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My Swordhand is Singing Paperback – 3 May 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842555588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842555583
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick used to work in children's publishing and before that he was a bookseller. He now happily writes full-time. His books have been shortlisted for many awards, including The Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Blue Peter Book Award, the Carnegie Medal and the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

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Review

'Marcus Sedgwick paints a chilling and irresistibly Gothic picture of the fight between good against evil. This book is tense, unnerving and well-structured - it scared me right to the end and I could not put it down.' -- Anna Hickling, LANCASHIRE REVIEWS OF THE YEAR

'a bloodthirsty tale which grips readers from the off.' -- Tom Lewis, WS Cheltenham, WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY

'Compelling and thought-provoking' -- Tom Gatti, THE TIMES

'Heart-stopping read' -- Amanda Craig, THE TIMES

'Thrilling and tautly written' -- THE TIMES

Book Description

An original interpretation of the timelessley fascinating vampire myth, and a story of father and son.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By S. Barnes on 20 May 2007
Format: Paperback
Beware. Not for the faint-hearted, younger readers & adults alike. Could cause nightmares in very sensitive young readers. However, for the bloodthirsty & adventurous, this is a great introduction to the classic gothic horror vampire story. Well-researched and based on many of the vampire myths emanating from Eastern Europe, you won't find here the well-dressed suave and sophisticated vampire, but rather the more "realistic" (if possible) vampire based on centuries of folklore and legend.

Peter is a young wood-cutter, living with his father Tomas, on the outskirts of a small village in a forested area of an Eastern European (presumed) country. His mother died in childbirth & Peter and his father have roamed for many years before building themselves a home near this place. Peter does much of the work as his dad is an alcoholic but he has a sweetheart in the village, Agnes, and the two of them seem quite content until some strange deaths start occurring in the village.... Then some travelling gypsies arrive, including the beautiful Sofia, and the dead don't seem to be staying in their graves....

This novel should have wide appeal to different ages & is an interesting addition to vampire literature. A good read.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
Marcus Sedgwick's MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING is a dark novel with a heavy emphasis on thick, snowy forests of Eastern Europe, gypsies, and superstitious town folk. It is the perfect setting for a scary story, but it is also much, much more.

Tomas and his teenage son, Peter, are a pair of traveling woodcutters with a mysterious past that settle down in the village of Chust one winter. Before long a string a deaths strike the village. Peter is perturbed by the villagers' strange reactions to the occurrences. When he asks Tomas about them, his father brushes away his questions as silly folk lore. However, Tomas is also doing his own share of strange things, like digging a trench around their home and filling it with moving water. When Agnes, a girl Peter likes, is symbolically married to a dead man and shut up in a remote hut, Peter tries to rescue her and runs into a monster.

Sedgwick takes pains to distance his tale from the gentleman bloodsucker that Anne Rice and authors like her have embedded into pop culture. The word "vampire" is never mentioned and the vampires, themselves, have varying appearances throughout the novel. He does a great job at weaving various and sometimes seemingly paradoxical pieces of folk lore. This gives the story a great sense of immediacy and realism. Sedgwick also shifts the focus from vampires to people who have to deal with terrifying occurrences at home. The buildup of the growing atmosphere of fear and denial will have readers biting their fingernails.

Marcus Sedgwick seems to take a lot of risks in writing this atypical, historically rich vampire novel. Central to the story line is not the relationship between a human and vampire or a girl and a boy (a la Buffy and Angel), but a wounded relationship between father and son.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Toby Andersen on 12 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
A creepy vampire chiller, from Marcus Sedgewick, My Swordhand is Singing is an interesting emalgamation of myriad old vampire myths - brought together in a spare crisp winter world with an interesting, if simple plot.
The vampires are what's quite refreshing about this young adult novel - they aren't your modern, swarve, eroticised dark lovers - these vampires (never referred to as such) are more akin to half-zombies with a penchant for blood. They are animalistic, yet intelligent and organized. almost none of the modern banes of the vamp are used here either - rather the bok is a hark back to old medieval European vamp tales, which makes it seems nice and original.
Overall it is a good book, however, i did have problems with the quite dull 1st half of the book - where almost nothing happens bar exposition - and the dull, 2D lead character.
readable and eerie, but not scary, it has some great images, but they are too sparse. And the book could well have benefitted from being half its 200 page length.
6/10
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. J. Read on 12 Feb 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a dark novel based around the true beginnings for the vampire legends which made their way out of eastern Europe in the 17th century, and as such has a slightly educational value to it. There are no slick counts in haunted castles here, the vampies of bloated corpses.

It tells the story of a drunkard woodcutter and his son (the names elude me), who have never settled in any village. They have built a house in the forest with a moat, away from the nearby village, and are treated as outcasts, outsiders. There have been a number of mysterious deaths, rather brutal and grisly, which seem to make no sense.

The protagonist is in love with a girl called Agnes, though he is forced to question this when a bewitching Gypsy arrives with her family. But in true vampyrric tradition, those slain do not rest easy in their graves, and prowl the streets and forests. It seems they are the minions of the Shadow Queen, and her power is waxing.

The hero is forced to try to defend Agnes who, being forced to marry a corpse (it will make sense) she is forced into a mourning isolation. Suffice to say she is a prime target for the blood thirsty creatures who seek to be invited into her hut. There are some rather novel ways by which the living can protect themselves, forget the garlic, give a vampire a piece of charcoal and he must write with it until it is exhausted. This is an example of the historical gems which are hidden among the all too few pages of this book.

Meanwhile the mysterious Gypsies are beseiging our hero's home, trying to steal the sword which his father has hidden all these years from his son, so that they can put a stop to this scourge.
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