After months of frenzied anticipation and wild speculation about the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the numerous bombshells and incredible plot twists in the sixth, ever-darkening installment of J.K. Rowling's bestselling Harry Potter saga will leave readers as shocked and stunned as they are utterly satisfied. As the novel begins, a "grim mood" has fallen over the country. The minions of Lord Voldemort (a.k.a. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) continue to grow as his evil spreads. The Ministry of Magic has stepped up security everywhere, and as Harry enters his sixth year at Hogwarts, he begins to see himself - and everyone around him - in a different, more discerning, light. With rumors swirling about Harry being the prophesied "Chosen One," he begins taking private lessons from Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. As Dumbledore prepares Harry for his destined clash with Voldemort by revealing jaw-dropping insights into the Dark Lord's past - who his parents were, what happened after he left Hogwarts, and more - Harry also struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry's life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes. With only one book to go before the series' projected conclusion, Rowling masterfully sets the stage for what will surely be an epic battle to end all battles. The chess pieces are all in place for a magic-powered endgame that will be as thrilling as it is bittersweet.