Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick

Book of Dead Days

Written by Marcus Sedgwick

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

An intriguing, action-packed, highly readable story that has a twist in it that you’ll never guess. The characters are beautifully drawn and the storyline very original. If you’re not into fantasy this is the author to get you into it for he merges fantasy and the real world so brilliantly. Having read this one we guarantee you’ll want to read the sequel, Dark Flight Down.


Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick

Set in dark threatening cities and the frozen countryside in a distant time and place of the author's making, 'The Book of Dead Days' conjures a spell-binding story of sorcery and desperate magic as Valerian, Boy and Willow Smallbone battle to stop time and cling to life.


In a wonderfully dark, atmospheric tale of power, corruption and betrayal, Marcus Sedgwick manages to keep the reader guessing until the very end. A real page-turner with a truly chilling twist.

Set long ago in dark times and brought to life through evocative, strongly visual writing, this novel is packed with drama, mystery and intrigue.

Against the stinking, freezing background of an underworld set in a timeless past, this is a dark melodrama kept sharp by surprise.

An exquisitely dark Faustian drama set among the shadows of an old European city. The finely drawn characters and enthralling story-telling make this Sedgwick's greatest work to date. -- Joanne Owen, Borders Bookshop Bookseller Buyer's Guide Highlights, 11 June 2003

Sedgwick has created a world as dark and compelling as the story he tells.

The Book of Dead Days marks a shift to fuller, more descriptive writing than that in Sedgwick's earlier books, but there is no loss of subtle menace and power.

You'll just have to read it for the twist.

Sedgwick has created a wonderfully tight novel which understands its own boundaries and is able to utilise them to its advantage. ...Sedgwick's plotting is tight and ingenious... Sedgwick too has a wonderful way of revitalizing the myth and making it more accessible, bringing the essentials to the fore but having it remain almost Dickensian in the telling. Rather than merely retelling, the essentials are represented and told in an engaging fashion. The Book of Dead Days is a gripping read... SFRevu



About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick

One of the World Book Day 2015 Authors Marcus was our Guest Editor in July 2010. Click here to see all his selections.

Marcus began to write seriously in 1994, and his first book, Floodland, was published by Orion in 2000, and won the Branford-Boase award for best debut children's novel. Witch Hill followed in 2001, and was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

The Kiss of Death was published in paperback in April 2009, and picked up a thread from his highly acclaimed My Swordhand is Singing (winner of the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Book Award). In between came what Marcus calls “my big one - a project I've been working on for so long my head hurts.” – Blood Red Snow White, which was first published to considerable acclaim in 2007.

2009 saw Marcus turn his attention to books for younger readers with the launch of a humorous new series: The Raven Mysteries, narrated by a grumpy raven, Edgar. Titles are Flood and Fang, Ghosts and Gadgets and Lunatics and Luck. The sixth book in the series, Creepy Caves, will be published in paperback in February 2015.

Marcus Sedgwick won the Branford Boase Award in 2001 with his debut novel, FLOODLAND. In 2007 MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING won the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and in 2011 LUNATICS AND LUCK won a Blue Peter Book Award. Marcus has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal six times. Marcus lives in Taninges, France.

In his spare time, he is also a stone carver and wood engraver and illustrates all his novels! Finally Marcus is also a drummer, and at the moment he plays in two bands: visit, and to find out more.

Q&A with Marcus Sedgwick

Many of your novels are inspired by history and by myth and legend - have these areas always been a fascination of yours since childhood and if so how did this passion come about?

I love music, both listening to it and playing it (I'm a drummer). A day without music is not a proper day... I also love travel and try to travel as much as I can manage.

It was a single line, the first line in the book in fact. I'd had it for ages but didn't know where I was going to use it until the character of Edgar came along: "I suspect I may have fleas again".

Absolutely, and it was great fun. After writing a few hardcore goth books, it was great to let my hair down with these stories. And it gave me fresh impetus to go back to the next YA novel, Revolver, with renewed determination to be gloomy!

I write at the weekends, and mostly in the study in my loft, but also sometimes I travel to write - eg much of Revolver was written on trips to Sweden.

I started to write as a teenager a bit, but properly when I was in my mid-twenties. It took a few years to think it might actually happen!

The most important thing is to know your market! Who do you think your book is going to be read by? What else is out there that's like it? Are you writing something that will sell?

It varies from book to book but it's not a chore as I love to do research. It's easier than actually writing the things! For Revolver, the research spanned about 16 months, of little trips here and there and lots and lots of reading!

What was your inspiration for Revolver ?

Finding an empty shell casing on the pavement in St Petersburg. It was a long way from there to the finished book but that was the start of it.

What was your favourite book as a teenager?

Without question, the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

If you got into Doctor Who’s tardis, where (or when) would you go?
Great question, impossible to answer. So many amazing things to go and see – the building of the pyramids, a Viking boat putting out to sea, Man Utd winning the European Championship in 1968…

Who would you choose to be if you could be a celebrity for the day?

Matt Bellamy on any day with a gig.

If you were invisible for a day what would you do?

I’m invisible most days, so nothing much would change.

1 - I have an embarrassing middle name, but I'm not going to tell you what it is
2 - I am learning Swedish
3 - As well as playing the drums, I play bass guitar
4 - My grandfather invented the hydraulic tipper truck
5 - I have a pet raven called Edgar, though he doesn’t say much, eat much, or indeed, move much. There’s a possibility that he’s stuffed, I guess.
6 - I’m extraordinarily sleepy right now.
7 - I represented England (Juniors) at Fencing.
8 - I totally love football.
9 - I'm allergic to red peppers
10 - I believe there is only one radio or TV station worth listening to: Radio 3.

Author photo © Kate Christer

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Book Info


Paperback (b Format)
288 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Marcus Sedgwick
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Orion Publishing Co

Publication date

3rd May 2004




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