MAGICIANS, eh? You wait for ages, then three come along at once...

No sooner has the BBC brought us its adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell – featuring two ‘practical magicians’ – than a York author has launched his own on the world.

James Christie’s magician is a modern-day one called Colin Mage. And in James’ novel, The Opening, he is in a race against time to foil a magical ritual that threatens to open the gates to Hell on Earth.

Colin enlists the help of Michael Fry, the Merlin of Britain, Helen Ross, a Wiccan priestess from Scotland, and John Light, a Satanist turned evangelical Christian.

Part of the book is based in York, says James, a psychic, palmist and tarot master from Whixley. But the book’s climax comes in southern Spain, which becomes the “battle ground for the final conflict between man and his greatest adversary”.

The book is published by James’ own family-run company Mage Publishing, priced £12.99, and it will be launched at WH Smith in Coney Street between 10am and 3pm on Saturday, June 6.