Laura Reid


Current Residence
London, England
Ellen and James Reid, parents[2]
Julia Reid, older sister[2]
silver paper knife
English/Talian City
"Then we must hope the girl from the future will get inside the castle tomorrow too."

Fabio della Spada, City of Swords

Laura Reid is the Stravagante and the protagonist of City of Swords. She is a close friend of Isabel Evans and Ayesha.


In her first appearance in City of Ships, Laura is described as a girl who is "pretty in a thin, neurotic sort of way, with big eyes and dark brown curly hair" and "a mass of neuroses and phobias."[1] Early in City of Swords, Mortimer Goldsmith describes her as a "pale and sad girl."

Laura is mentioned as not coping well with pressure and it is implied she's been some having trouble at home. Like Isabel, she avoids drawing attention to herself and doesn't make scenes when she is unhappy, instead just withdrawing further into herself.[1]


Laura initially appears as a background character in City of Ships as one of Isabel Evans's friends. She and Isabel have been friends for three years, shortly after Laura's family moved from Watford to Islington and Laura began attending Barnsbury Comprehensive[2]. She is left unaware of Isabel's double life as Stravagante while their mutual friend Ayesha knows because her boyfriend Matt Wood is a Stravagante as well. Laura is also implied to have a crush on Isabel's brother Charlie[1], but has resigned herself to the idea that a popular person like Charlie will never notice her[2].

Silver paperknife

Laura's talisman

During City of Swords, Laura acquires a talisman, a silver paper knife, from Mortimer Goldsmith's antique shop. Unknown to her friends, she resorts to physical self-harming to relieve her pressure her unhappiness causes her, making her paper knife the perfect talisman[3].

When Isabel, Ayesha, and the other Barnsbury Stravaganti suspect that Laura will be the next Stravagante to Talia, they confront her and instruct her for her first Stravagation under the supervision of Georgia O'Grady and Isabel. Laura arrives in Fortezza, where she meets the city's resident Stravagante, Fabio della Spada. Soon after her appearance in Fortezza, she meets and falls in love with Ludo Vivoide. When Ludo challenges Lucia di Chimici's claim to the Fortezzan throne, he and Laura end up on two different sides of a political fight for the crown of Fortezza.[4]

As civil war erupts in Fortezza, Laura becomes an intermediary between the Stravaganti at Fabio's workshop and Princess Lucia in the Rocca di Chimici. However, she attempts to use time between stravagations to meet with Ludo, whose supporters have trapped Lucia in the Rocca di Chimici. Furthermore, Laura resorts to cutting herself one last time to relieve her stress, only for her self-harming to be exposed when she is hospitalized. Her talisman is taken away and Laura must attend therapy sessions. Laura regains her talisman thanks to Vicky Mulholland and her stravagations are covered up by Isabel, who invites Laura to stay at her house under the excuse that they are studying for exams together.

When Laura returns to Fortezza, her desire to see Ludo again results in one of his bodyguards mistaking her for an assassin when she suddenly appears in Ludo's quarters. The bodyguard slashes her arm, which shocks Laura into realizing that she no longer wants to hurt herself any longer. The incident allows Laura to reveal to her therapist the reason why she began self-harming: her older sister Julia had been hurt in an accident and left with severe brain damage. Because her family avoided talking about Julia, Laura felt tremendous pressure on herself to live up to what she perceived were her parents' expectations for both her and Julia.

Notes and ReferencesEdit

Laura's talisman

Inspiration for Laura's talisman[3]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 City of Ships
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 City of Swords
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Book Maven, Mary Hoffman's blog"
  4. Summary on Amazon

English Characters
William Dethridge · Lucien Mullholland · Georgia O'Grady · Nick Duke · Sky Meadows · Matt Wood · Isabel Evans · Laura Reid · Ross · Julia · Sean · Emily · Rory · Caitlin
Vicky Mulholland · David Mulholland · Maura O'Grady · Ralph Lewis · Russell Lewis · Rosalind Meadows · Joyce Meadows · Rainbow Warrior · Loretta · Andy Wood · Jan Wood · Harry Wood · Eva Holbrook · Tony Evans · Sarah Evans · Charlie Evans · Ellen Reid · James Reid · Julia Reid
Ms. Beaumont · Mr. Laski · Dr. Kennedy · Tom · Katie · Alice Greaves · Mortimer Goldsmith · Laura · Paul Greaves · Jane Scott · Gus Robinson · Ayesha · Jago Jones · Celia Jones · Lucy · Brian · Stella Watkins

The Talian Stravaganti
Rodolfo Rossi · Guglielmo Crinamorte · Luciano Crinamorte · Paolo Montalbano · Falco di Chimici · Brother Sulien · Giuditta Miele · Professor Constantin · Flavia · Fabio della Spada · Giovanni · Fulvia · Germano · Corrado · Aurora · Ranieri
The English Stravaganti
William Dethridge · Lucien Mullholland · Georgia O'Grady · Nick Duke · Sky Meadows · Matt Wood · Isabel Evans · Laura Reid · Ross · Julia · Sean · Emily · Rory · Caitlin