The Witchstone

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Pub Date 18 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 02 Jul 2024

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Description

An unforgettable, high-stakes, laugh-out-loud funny novel, The Witchstone blends the merciless humor of The Good Place with the spellbinding fantasy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Meet Laszlo, eight-hundred-year-old demon and Hell’s least productive Curse Keeper. From his office beneath Midtown, he oversees the Drakeford Curse, which involves a pathetic family upstate and a mysterious black stone. It’s a sexy enough assignment—colonial origins, mutating victims, et cetera—but Laszlo has no interest in maximizing the curse’s potential; he’d rather sunbathe in Ibiza, quaff martinis, and hustle the hustlers on Manhattan’s subway. Unfortunately, his division has new management, and Laszlo’s ratings are so abysmal that he’s given six days to shape up or he’ll be melted down and returned to the Primordial Ooze.

Meet Maggie Drakeford, nineteen-year-old Curse Bearer. All she’s ever known is the dreary corner of the Catskills where the Drakeford Curse has devoured her father’s humanity and is rapidly laying claim to her own. The future looks hopeless, until Laszlo appears at the Drakeford farmhouse one October night and informs them that they have six days—and six days only—to break the spell before it becomes permanent. Can Maggie trust the glib and handsome Laszlo? Of course not. But she also can’t pass up an opportunity to save her family, even if it means having a demon as a guide …

Thus begins a breakneck international adventure that takes our unlikely duo from a hot dog stand in Central Park to the mountains of Liechtenstein, a five-star hotel in Zurich, and even the time-traveling vault of a demonic crime boss. As the clock ticks down, tough-as-nails Maggie and conniving Laszlo will uncover a secret so profound that what began as a farcical quest to break a curse will eventually threaten the very Lords of Hell.

An unforgettable, high-stakes, laugh-out-loud funny novel, The Witchstone blends the merciless humor of The Good Place with the spellbinding fantasy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Meet Laszlo...


A Note From the Publisher

Henry H. Neff, a former history teacher, has written and illustrated six acclaimed fantasy books for children, including the five-book Tapestry series and Impyrium. The Witchstone is his first novel for adults. When he’s not writing, you’ll find Henry at home in New Jersey with his wife, their two sons, and a pair of rescue pups

Henry H. Neff, a former history teacher, has written and illustrated six acclaimed fantasy books for children, including the five-book Tapestry series and Impyrium. The Witchstone is his first novel...


Advance Praise

“A rare jewel. A new classic in the fantasy genre.”

Eoin Colfer, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Impyrium

“A rare jewel. A new classic in the fantasy genre.”

Eoin Colfer, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Impyrium


Marketing Plan


  • National and regional reviews, features, and interviews
  • Fantasy buzz mailing
  • Bookseller and library show marketing
  • Digital and print advertising campaign
  • Social media campaign




  • National and regional reviews, features, and interviews
  • Fantasy buzz mailing
  • Bookseller and library show marketing
  • Digital and print advertising campaign
  • Social media campaign




Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9798212015547
PRICE $26.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 40 members


Featured Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an eARC of The Witchstone.

The Witchstone blends humor and fantasy in this epic adventure of Maggie and George "Lump" Drakeford, as they emback on a journey with Curse-Keeper demon Laszlo to remove a generational family curse.

I truly did not know what to expect coming into this novel, and I ended up loving the heart and humor it has. The action scenes are exciting and fast-paced, and the lore behind the Witchstone added a lot to the story. There was even a fair amount of gore/body horror which I didn't really expect but enjoyed. The characters were all fantastic as well, I loved all of them for different reasons and was completely invested in what happened. Honestly I would love a second installment, as the ending would either be perfect as it was for a single novel, but open enough that I'd be interested in the sequel.

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This book was an easy 5 out of 5 for me! It was fantastic.

At the heart of this novel are Laszlo, a demon and The Curse Keeper, and Maggie Drakeford, a human next in line to become The Curse Bearer. It’s Lazlo’s job to maintain and ensure that there is maximum despair and hopelessness generated from The Curse. However — Lazlo’s been busy having fun in NYC and the Drakefords have pretty much accepted their curse as some terrible hereditary disease that they can do nothing about. The problem with resigned acceptance, is that it doesn’t generate as much despair as tortured hopelessness. Laszlo is tasked by his superiors to get back to work and figure out how to make the Drakefords be consumed in despair once again.

The Witchstone balances heartwarming character development, hilarious escapades, and a cleverly crafted plot that keeps the pages turning. The setting, rich with fantastical elements and adventures, serves as the perfect backdrop for the characters' journeys.

As a reader, I'm left eagerly hoping for more. The potential for this story to evolve into a trilogy is immense, with so many avenues left to explore.I’d love to see more of Signora’s tower. In the next book can we please go back in time through one of those windows with her? Also — want to see Maggie and Lump’s powers evolve…. and Lazslo get more powerful and battle it out with his dad. So many places that Neff could take the next book(s). Hopefully if he does write more, it will be a trilogy that has an overarching narrative!

Thanks to Net Galley for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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An easy five stars from a reader who is quite stingy about giving them out. Filled with adventure, humor, wit, and even some wisdom, THE WITCHSTONE is going to be one I read again.

Laslo is a charming, irritating demon, a low-level bureaucrat, working the system, in the Infernal Society of Curse Keepers. He also happens to be the "black sheep" offspring of one of the Lords of Hell. Maggie is an outcast young woman living in Witchwood forest and doomed to bear her family's curse. In a globe-trotting race, the two, along with Maggie's little brother Lump, set off to ensure their mutual survival--a goal that puts them constantly at odds.

With themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness, THE WITCHSTONE is well-paced, structurally satisfying, yet refreshing and new in all the right ways.

Wishing Henry H. Neff the best and congratulating Blackstone on a fine decision! Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone for access to an advanced digital copy. I'm pre-ordering a print version now.

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