Not a bad little book. It was a fast read and I enjoyed most of it. The ending was "sweet" in a warm, nice way and not a sugary, sticky way.
The book is about David, a young English boy whose mother is dying at the start of the book. Soon after she dies he begins to have attacks, where he blacks out but remembers the fluttering of flags and images of castles. He hears books murmuring to him. His dad moves him out to the country to avoid the dangers of the German bombing attacks on London. Things get really weird after his dad remarries and a new baby brother joins the family.
One night he runs off into the garden and makes his way through a crack in the wall and finds himself in a dangerous new world: Bleeding, murmuring trees; a caring Woodsman who escorts him to the King's castle; vicious half wolf/half human creatures who want to eat him whole; and an errant knight on a quest to find out what happened to his love. And David is being pursued by the Crooked Man who wants to use David to replace the old King with David.
What I enjoyed the most was the way Connolly weaved the elements of other fairy tales into his story. Little Red Riding Hood is there, though a little bit more worldly than we recall, and so too is the Gingerbread House of Hansel and Gretel, also not quite the same way.
The atmosphere of the book was cool, but ultimately not as captivating as the setting of The Golden Compass novels. I liked the book a lot and it was just short enough at 339 pages, or fast enough, that I didn't get sick of it.