The Kiss Of Death by Marcus Sedgwick

The Kiss Of Death

Written by Marcus Sedgwick

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Marcus Sedgwick returns with a heart-stopping, beautifully crafted novel featuring Peter from My Swordhand is Singing, set many years later but still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. Venice, the fabled city with its lapping waterways, crumbling magnificence, and dark twisting alleyways is the perfect setting for this captivating gothic novel of love and loss in the 18th century. Interwoven with the story of Peter are Marko and Sorrel, who are both seeking to discover why their fathers have disappeared. Each of them get caught up in a terrible and bloody struggle of life and death and the forces of good and evil. Once again, Sedgwick is at his beguiling best in this novel and it’s almost certainly heading for all the major book award shortlists.


The Kiss Of Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Years on from My Swordhand Is Singing, Peter is still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. His search leads him to Venice, a city whose beauty disguises many ugly secrets. Marko and Sorrel meet there for the first time. Drawn together by the mystery of what has happened both to Sorrel's father, as some strange madness prevents him from sleeping, and Marko's father, a doctor who has been imprisoned for trying to help his old friend. Marko and Sorrel's search will take them from the city to Murano where her father, Simono, a renowned glassmaker had been fashioning a tiara for the enchanting and enigmatic Venetia. The tiara is, Sorrel believes, unfinished and worse still it's gone missing. Venetia wants it in time for the coronation of the Doge. From there they follow a more sinister path which will lead them to an unholy massing of the Shadow Queen's new vampire army on the plague islands of the lagoon, and to Peter as he prepares for his last battle. This fabled city with its lapping waterways, its crumbling magnificence, dark, twisting alleyways and surprising piazzas is the perfect setting for Marcus's captivating gothic novel of love and loss in C18th Venice.

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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Orion Publishing Co

Publication date

1st September 2008




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