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Mortlock Hardcover – 5 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (5 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408803925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408803929
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 671,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Mayhew hails from the misty marshes of Wirral,in the UK, described as a haunt of 'godless people' even in the days of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight! He spent most of his childhood playing in the ruins of a Victorian zoo and when he wasn't doing that, he was writing or telling stories. He loves traditional music and running too... which you'd realise is a useful combination if you'd heard him play the mandolin.

His first book, "Mortlock," was published by Bloomsbury in April 2010 and he is currently engaged in selling it by hand at any school, bookshop, folk festival, flower show, museum that'll have him.

Jon's second book for Bloomsbury, The Demon Collector is published in March 2011.

Jon's website:
Mortlock website:

Product Description


`An accomplished page-turner . . . lighthanded, scary fun, with some sibling bickering thrown in' --SFX

`Mortlock is a thrilling adventure from start to finish' --SciFi Now

`Mayhew has woven a rich tapestry depicting a series of convincing worlds . . . It has a breathtaking pace [and there] are characters we hope to meet again'
--Children's Book of the Month, The Observer

'If you are looking for a creepy chill to your summer reading, stop right here...Beware - magic and mystery awaits!' --National Geographic Kids

'A fine creation' --Guardian

'An enjoyable, fast-paced adventure full of dark humour that manages to be both scary and fun' --Bookfest

`Mortlock is a thrilling adventure from start to finish' --SciFi Now

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize and nominated for the 2011 Branford Boase Award

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror meets Indiana Jones. Mortlock is macabre, darkly humorous, masterfully written and . . . brilliant. A superlative adventure peppered with deadly thrills and traditional death rhymes
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kirsty at the Overflowing Library VINE VOICE on 30 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one creepy book and while it was good it really wasn't for me as it was a bit too creepy and gory.

The novel is set in Victorian London and follows the story of orphaned twins Josie and Alfie as they try to uncover the mystery of a secret connected to their past, that has been passed on to them in in a note by Josie's dying guardian.

The story starts off at break neck pace and keeps it up throughout with engaging twists and turns. Despite being totally freaked out at some of the passages (there are some truly horrible descriptions of evil birds attacking people) I had to keep reading to find out what happened. The most disturbing bits for me had to be when anyone was stuck in a house with the aunts and the section at the circus. It is quite a feat to freak me out but this book did it.

My historical head loved the setting of Victorian London with the descriptions of East End living and the truly horrible conditions people endured.

Definitely not one for younger readers as there is a lot of gore throughout The story is very macabre throughout and despite me not being keen on some of the content it is actually written very well. . The final ending was good (albeit still freakishly creepy) as it brought everything together well (I do like a nice ending which answers everything) and summed up and finished the story nicely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr H - Book Zone (For Boys) Blog on 6 April 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a dark and twisted horror story in a glorious Victorian setting; it is so good that I am still struggling to believe that this is Jon Mayhew's debut novel.

This is a stunning story and, cliched though this may sound, you really will not want to put it down. Read it on the train and you will probably miss your station; read it at night and before you know it will be the early hours of the morning (and then you won't dare turn off the lights for fear that those noises outside or in the attic may be the scratching beaks or talons of the abominable Ghuls). The pacing of the story drew me in right from the very start, and with all the requisite peaks and troughs to keep the tension mounting throughout the book I found myself on one hell of an escapist ride.

Mr Mayhew obviously put a great deal of time and effort into researching this story. His atmospheric descriptions of the Victorian locations and characters reminded me very much of the work of a couple of my all-time favourite writers, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe. The villains created by the author would also sit very well in a Poe horror story - the three Aunts that turn into the flesh-eating raven-like monsters are evil personified, and once they morph into these awful creatures and attack their victims the author is not afraid to continue with the detailed descriptive writing. There is certainly no attempt to patronise his audience by sanitising these scenes; they are gory and will keep the hearts of horror fans beating rapidly. Whatsmore, unlike some horror authors, Mr Mayhew doesn't go over the top by including too many of these gory moments - just enough to keep the tension at explosive levels whenever the Ghuls appear.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DangerMouse on 19 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
I am 7 years old and I recently read Mortlock.

Mortlock is an exiting thriller, containing lots of blood and gore!

These are the things I enjoyed the most about Mortlock -

The words he uses paint vivid pictures which helps bring the story to life.

Each character has a major part to play and has exciting skills and jobs.

Each story component creates an exiting, complicated story structure

The similar rhythm and darkness of the poems help to create a bleak atmosphere.

The gore adds to the dark tone of the story also.

Personally I think Jon Mayhew is a fantastic author.
I'd love to know what inspired the author to write this book.

Arjun, age 7
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elsie on 4 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I thought Mortlock wasn't a great book for one I thought the crows where a bit too violent. Also it didn't connect me with the main characters.I like it when the book views back into the characters past or at least tells you what happened to them and why. This is why I didn't enjoy the book.


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Format: Hardcover
I find it really hard to give a rating to Mortlock as I'm torn to whether or not I liked this novel.

On the one hand, it's fantastically atmospheric. The story paints a grim vision of Victorian London and the story's strong Gothic elements make it very eerie. It also has a surprisingly complex plot, containing many twists and threads which all come together neatly over the final act.

However, the story is incredibly slow moving times. After the exciting opening chapters, the novel began to lose my interest about 100 pages in. Although there were a few wonderful chase sequences after this, it never managed to fully grasp me again. It takes 300 pages to build to the climax and then resolves itself over 30, leaving me disappointed as it really did feel as though a lot of the earlier meandering was completely without purpose.

I also did not really like either protagonist. Josie was brave enough but never seemed to resolve anything by herself. All obstacles that she faced, including the climax, were largely resolved by other people (often due to them coincidentally being in the right place at the right time). Alfie was not much better. While his cockney accent gave him some faux charm, he did not have much personality and even his powers ceased to be used after the halfway mark. The only characters I really did enjoy were the adults - Chrimes, Corvis and Mortlock. I loved the fact that they all had different motivations for seeking the Amarant, as it showed a wide variety of human vices and their unique characters showed through their reasoning for wanting the cheat death.

Finally, I feel that I should warn people that this novel is really quite gory.
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