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Black Arts: The Books of Pandemonium (Books of the Pandemonium) [Paperback]

Andrew Prentice , Jonathan Weil
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

4 April 2013 Books of the Pandemonium

Elizabethan London: a teeming city of traders and thieves, courtiers and preachers, riff-raff and quality, cut-throats - and demons. When scrunty Jack the 'Judicious Nipper' picks the wrong pocket at the Globe Theatre, he finds himself mixed up in an altogether more dangerous London than he could have imagined.

An outbreak of devil-worship has led to a wave of anti-witch fervor whipped up by the Elect, a mysterious group of Puritans recognizable by their red-stained right hands. Rumour has it that their leader, the charismatic Nicholas Webb, wants to purge the city entirely and build a New Jerusalem. Jack has his own reason for hating him: he watched Nicholas kill his mother.

Helped by Beth Sharkwell the Thief Princess of Lambeth, Kit Morely the Intelligencer and Dr Dee the Queen's Wizard, Jack pits himself against Webb's Puritans. But this is no straightforward struggle - for ever since his first encounter with Webb, there has been something wrong with Jack's vision. He keeps seeing things. Demons.

Black Arts is the first in a series of thrilling time-travel adventures, each bringing the past to glorious life, as Jack and his companions hurtle from one epic struggle to the next.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books (PB) (4 April 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1849921326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849921329
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 11 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 613,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"I really, really enjoyed it. I think it's a brilliant book, a great blend of action, adventure, magic, horror and humour. Plus the language is top notch . . . A period book that will work very well for modern readers" (Charlie Higson)

"Extremely impressive . . . Black Arts is a complete, self-contained and wholly satisfying novel in its own right. This is a sparkling and intelligent debut" (Philip Ardagh Guardian)

"I thoroughly enjoyed Black Arts and have put my name straight down for the second in this Books of Pandemonium series. We know what we want from a fantasy adventure and that's action, characters we can love or love to hate, and as much swag as the pages can fit. And Black Arts gives us all these things with gusto." (Jill Murphy BookBag)

"Prentice and Weil do know how to spin a thrilling yarn . . . Devilishly good fun" (Suzi Feay Financial Times)

"Roistering and sweaty, full of magic and mischief is Black Arts by Prentice and Weil. The authors' use of contemporary slang is brilliant" (Philip Womack Literary Review)

Book Description

A mind-blowing adventure series filled with no-holds-barred sword and pistol swashbuckling, alchemical time travel and mystery.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark times.. dark arts 15 Jun 2012
By Perfectbub VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A mysterious and murderous sect known as the Elect are purging the streets on Elizabeth I's London. They are targeting anyone who breaks the law or is not as faithful to their brand of faith as they are. They are staunch Puritans who seem not to take heed of the commandment thou shall not kill. These include the children who earn a living on the streets of London, confidence tricksters, molls and cut-purses.

This book follows Jack, an Artful Dodger type character who through necessity takes to crime in the streets of London. His mother is killed by Nicholas Webb, courtier and head of the Elect. In the midst of this attack jack experiences visions and is in danger of his life. The Elect wish to capture him and use his visions for their own ungodly purposes.

He has to elude their capture and bring them down, Difficult to achieve when you are an illiterate thief for the seedy parts of London. But Jack is not alone he teams up with Beth Sharkwell the Thief Princess of Lambeth, the spy Kit Morely, a professional spy and Doctor Dee, the Queens Necromancer. Aided by his visions he faces up to the threat of the Elect...

Do not read this book if you think it will be an Oliver Twist type novel, it is not. It is dark and creepy in places. There are bogeymen who think nothing of killing children and innocents to purge London of sin.

The book is powerful and really brings the era to life. There were passages when I did think that the book was a tad creepy for a children's book, however modern children tend to be more un-scare able then my generation was. No hiding behind the sofa at Daleks for this lot.

That being said I would watch which age group you give this book to. Adults will enjoy this book too, I did. Just don't expect a sunny, happy ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 26 Feb 2013
By BeeBee
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Black Arts is very enjoyable; fast paced and tense, with engaging characters and flashes of real humour. The build-up towards the climax is expertly done - I read the book in two sittings (unintentionally) because I was so absorbed in the storyline. As other reviewers have commented, some of the scenes would probably not be suitable for children, but I think most teenagers would enjoy this, and as the writing definitely avoids the sometimes patronising tone of other books written for teenagers, most adults would as well. Looking forward to the next installment!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable read..... 25 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I adore this period in history and the author captures the atmosphere, superstitious beliefs and quirkiness very well indeed.

My favourite novel genres are 'occult' / 'supernatural' and the book covers both bases in a completely satisfactory manner.

The story moves at a good pace, the characters are believable and you find yourself getting drawn into a world of intrigue, strange practices and revenge.

If you like 'occultic' type stories this is a must read.

Not for younger children in my opinion however, more for mid- to late-teens and up.

Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting read for young adults 20 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not entirely sure what the intended age range is for this novel, but you'd be advised to steer pre-teenage children away from it...especially if they suffer from a nervous disposition.

It deals with thieves and vagabonds in Elizabethan England and the characterisations and situations leap off the page with a believability that many an "adult" book could do with adopting. Linguistically it oozes believability as well and whilst it could be said to take a little while to really get going it is soon rattling along at a fair pace with twists and turns to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up to attention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely readable, full of atmosphere 5 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I often think YA (young adult) books are more fertile imaginatively right now than "proper" adult fiction. Despite my degree in literature and my advancing age I found this rollicking historical yarn completely absorbing and immensely readable. Concerning the adventures of Jack, a young thief in Elizabethan London, the book touches on all kinds of elements - not only thrills and spills but a genuinely sinister supernatural theme.

As well as exploring the very real dangers of 16th century urchin street life, it illustrates the climate of superstition & religious persecution that typified the age. Life in Elizabeth's London was nasty, brutish and short - but the writing here is rich, colourful and juicy, approximating the speech patterns and dialects of the time and place without ever becoming dryly academic or difficult to understand. The characters - creepy crime lord Sharkwell, foppish Smiles, vaguely vampiric Preacher Webb to name just three - are all big personalities, easy to visualise, difficult to forget. Meanwhile, the plot rattles along, drawing you in, keeping you turning pages.

Although written by a collaborating pair of authors - Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil - the language and style are seamless. I've no idea how they achieve such an integrated result. Imagine a mix of Dickens, Doctor Who and TV's 'Peaky Blinders' transplanted back a few hundred years, and you might begin to get the idea. Probably not suitable for young children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read 5 Dec 2013
By Helen Hollick VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Well who can resist a lead character called Jack? Set in Elizabethan London, this novel for younger teenagers was a little slow to get into its stride, but once into the story I found it an entertaining read.
The lead characters were believable and likeable. I did wonder if some of the more "horror" the scenes were suitable for younger readers - but I think that may be my adult self being a bit 'nannyish'. Kids love horror and magic, they'll love this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Black Arts - Dark Tale
A dark story about London in the 16th Century - thieves, cut-throats and traders milling around the dreary streets. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Luna Shine
5.0 out of 5 stars A read from back to front
A compeling read, has all the ingredients to keep you inetrested ina book, when will there be more and possibly films
Published 1 month ago by Peter Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars An Aptly Named Book!
Black Arts is the first in a new series of young adult novels. It is set in Elizabethan London, and focuses on Jack, the 'Judicious Nipper'. Read more
Published 7 months ago by H. Pierce
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
A pretty good read although not riveting. Worth a look for an easy to read, entertaining and slightly dark novel.
Published 7 months ago by Nicolette Laurence
5.0 out of 5 stars rollicking tale
This is fast paced, sometimes thrilling, always engaging. I love the authenticity of the language too. Read more
Published 8 months ago by V. Joyce
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Too Dark for Younger Children
This is the story of `Jack the Nipper' who becomes, by choice, part of a web of thieves in Elizabethan London. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Brett H
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Little Book
Bound by the need for vengeance against a fanatical Preacher/Magician named Webb and wearing the literal and figurative scars of the day his mother was killed before him,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Thomas Elce
5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant book - When is the next one coming out?
This is the story of Scrunty Jack. Jack is part of a loose knit family of thieves operating in Elizabethan England. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting historical and supernatural romp set in Elizabethan London...
This is an exciting Young Adult novel, set in Elizabethan London. It tells the story of Jack, a young nipper (or cut-purse), in a city of devils. Read more
Published 10 months ago by S. P. Moses
5.0 out of 5 stars Swash and Buckle
If you like total immersion in a great story world, high adventure and great characters, this is the book for you!
Published 10 months ago by Nuthog
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