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The Rook (The Checquy Files Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Daniel O'Malley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'The body you are wearing used to be mine.' So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Checquy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare and deadly supernatural ability of her own.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rook is a richly inventive, suspenseful fantasy. An astonishing debut from a brilliant new voice.

Product Description


'I love The Rook! A bit of Jasper Fforde, a bit of X-Files, and a lot of action' Deborah Harkness.

'Stop reading right now and go pick up The Rook'

'What more can you ask from a novel? Reader, The Rook will capture you' Lev Grossman.

'Packed full of twists, O'Malley creates a lively and absorbing world' Daily Express.

About the Author

Daniel O'Malley graduated from Michigan State University and earned a master's degree in Medieval History from Ohio State University. He lives in Australia, and has written two books in the Checquy Files series. Visit his website at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1561 KB
  • Print Length: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (17 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0088Q9Z8G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,439 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A supernatural tour de force 31 Jan. 2012
When I first read about the 'Big Idea' at the centre of this book on John Scalzi's blog 'Whatever', I was intrigued. Like many others, I suspect, I've sometimes felt like a spectator of my own life, and the idea of waking up with no knowledge of the past and having to pretend to be me without knowing what's going on struck a chord. Add to that the main character's involvement in a world of espionage, strange powers and hideous monsters, and I was hooked.

This is the most enjoyable, most riveting supernatural thriller I've read this side of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, and it has similar elements: a likable, vulnerable hero/heroine, up against immense threats, triumphing through guile and determination; a realistic backdrop that contrasts wonderfully with the fantastical events; and throughout a touch of ironic and occasionally macabre humour.

Mr O'Malley populates his world with people who I found myself invested in, both the sympathetic, who I so desperately wanted to survive and triumph, and the villainous, whose defeats were so satisfying. He manages to make the reader care about what happens even to minor characters.

I gather the author is working on a sequel and I, for one, look forward to re-immersing myself in his troubling but compelling world, and re-acquainting myself with those who survived; and perhaps those that didn't...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable 9 Aug. 2012
By A. Keys
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I imagine I am not the only reader hooked by the taster for this book. Once I had read the first chapter, buying it was unavoidable, even though I did wonder if the rest of the book would live up to the beginning. I needn't have had any fear - the whole book is as good as the start & I had trouble tearing myself away. I hope Mr O'Malley is chained to a desk somewhere, writing the sequel as I would like to read more - a lot more - about Myfanwy.

My ONLY niggle is that a book ostensibly set in England, with an English main character ought to use English spellings - eg colour not color - and there was the occasional phrase used which also owed more to the US than to the UK. But I am really AM nit-picking here & as can be seen, I haven't even knocked off one star for this "fault".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Novel Written By Basil Exposition 22 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After two attempts to read 'The Rook' I have finally admitted defeat and consigned it to the archive on my Kindle. I am very glad I picked it up for less than a quid.

It takes a lot for me to not finish a book, but The Rook pushed me past the point where I'd had enough very quickly. Whilst the initial set-up of a woman coming-to after a fight with no recollection of who she was and finding letters from her pre-amnesiac-self waiting to guide her through the hidden fantastical world she inhabits was a clever one, the execution was just dire.

Whilst the concept of the letters left for the amnesiac sounds promising, Daniel O'Malley's execution of the idea is terrible. He uses them to provide chunks of leaden exposition to introduce both his heroine and the reader to the hidden world they're encountering. This sounds helpful in principle but in reality comes across as lazy and unimaginative. If a fantasy author doesn't have the skill to introduce the world he's created naturally within the flow of the narrative then he's working in the wrong genre.

Add the fact that purely to satisfy O'Malley's chosen narrative structure the heroine is forced to make the utterly illogical decision not read all the letters or the file she left herself before plunging in her 'new' world but rather read them in drips and drabs as she encounters people and places, and The Rook is floundering within the first fifty pages.

Matters might have been rescued had O'Malley injected the narrative with any of the following; drive, wonder, atmosphere or action, but he offers none of them. The story is flat and un-involving, with even the insertion of a brief (and utterly implausible) fight scene failing to generate any excitement.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want more! 19 Jun. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Daniel O'Malley has shot straight into my 'must-buy' list of authors with this incredible book.

Myfanwy isn't Myfanwy any more. She's woken up in a field surrounded by bodies, with two black eyes, a potential new name and a letter in her pocket explaining that she's in big trouble. Lucky for us. The first part of the book suffers a little from info dump - there are loads of letters from M1 explaining how her life worked before it fell apart - but please don't let that put you off. Once the action kicks in there's no let up.

Given the glut of supernatural books over the past few years, it says a lot for the author's skill that the world created feels fresh and is engrossing. There's a version of how one type of predator (it's so hard to talk about this without giving the character away) is created that I can't recall having read before.

Myfanwy is a great invention. She proves the old adage that it's always the quiet ones you have to watch. M1 is dismissed by her colleagues as a mousy administrator, so I loved seeing M2 roar into life and shake them up. O'Malley didn't leave M1 as a single note character either. She had a depth and strength that led her on adventures her detractors would never have thought her capable of. M1's stoicism in the face of her own impending destruction was heartbreaking, and her determination to exercise a measure of control over the aftermath was inspiring. The other characters are wonderful (even when they're horrible). My heart was in my mouth over the fate of a few of my favourites near the end.

The thing I liked best of all was the way humour and action were combined so that each enhanced rather than detracted from the other. I couldn't bear to put the book down until it was finished, and now it's over I wish I'd made it last longer. I really hope there's a sequel in the pipeline, and that Daniel O'Malley is a fast writer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but badly written
An author attempting to be English but lapsing into U.S. Dialogue with a storyline that was compelling but had massive discrepancies and inconsistencies
Published 12 days ago by David Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars great interesting page turner
From the beginning this book hooks the reader and keeps them their until the last page. With its twists and turns, weird and interesting characters, this is an interesting read.
Published 1 month ago by Elle127
1.0 out of 5 stars ... read - simply because I've never seen such a good idea so badly...
This has to be the most irritating book I've ever read - simply because I've never seen such a good idea so badly written. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nigel Gray
4.0 out of 5 stars A very, very good book.
Wow, The Rook is very, very good. It's based in a supernatural world hidden within modern day England like Harry Potter, Supernatural, Warehouse 13, etc. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Adrian Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully the start of a series
I picked up a copy after it was recommended on the 'Incomparable' podcast.

A great story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Arnott
4.0 out of 5 stars Original
I loved this book, i was engrossed in it but i did find that there was way too much information about the agency she worked for and it's members, delving into each persons... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Robbie Higgins
2.0 out of 5 stars Uneven writing of exciting ideas. Avoid audiobook.
Noticed the great reviews so picked this up as an audiobook as was looking for new fantasy/science fiction. Narrator is the British soap actor Katy Carmichael. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Serin6
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the idea, some excitement but momentum does drop
3.5 stars

Intriguing prospect, a supernatural secret service, along the lines of Rivers of London. And it did live up to some of the promise. Read more
Published 5 months ago by K. J. Noyes
4.0 out of 5 stars The rook
I enjoy the book. Some niggly little bits stop me given it a five
Stars (I am being picky). I am looking forward to the next one.
Published 5 months ago by alice william
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Absolutely loved this book, thought the idea behind the story was excellent, and very well executed, looking forward to reading the next one. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tracey Cooper
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