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Orphans of the Tide

Written by Struan Murray

Illustrated by Manuel Šumberac

Part of the Orphans of the Tide Series

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Orphans of the Tide Review

Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 9+ readers

Inventive, beautifully written fantasy adventure

Shortlisted for the 2021 Branford Boase Award

The opening of Orphans of the Tide must surely be one of the most arresting and memorable in recent children’s literature: a whale washes up and is caught on the rooftops of a partly submerged city. As crowds gathers to stare, young inventor Ellie realises the danger they are in. Cutting into the whale’s belly to avert a build up of gas, the incredible happens and a living boy falls out. The story continues at similar levels of drama, the City’s religious authorities dragging the boy to prison and a death sentence, believing his body is home to The Enemy, the god they hold responsible for putting the world in its watery grave. Only Ellie is convinced of his innocence and determines to save him. This remarkably assured debut won the Branford Boase Award, impressing the judges with quality of the writing, the power of Murray’s storytelling and his ability to explore timeless themes such as courage, friendship and loss.

One to recommend to fans of Philip Pullman or Frances Hardinge.

Andrea Reece

Other Info

The Branford Boase Judges said ; ‘hard to believe this is a debut’; ‘a really exciting new voice in storytelling’; ‘the world-building is perfect, so vivid’; ‘the experience was like reading His Dark Materials for the first time’; ‘distinctive, quality writing’.

Find out more about the Branford Boase Awards here.

Orphans of the Tide Synopsis

The breathtaking fantasy adventure for fans of His Dark Materials that The Times calls 'Unputdownable'.

The City was built on a sharp mountain that jutted improbably from the sea, and the sea kept trying to claim it back. That grey morning, once the tide had retreated, a whale was found on a rooftop. When a mysterious boy washes in with the tide, the citizens believe he's the Enemy - the god who drowned the world - come again to cause untold chaos.

Only Ellie, a fearless young inventor living in a workshop crammed with curiosities, believes he's innocent. But the Enemy can take possession of any human body and the ruthless Inquisition are determined to destroy it forever. To save the boy, Ellie must prove who he really is - even if that means revealing her own dangerous secret . . . 

Orphans of the Tide Press Reviews

A sumptuously atmospheric adventure . . . Murray is a tirelessly inventive storyteller -- Emily Bearn - The Daily Telegraph

Gripping . . . with a touch of Frances Hardinge's bizarre brilliance -- Imogen Russell Williams - The Guardian

Unputdownable . . . Murray has an extraordinary imagination -- Alex O'Connell - The Times

Energetic and inventive . . . and with some startling surprises, this is also touching about friendship, siblings, loss and courage -- Nicolette Jones - The Sunday Times

Struan Murray . . . effortlessly joins the ranks of the most skilled world-creators . . . Unpredictable, filled with plot twists and shades of moral grey, Orphans of the Tide is both gripping and original. -- Kitty Empire - The Observer

A beautifully written fantasy adventure with prose that is both muscular and musical, and outstanding world building. -- Sarah Webb - Irish Independent

Orphans of the Tide is singularly brilliant. So inventive, and weird, and beautiful, with just the right amount of bite and darkness. I predict big things! - Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink and Stars and The Mercies

I loved it! Dark and thrilling. Great characters to root for. Perilous plot. Extraordinary, vivid world building . . . brilliant! - Eloise Williams, Children's Laureate Wales

The most original opening I've read in years and a plot twist that turns brilliantly - Abi Elphinstone, author of Sky Song

This is a terrific debut of strange myths and dark secrets, fierce loyalties and ruthless villains, told against the thrilling backdrop of a half submerged city. - The Bookseller - Editor's Choice

Compellingly inventive and unpredictable, kept me guessing right till the end. - Piers Torday, author of The Last Wild

Absolutely cracking! Great characters, with quite the nastiest villain I've met in a long while. - Fleur Hitchcock, author of The Boy Who Flew

Outstanding and immersive . . . I devoured this in one go - book blogger Lily SugarPlum Faery

An imaginative journey to a stunning fantasy world, full of twists and heart . . . an absolute corker . . . filled with swashbuckling adventure . . . an enthralling fantasy that moves through dark and grisly scenes of grave peril to positively touching moments of profound friendship. An incredibly imaginative narrative that fills its reader with wonder and thrills while also not being afraid to share quieter moments of real heart. - The Daily Express

There is a touch of Phillip Pullman about the world that Murray creates, and Murray matches Pullman lyrical prose [...] The comparison, however, should not take away from Murray's originality [...] the characters themselves, led by the plucky Ellie, anchor Orphans of the Tide in an urgent, human reality. - Irish Times

The energetic steampunk vibe overlies a thoughtful fable about compassion and justice - New Statesman

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241384435
Publication date: 20/02/2020
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241384435
Publication date: 20th February 2020
Author: Struan Murray
Illustrator: Manuel Šumberac
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Suitable for: 9+ readers
Genres: Fantasy / Magical

About Struan Murray

Struan Murray (Author) Struan Murray is Scottish and grew up in Edinburgh, the youngest of a large, rowdy family of redheads. His first publication was a drawing in Pingu Magazine, aged seven, but his debut novel, Orphans of the Tide has attracted rather more critical acclaim. When he's not writing, Struan is a lecturer at the University of Oxford.

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