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Danny Woo was born and bred in the wild and wonderful Mysterium Circus - a 'new circus' outfit of eccentrics, artists, dreamers and misfits. An extraordinary childhood - but one that has been ripped away from him since the sudden - and suspicious - death of his parents. Danny is doing his best to cope with his new, sterile and perplexing surroundings of Ballstone School.
When an explosion rocks his school to its foundations, Danny is fired on a journey of discovery to Hong Kong. There, targeted by a dangerous new Triad gang, Danny must rescue his kidnapped aunt - and then face an even more deadly threat: the sinister Forty Nine - a global criminal organisation, intent on dealing with unfinished business from the Mysterium's past.

Hodder Children's Books

Book 2: The PALACE of MEMORY

Struggling to come to terms with what he has learned in Hong Kong, Danny heads home. When he hears that the Mysterium is to reform in Barcelona without him, he is devastated.
In Paris he stumbles on a newspaper article that suggests the Forty Nine may also be active in Barcelona - and rushes to Catalonia to warn his friends.
But is there a traitor within the Mysterium and were they responsible for the death of Danny's parents? Why are the police after him? And who is the mysterious woman in a green coat who is stalking Danny and lining him up in her sights?

Hodder Children's Books
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July 2014)

Reeling from events in Barcelona, the Mysterium company pack up and head for a new circus festival in Berlin. For Danny it is a date with destiny: It was in Berlin - the 'City of escapes' - that the last Mysterium performance took place - and where his parents perished in the mysterious fire.
Danny is closing on the traitor in - or linked to - the company. But a vital last clue is still missing. And a dark figure is shadowing the convoy…
As the Mysterium pitches camp in Berlin the snow starts to fall once again. At last the truth will become clear - but Danny will face his most deadly escape yet, and he and his closest friends will have to stare into the abyss.

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I was born in East Kent, England in 1966.

Shortly afterwards I decided I wanted to be either a writer or an astronaut - or, to be more precise, a cosmonaut. For the time being, both ambitions seemed impossible.

As a child I spent most of my time reading, writing, drawing and climbing onto the roof of our house to spy on the mysteries of the world around me. There had to be a key to understand what I saw and heard and felt. I became obsessed with the East - from Zen Buddhism to the TV series of Monkey - and daydreamed of living in a Japanese monastery. A strange boy.

That led me to studying Chinese and Philosophy at Cambridge University, where I hid my pet rat in a cupboard, learnt to juggle burning torches and died my hair purple.

And that led somehow to working variously as a postman, bookseller, therapist, script developer and researcher for film and TV. And, that led - eventually - to becoming a writer.

Along the way I've been followed by a private detective in Tokyo, set fire to myself a few times, created graphics props for big movies, listened to a lot of secrets, got married and had two sons.

When not writing I enjoy fire juggling alongside my boys, Fen skating, drawing, meditating, hillwalking and wrestling the double bass. Never did become a cosmonaut though.

THE MYSTERIUM (CIRCUS COMPANY) - a possible Wikipedia entry

The MYSTERIUM 1990 - 2010 were a NEW CIRCUS company who helped to re-establish circus as a vital and meaningful art form, alongside other pioneers such as Archaos, Cirque du Soleil and Circus Oz. Formed in Barcelona by HARRY WHITE - a magician and escapologist, 'MAJOR' PABLO ZAMORA - a dwarf, strongman and ROSA VEGA - a theatrical entrepreneur - the company quickly recruited a pool of remarkable, if troubled, talent. Chinese wire walker LILY WOO and knife thrower and daredevil DARKO BLANCO were soon joined by French aerialists IZZY and BEATRICE LAFLEUR, Australian cloud-swinger MARIA MILLMAN, the sinister KHAOS KLOWNS (Joey, Aki and Bjorn) and hypnotic mentalist JIMMY TORRINI.

The troupe lived and worked together as circuses of old and forged a close bond, taking their ever more spectacular shows to festivals across Europe and, eventually, beyond. But trouble was never very far away. Financial problems, artistic differences and a clash of personalities led to the sacking of Torrini in 2008.

The company struggled to keep its heads above water, but seemed to be on the way back to success with their WONDER CHAMBER tour. It was on that tour - in Berlin - that a fire killed founder member WHITE and his wife LILY WOO - (who are survived by their son Danny Woo). The company disbanded at once and went their own ways. A rumoured reformation was denied late last year by both VEGA and ZAMORA. Nevertheless they remain a fond memory of anyone who was lucky enough to catch their mesmerising shows that managed to blend tradition and contemporary circus with wit, danger, beauty and sublime artistry.


By the 1980s circus had become a rather neglected and formulaic art form. But outfits such as ARCHAOS, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, LES ARTS SAUTS, CIRCUS OZ took traditional circus by the scruff of the neck skills and added fire, theatre, explosions, artistry, chainsaws, performance art, great music, a dash of punk - and created - or recreated - an art form that was cool, daring, thought provoking, saucy and bold.

Over the years I have seen some extraordinary acts and and often been blown away by this life affirming artform.
In particular - in addition to the above - check out CIRKVOST (descendants of Archaos and Les Arts Sauts), LES COLPORTEURS (wonderful, French tight wire act) CIRCOLOMBIA (crazy South Americans), CIRCA (their How Like an Angel show in particular), NO FIT STATE CIRCUS (Wales and UK's finest contemporary circus), CIRKUS CIRKOR (Swedish gems) and many many others at arts and music festivals. Or get a flavour with the video here….

Otherwise, grab three oranges, buy a unicycle, check tutorials on YouTube and start learning a skill. (Though for anything involving height, fire or risk see resources for proper tuition on the LINKS page!)
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If you would like to send me a comment or question, or would like me to visit your school or bookshop, please use the form below.

For all other events and publicity enquiries please contact Caitlin Lomas at Hodder Children's Books (

For rights - and all offers of work - my agent is Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates (


My blog and news are at

To buy the Mysterium please try and support your local bookshop. Viva independents!

Or you might like to check out THE HIVE where online retail and local bookshops meet… or in the UK click HERE.

For circus props look no further than the wonderful people at FIRETOYS Everything from juggling clubs to walking globes to flaming hoops. Friendly, reliable - and they give great customer service.


For magic tricks in the UK try this very excellent MERCHANT OF MAGIC - great for advice too.

And for advice on courses in UK try NO FIT STATE or CIRCUS SPACE amongst others.

And for occasional tweets follow me on Twitter: @julianaurelius

image credits
About The Author background image: © Nick Riddle
JS photo: © Isabel Sedgwick
New Circus JS image : © James Linsell
Book cover images: © Tom Percival