Twinkling stars


Amber Ambrosia by Rae Bridgman


Here's the buzz...

Escaped prisoner Rufus Crookshank is on the loose again. Wil Wychwood and his ancient medallion are not safe as long as the secret society of the Serpent’s Chain is determined to control the medallion and its magyk. But a new image – a tiny golden bee - has formed on the small black pendant. What could it mean?

At the same time, rumours are flying that something is killing MiddleGate’s honeybees. Is it mites? Mould? Magyk?

The cousins determine that to solve the mystery, they must begin to think like bees. Sophie and Wil volunteer as summer bee-keepers at Gruffud’s Academy to learn more.

But when they vanish during a picnic with their new friends Phinneas and Beatriz, Aunt Violet and Aunt Rue fear the pair may never return to celebrate their shared 11th birthday.



Drawing of bumblebee and lily, by Rae Bridgman

Amber Ambrosia

print copy available through
McNally Robinson Bookseller

FREE e-book (*.pdf)


Bowing low and tucking their Abdomens in, Wil and Sophie, neither of them yet fluent in Bee-Tongue, buzz-bumbled Long Live the Queen - only to the human ear, it would have sounded like Bzzzz, Bzzzz, Bzz, Bzzzzzzz.

Friends or Foes? Demanded the Sentries, lowering their Wings a Notch. Friends said Sophie. We Bring Gifts of Sweet.

The Sentries' Antennae whisked quickly over the Pollen Sac on Sophie's Hind Leg and frisked the Bee-Fur on Wil's Abdomen, still sprinkled with Dragonspot Lily Pollen. Satisfied, the Sentries waved Sophie and Wil on and turned back to the Entrance.

Sophie and Wil bowed low in Gratitude and cleaned their Antennae before proceeding into the Great Hall. The Smell of Mother-of-Us-All and the Smell of Thousands of her Offspring filled the Great Hall. The Smell was hard to describe, but it was a little like the Smell of a favourite, soft Blanket, comforting and reassuring. Every Corner of the Hive was alive with Hurry and Bustle - Brood-Keepers poking and prodding, feeding and cleaning their Cradlebrood, Wax-Makers building their Ladders and Gangways, Sweet-Masters fanning Sweet Chambers, Cleaners, Builders, Gatherers, Sculptors, Architects, Sentries, all buzzbusy with their appointed Tasks.

Yet amidst the Hurry and Bustle, Wil felt soothed by the Order and Rhythm of the Honeycomb - neat Chamber after Chamber, Row after Row, some capped, others open and brimming with Pollen Splashes of Yellow, Orange, Mauve, and Black. Smells filled his Antennae - the Scents of Sweet - so beguiling, it was easy to forget All Else. Sweet from Acres of Clover, Sniffs of Lavender, Roadside Wildflowers, Fields of Spring Dandelions, Sunflowers warmed in the Sun, Boughs heavy with Apple Blossoms . . . and Others he did not recognize immediately.

Chant after Chant pulsed through his Antennae and filled his Head - thousands of Bees were buzzsinging in Harmony together. Some of the Buzzes sounded like orders . . .

Hark! Clean, Lick and Comb
Our Precious Shining Waxen Dome.



"an intriguing world"

"a delightful fantasy"

"complex and fascinating City of Wax"

"extraordinary in a
delightfully ordinary way"

"science, suspense and some
good old sleuthing make this
a sweet mystery"

"a lyrical delight to read out loud"

"the illustrations...delicate and
fantastically detailed
little gems"

THEY'RE BACK. All those marvellous characters from Winnipeg author Rae Bridgman's highly successful first novel, The Serpent's Spell, are indeed back....It's an action-packed story abuzz with excitement and suspense....[A] whole new universe and vocabulary of Sister Bees and Brother Drones with Bee-Veins and Bee-Bodies and a "joyous Buzzhum of the Bees" musically unfolds for believers in magic and mystery. full article

—"Amber Ambrosia," M. Wayne Cunningham, Books in Canada

With magic, engaging protagonists, nasty villains, a Secretariat on the Status of Magical Creatures, a dragonfly festival complete with entomophagy (eating insects) and Marco Magnifico, the bee motif, Buzz songs, the complex and fascinating City of Wax, eyeglass frames changing colour according to mood, disappearing honeybees, magical honey, and mystery, Amber Ambrosia should engage young fantasy fans and have them eagerly awaiting the next Sophie and Wil escapade. [Highly recommended] full article

Darleen Golke, Canadian Review of Materials (CM)

Science, suspense and some good old sleuthing make Amber Ambrosia a sweet mystery...
The setting contains many captivating elements that will stir the imagination of younger readers. Sophie and Wil are extraordinary in a delightfully ordinary way. full article

Joyce Handzo, Curled Up with a Good Kid's Book

People like to read about strange things. They like to read about aliens in Star Wars or dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. This was like that but even stranger. With writing that brings crystal balls and tea leaves together with snakes and criminals and items that boggle that mind, this book had me interested from the start. It's amazing how much I read about bees, dragonflies, and honey in this book. I liked it a lot. That is this author's strength; to write about things that not many people would write about in an adventure story. full article

Dylan James (age 12), Reader Views, reviews by kids, for kids

Far and away the best part of Amber Ambrosia is the world of the honeybees. Author Rae Bridgman does a wonderful job describing how they live and what their language might sound like. Wil and Sophie continue to be wonderful characters to follow through both the usual events of 10-year-old life and the more fantastic ones Middlegate provides.....Their magical world with their quirky aunts and unique adventures continues to be interesting and exciting. I look forward to seeing what mysteries and myths the future holds for them. full article

—Laura Lehman, BellaOnline

Young readers who like fantasy will surely enjoy this book, and the Serpent's Chain series, especially with its local setting and interesting characters, such as Aunt Violet with her purple hair, and Sophie, whose eyeglasses change colour along with her emotions. The author's attempt to picture life as a human honeybee, with its many dangers, is also an interesting concept. full article

—Donna Gamache, Prairie Fire Magazine

True to the fantasy genre, Bridgman’s characters dabble in magic, solve mysteries while still fretting about getting their chores done around the house....The anthropologist in Bridgman shines through in Amber Ambrosia when she speculates about what a world of honeybees (or a city of wax) might look like and how the language of bees might be articulated. full article

—"Bridgman delivers Amber Ambrosia," Dale Barbour, University of Manitoba Bulletin

Young readers will be especially tickled by Sophie’s eyeglasses. Why? They are "mood" glasses. When Sophie’s emotions change, so does the color of her glasses. The frames change from darkest black to "lollipop yellow." For this and a slew of other reasons, the adventures of Wil and Sophie in their efforts to save the bees of Middlegate, is a delightful fantasy. full article

—"Amber Ambrosia," Harold N. Walters, My Shelf

In this second installment of the series I could almost hear the author spreading her wings and having fun. [Highly recommended] full article

—"Amber Ambrosia," Amberdrake, FantasyBookSpot

With its adventure and action, Amber Ambrosia is a story that holds your attention. I liked the storyline and the troubles Sophie and Wil find themselves in. The middle and how the cousins solve the mystery was quite a surprise. The magykal honey was a cool twist, as were its results. I enjoyed reading Amber Ambrosia and give it four stars. full article

—Mena (age 14), Sarah's Stars

See also Marta Morrison's review for Teens Read Too, Tracy Farnsworth's review for Roundtable Reviews for Kids and an interview with Dale Barbour

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