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Winner of the Book Trust Teenage book award 2007 and shortlisted for the 2007 Carnegie Award and our favourite to win the award. Highly readable yet thought-provoking, mysterious yet chilling, and so perfectly paced that it is totally unputdownable. The quality of the writing is superb in this gothic tale and it is sure to transfix readers from 10 upwards. This, the paperback edition includes an exclusive, brand new short story called Blackbeard.
From Hugh (12) - I loved it! I loved it even more than I loved The Book of Dead Days (another of Marcus Sedgwick’s thrilling novels). Normally I don’t like horror books but this involved the reader so much more. At times I forgot the difference between myself and Peter! I felt his decisions and fears. I loved and hated the suspense and I even though I was so into the book I hadn’t a clue what was going to happen. At times I had to force myself to shut the book if it was mealtimes or way past my bedtime. I thought that it was an amazing creation and I hope Marcus makes a fortune because he deserves it!
In the bitter cold of an unrelenting winter Tomas and his son, Peter, arrive in Chust and despite the inhospitability of the villagers settle there as woodcutters. Tomas is churlish - taciturn at the best of times. He digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why his father has done this, nor why, all his life they've moved from place to place, or why his father carries a long battered box everywhere they go, and why he is forbidden to know its mysterious contents.;But when a band of gypsies comes to the village Peter's drab existence is turned upside down. He is infatuated by the beautiful gypsy princess, Sofia, intoxicated by their love of life and drawn into their deadly quest. For these travellers are Vampire Slayers and Chust is a dying community - where the dead come back to wreak revenge on the living. Amidst the terrifying events that follow, Peter is stunned to see his father change from a disillusioned man, old before his time, to the warrior hero he once was.;Marcus draws on his extensive research of the vampire legend which permeates traditions throughout the world and sets his story in the forbidding and remote landscapes of the 17th century. Written in his usual distinctive voice, this is also the story of a father and his son, of loss, redemption and resolution.
Carnegie Judges' comment:
This novel has all the components of gothic horror: love, loss, regret and a touch of the supernatural, however it also gives a sense of the folk roots of the original vampire myth. The story is a pleasure to read as it has purpose and path and not a word is wasted. There is a sense of underlying menace and suspense throughout but it is never overdone. The author creates strong characters and sense of community and cleverly melds issues of religion and mysticism.
|Publication date:||3rd May 2007|
|Publisher:||Orion Publishing Co|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 9+ readers|
|Other Categories:||All Shortlists and Winners|
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 ...More About Marcus Sedgwick