ISBN 9780143137146, 014313714X
Trade Paperback | 448 pages
‘If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple.’
At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls--Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle--took the oath to join Her Majesty's Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and an attempted coup and Helena is now the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she's a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena percieves as the deepest betryal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora.
And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities is being detained and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. Everyone knows that warlocks shouldn’t be this powerful and when it’s revealed that Theo is transgender, it makes sense. But Helena has absolutely no intention of inducting a trans girl into HMRC, and her subsequent actions send ruptures through not only her group of friends, but the whole community – and this time, it looks like there’s no turning back.
Juno Dawson explores the big topics concerning women today: gender, feminism, the patriarchy and the corrupting nature of power, in an explosive, conversation-starting novel that is sharp, funny, provocative and joyous. Most of all, HMRC is the story of female friendship. Dealing with all the aspects of 30-something womanhood today, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven.