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Mortal Chaos [Paperback]

Matt Dickinson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012 Mortal Chaos
'The Butterfly Effect ': the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

When a butterfly startles a young rabbit, and the rabbit makes a horse rear, it starts a chain of events, over the course of one day, that will change people's lives . . . and end people's lives.

From a climber on Everest to a boy in Malawi . . . from a commercial pilot to an American psycho . . . the chaos knows no bounds.

This heart-stopping adventure by writer, film maker and climber Matt Dickinson will leave readers breathless. It's the book Jack Bauer would have read as a teenager!

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019275713X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192757135
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Dickinson is the author of MORTAL CHAOS--a brand new series for teenage/young adult readers due to be published by Oxford University Press in February 2012. This fast moving series of thrillers is inspired by the science of Chaos Theory--otherwise known as the Butterfly Effect. According to Chaos Theory even the biggest and most disastrous events (a plane crash, a tornado, an avalanche) can be caused by tiny and sometimes barely noticeable changes that happen in the natural world.

That is how the beating of a butterfly's wings can unleash mayhem across the planet!

In the first book in the Mortal Chaos series parallel stories around the world are connected in an intricate web of cause and effect. An eighteen year old Japanese girl attempting to climb Everest, a six year old boy in Malawi guarding his family's crops from a pack of wild baboons and two teenage boys hunting in the woods in the UK; all become snared in a rolling drama which links them together in a battle for life and death.

This is fast moving fiction and not for the faint hearted.

Matt Dickinson's previous books have been set in the world of exploration and high altitude climbing--an environment he knows well from his years as a film maker for National Geographic Television, The BBC and Discovery Channel. Probably his best known book is 'The Death Zone' (published in the USA as 'The Other Side of Everest')--the true life story of his Everest North Face summit climb. He has also had two novels published, both of which have been translated into numerous foreign editions; the first was 'High Risk', the second 'Black Ice'.

Matt does frequent lectures for schools and clubs in the UK so if you want him to visit to talk about Everest or his other adventures in Antarctica or beyond then please contact him at

Product Description


'. . . action-packed crackers kids will fly through.' (The Sun)

'Thrilling and thoughtful stuff for a 21st-century reader' (Telegraph)

'A pacy and thrilling read building to a dramatic finale. An imaginative page turner' (Booktrust)

'Slick as an oil-spill, and equally combustive, this yarn for mid-teens takes chaos theory as its basis . . . Gripping.' (The Telegraph)

'A fast-paced thriller with a generous drizzle of epicness. Utterly devourable.' (, teen reader review)

Book Description

Some will live. Many will die. All are connected.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SPEEDING ALONG MOST IMAGINATIVELY 13 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Literally "The Butterfly Effect". The first flutterings of a Purple Hairstreak in a Wiltshire wood will have repercussions all over the world. Destined to be affected are a horse race at Newmarket, a climber on Mount Everest, a plane bound for Moscow, a little boy striving to save a crop of maize from baboons in Africa. Much else besides. The reader must wonder how so many disparate strands can possibly be linked, but they are....

Chapters speed by - all of them short, many with cliffhangers as everything spirals out of control. Admittedly the book's climax is a little too neatly contrived, the same wood involved. Prepare for loose ends. That is the whole point. The ripples caused by that maiden flight will ever continue. This is just the start.

Unusual, inventive, brisk and involving - several of the twists and turns a genuine surprise.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mortal Chaos book 1 29 Jan 2012
By Sarah (Feeling Fictional) TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
I was intrigued about Mortal Chaos from the moment I read the blurb "Some will live. Some will die. All are connected". I already knew about the Butterfly Effect but I was really curious to see how Matt Dickinson would take that theory and spin it into a story. How do you manage to connect a jockey racing at Newbury, two boys bunking off of school, a female pilot, a Japanese girl climbing up Mount Everest and a young boy in Africa? If you're Matt Dickinson you do it in a story that is fast paced, action packed and full of twists that will have readers on the edge of their seats!

Mortal Chaos is written in short, snappy 1-2 page chapters that really build the tension as you follow multiple characters throughout their day. I was a bit worried that it would be hard to keep track of so many different people but I was surprised at how easy it was to keep each story line separate. The book starts with a butterfly but doesn't end with a hurricane - it does end in disaster though. Some of the links between characters are obvious but will have surprising consequences and other links are slowly revealed as the story progresses. The book will really make you think about how the smallest thing like leaving for work 5 minutes late can have a huge impact on the lives of people you may never even meet.

The author is skilled at making you think one thing will happen and then surprising you with something completely different. In a way it reminded me a bit of the Final Destination films where you know something terrible is coming, you have multiple moments where you think you know what that will be and then suddenly you're blindsided by something you never even guessed at.

Mortal Chaos is a fast and addictive read that it is easy to devour in one sitting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex and compelling 15 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This complex and compelling book is written in a way that links the tiniest movement in one part of the world to an avalanche on the other side of the world. How that tiny flap of a newly hatched butterfly's wings manages to work its way across the world is told through multiple viewpoints and makes for compelling reading. I think Matt Dickenson must have had to cover his office walls in post-it notes just to keep track of the plot for this book. This book made me reflect on how everything in the world is connected and every action will affect not just one but many others, from animals to humans to industry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is amazing! It's really 'high concept' (chaos theory in novel form) and yet nobody could accuse it of being too 'commercial' (you know, that way people say it to mean poor quality or 'dumbed down'). Mortal Chaos is on the longlist for the Carnegie this year, which is what prompted me to shunt it up the TBR pile, after languishing on my Kindle.

The novel starts with a butterfly hatching, which startles a race horse in its training. This means that our focus shifts from the butterfly to the trainers working with the race horses. The whole novel is told in really short sections (most were just over a page on my Kindle), shifting focus from person to person using tiny links between them. One of the pleasures of this book is figuring out how different characters and stories may be linked, as it isn't always immediately apparent. As per the title, many of these plot threads are high octane and concerned with life and death scenarios: a climber on Mount Everest, a man setting off to bomb his ex-wife, boys in the woods with Daddy's shotgun.

The novel's pace is another strong point of interest. Who would have thought that a novel including a dozen or so different plot strands, with only tiny links between them, could be pacy? And yet it is. The snapshot chapters/sections help with this of course, as we effectively only see a single scene from each interlinked story before shifting focus again. This also helps to ensure (I think) that we don't get so bogged down in one angle that we forget the others. Again, I might have expected to find it challenging to keep up with so many different characters/plot threads, but it really isn't.

Just in case you're not sure, I'm strongly recommending this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get it right! 11 Sep 2012
By Wenlock
I have to say, that I enjoyed this book immensely.I liked the idea of setting it around the Butterfly Effect; the idea that one small action sets off a chain of events affecting people from all walks of life and from all over the world.

The short page chapters are good, it keeps the interest and before you know it, the book has gone. It is fast-paced and well written. Except for the racing scenes! Matt Dickinson obviously knows his stuff about flying and climbing: his knowledge shone through. But he really needs a few lessons about the turf. I know that it would pass over the average child who reads this book, but it really irritated me.
I thought the rest of it was brill and should grab avid and reluctant readers alike. Will catch up with his other titles.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Mortal chaos
I found this book quite dull as this is something I would not normally choose.i would recommend this book to children/young adults who like a bit of animal books
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Alright
I liked the choice of words but it wasn't my type.I'm all about possible adventures that can happen in real life.I think this is suitable for late teens.
Published 2 months ago by AnwR
4.0 out of 5 stars Mortal Chaos Book Review
Overall, I am very pleased with this book because Matt Dickinson is always keeping you wanting to read on and the excitement never goes. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sue Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jigsaw of Story
I thought this was a really original take on a story based on Chaos theory. I found the development of the narrative across so many different characters and situations a real page... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hawk
1.0 out of 5 stars light grey text on a kindle?
Whst genius decided that was a good idea? It is practically unreadable. Can't comment on the content. If it gets fixed, I'll try again.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Frankly Superb novel for all Ages
Although written to entertain a younger audience the book is original enough to suit any age group.
Conceptualising the butterfly effect. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dean Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
I really liked the twist of the book and how it is structured
I would defently recommend to children around age 10-13
Published 14 months ago by Rosie
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of threads coming together
What starts out as seemingly disparate threads of activity all converge in this novel. Its very well crafted and structured, but with the complexity and the amount of time given... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Shaun
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
the most emotion packed book i've ever read!*

*one tiny critision
it would be slightly better if you gave it a proper ending
Published 16 months ago by jeremy Price
1.0 out of 5 stars What a load of rubbish
This is a terrible book. I kept waiting for the story to develop, then I came to the end and thought "is that it?" It's as if he'd run out of steam and ideas. Read more
Published 16 months ago by SE COATES
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