The Book of Three
The Official Companion

Authors: Diana G. Gallagher and Paul Ruditis
Simon and Schuster
RRP £10.99
ISBN 0 689 86111 7
Available 04 May 2004

When Phoebe Halliwell returned to San Franciso to live with her older sisters, Prue and Piper, in Halliwell Manor, she had no idea how much her life - all of their lives - would change. Because When Phoebe found the Book of Shadows in the manor's attic, she learned that she and her sisters were the Charmed Ones, the most powerful witches of all time. Battling demons, warlocks, and countless evil spirits, Piper and Phoebe lost Prue but discovered half-witch, half-Whitelighter Paige Matthews, the sister they never knew. The Power of Three was reborn...

The Book of Three is the first fully authorised companion to Charmed. Usually, when I see the words "official" on a guide book, alarm bells start ringing. This usually means that the contents have been checked and double checked by someone working for the production company - to make sure nothing even remotely derogatory to the show is printed. An example of this is the "official" Stargate SG-1 companions which are far inferior to the unauthorised efforts of, for example, Telos Publishing's Beyond the Gate.

Thankfully though, The Book of Three doesn't fall into the trap of just running pages of lengthy episode synopsis, followed by a few behind the scenes snippets of information - all of which are already in the public domain.

Authors Diana G. Gallagher and Paul Ruditis have really put a lot of work into this book. It kicks off with a tongue-in-cheek introduction by Charmed's legendary executive producer Aaron Spelling.

The episode guides don't actually begin until page 103, so you know you're in for more than your fair share of exclusive content. And the synopses (seasons one to five are covered) are very short and to the point - which is exactly how they should be. How many times have you picked up a guide book, only to see page after page of lengthy explanations on each episode? If it can't be retold in less than a page then something is going wrong - for starters you are already going to know the episodes and the idea of the synopses is to refresh your memory.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the The Charmed Ones - Piper, Paige and Phoebe and their world of Wicca is covered in this complete guide. It features a series overview, character profiles and interviews with the cast and crew. This companion to Charmed also includes "The Beginners Book of Wicca," which looks at the basic tenets of Wicca and how they relate to the show; "The Book of Shadows," which includes a compilation of the spells used on each show; and "The Book of Evil," which represents a complete who's who of the various demons that appear in the hit show.

There is also "A Chronological Halliwell Family History" which includes a lot of the alternate history from the series - where a spell changed the past etc.

And to round everything off, there is a good collection of colour photographs included in the centre. There are quite a few black and white images used to illustrate this book throughout, although there are huge sections of the book where you don't see a picture for quite a number of pages - and that's my only real complaint.

This is an indispensable guide for anyone who claims to be a true Charmed fan.

Amber Leigh

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