinkling in the afternoon light. The king was surrounded by people who constantly hovered around him, trying to curry favor. What had Madame de Fer written in her missive? Something about the jewels, I believe. He sighed. The weight of the crown was a heavy burden, but one he was proud to bear. He felt the cool touch of the water as it slid down his throat and into his stomach. It was good, soothing medicine and he could feel his strength returning. A faint smile crept across his lips. He liked feeling that way, powerful and confident. He took a swig from his hip flask. The king had made a new friend, a German prince who’d helped him discover new vintages to enliven their wine cellars. They’d struck up a conversation during one of Elliot’s dull dinner parties, a conversation that had continued over brandies and port whenever his old friend stopped by for a visit. The prince was a great admirer of England’s crown and had even spoken with the Queen on several occasions. The friendship had been sealed with a diamond-encrusted brooch the king now wore on his hip. It was good to have someone watching over you, someone who knew your every thought and was always there to lend support. A low hum arose from the servant’s lips as he waited to deliver another message. It was almost time for the daily gathering, he murmured, almost time for the afternoon tea. The king took one more swig from his flask. The prince had come up with the idea of having a picnic on the palace balcony and the king, who loved an afternoon tea quite as much as his friend, the prince, loved a spot of quality time with his wife, had readily agreed.

The king took a sip from his teacup. The hum continued. A fly buzzed about their heads, attracted by the sweet smell of wine and freshly baked cake. The couple took a moment to look upwards, appreciating the nature of the buzzing insect’s attempt at a courtship. The tea roses that garnished the delicate bone china chalice were a sight to behold, their dark red blooms contrasting vividly with the pale yellow petals. The king took another, longer sip, his wife matching him drink for drink. Behind them, the sun was slowly sinking over the palace’s western turret, its rays dancing in the pond’s still water as the king watched, captivated, as a swan glided effortlessly among the reeds.

‘MY DEAREST HUSBAND’

They had been married for five years and it was time for Llewelyn to pop the question. He’d kept his promise not to press the matter while his wife enjoyed the honeymoon stage of their marriage and he was a man who kept his promises.

“Carrying on like this won’t get us anywhere. Let’s wait until the crisis is over and then deal with this. You’ll be my loyal and loving husband until the end, I know you will, but Cali, I can’t help but feel, is holding you back. She’s holding us back, Llewelyn. She’s holding us all back.” Lady Elliot turned to her husband, a gesture that was more than occasionally interpreted as a cross between a plea and a command. A tense silence filled the room. Nobody liked to disagree with the wife of the King, particularly as she was the queen’s sister and they both enjoyed a close bond with the monarch. He sighed. He’d heard her out and decided to grant her request for a separation. It was the honorable and correct thing to do, he told himself, placing the teacup in the saucer with a firm clink. And so it was done.

Cali was dumbstruck. What kind of a king was this who agreed to a separation from his own wife? Her hands felt cold and clammy. She looked towards the window, her gaze roaming across the manic inky-black sky to the distant hills, their contours bathed in the soft orange glow of the sunset. It was as if a curtain had been drawn across the sky, the light vanishing on the other side, leaving a hole where the sun had been. It was the kind of feeling she got every time she thought about the king, a feeling that something was amiss. She was trapped, hemmed in by her duties as the sovereign’s consort, yet craving a connection, any kind of connection, with the one person who could make her feel like herself again. Cali had been foolish, she knew, to think she could ever be truly happy in her marriage. The thought of Llewelyn, the steadfast and honorable man she loved so much, being alone, unfed, and possibly even harmed, caused her a sharp pain in the chest. She wanted to cry out, to beg him not to go, but duty was a stern mistress and she knew she would have to be the stronger.

“If you truly love me, Llewelyn, then don’t leave me. Stay with me. I don’t…want to be alone.” Cali stammered. A tear trickled down her pale cheek. Lady Elliot took her hand. It wasn’t often that she had the chance to be physically close to her niece. The lady enjoyed a spot of quality time with her husband, but she also felt that now was hardly the right time for them to be alone, what with the entire country, practically, at war.