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The Twyning [Kindle Edition]

Terence Blacker
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 400 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

What WATERSHIP DOWN did for rabbits, THE TWYNING will do for the kingdom of rats.

A story of love, war and rats...

This is the story of Efren, a young ratling born into the Court of Tasting, in the kingdom of rats below the city streets. The kingdom is in turmoil after the death of the old king, assassinated by a human scientist, Dr Henry Ross-Gibbon. Obsessed by an ambition to exterminate all rats, the doctor is assisted by Dogboy, an abandoned thirteen-year-old with a gift for understanding animals. Soon a war to the death rages between the rat kingdom and its mortal enemy: humankind.

Hurt and alone, Efren finds shelter with Dogboy and his friend Caz, a runaway eleven-year-old girl. And between these unlikely allies a spark is ignited - first of communication, then of hope. This tumultuous story of creatures caught up in a pitiless war transcends the barriers between animals and humans. What Watership Down did for rabbits, THE TWYNING will do for the kingdom of rats.

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Product Description


'This novel deserves praise and prizes ... powerful stuff and as much a Watership Down for our time as an alternative to the popular Redwall series ... Bravo!' The Times.

'Skilful plotting, brisk narrative and sharply drawn characters put us firmly on the side of the ratpack and its gripping tale of apocalypse and triumph' Daily Mail.

'Inspired. A much needed bit of rodent PR' The Sunday Herald.

'a thoughtful, pacey adventure with a knack for conveying a rat's-eye-view' SFX.

'The much maligned rat emerges as an intelligent and sensitive creature in this exciting novel' Independent.

About the Author

Terence Blacker is a columnist for the Independent and has written many books for adults and children. He is an active member of English PEN.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 939 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (20 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #188,124 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The war on rats is here 4 Jan. 2013
By Curiosity Killed The Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Dogboy lives in the dump with his best friend Caz. He earns pennies to feed them both by assisting the rat-catcher Bill Grubstaff. When he is offered work by a local scientist, he is soon drawn into a plot to declare war on rats. Below ground the rats are mourning the loss of their king and preparing to crown his successor. Young taster Efren, goes against the rules of the kingdom and follows his old king above ground, only to witness his capture and resulting torture. By the very man now employing Dogboy. As their two worlds cross paths, both sides are preparing to do battle.

Never has the death of rats been so upsetting. The dual narrative of The Twyning means the story is told from both human and rodent perspectives and boy, are those perspectives different. I loved the contrast in perception between the two. Above ground rats are a problem and killing them a normal every day act. Even our human protagonist is an assistant to a rat-catcher but he is never portrayed as evil. Down below, the rats see humans as the enemy (rightly so) but they also have their own social structure and governance. Their society is shown not to be better than humanity but in parallel to it. One regime may be fair and just but the next is corrupt and oppressive.

I found the rats remained rattish throughout. To get round communication problems, Blacker has made them communicate through a form of telepathy (hey, we can't prove otherwise and real rats do use a supersonic form of communication). So no, there are not really talking rats, something their anatomy wouldn't allow. Even their "pulse" is a real thing, a distress signal that rats send out when they need help. OK I'm starting to become fascinated by rats now!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far more different from the norm 21 Jan. 2013
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I love a book that is different to the norm and to be honest that is exactly what this is, as a tale told from two perspectives being that of our human lead, Dogboy and that of rats. Yes you read that right, rats. Its definitely something quirky and whilst the author has made both come across in an easy to understand manner it's a book that reminds me of films like "Phase IV" being so off the wall that there's really nothing else like it out there.

Add to the mix subtle direction by the author, some wonderful turns of phrase and a novel that really makes you think and I was more than pleased that I took the time to read this. All round a solid enough book that will make me seek out other titles by this author.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too bloodthirsty for an animal lover 25 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Twyning is a book about the rats war with humans.

Firstly, I have to say that I can NOT abide cruelty to animals. I know this a book about war, but it really doesn't have to include half the "sport" stuff that it does, for as long as intricately detailed it is. This really didn't settle well with me, which is a real shame, as the actual context of the book and the interactions between the rat community is inventive and highly intriguing.

I didn't really understand the concept (or the reason) for the Twyning itself, as most of the book is centred around the male and female child characters, who are well written and personable when you get used to them, as is Efren the "lead" rat in the book.

Sadly, this is less a book about a rat war and more a reason to kill hundreds of thousands of harmless creatures by use of the written word and therefore is the reason I struggled to get to the end of this otherwise interesting read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional 15 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wow. I bought this book on a Kindle daily deal and was not sure what to expect. I noted the mention of a similarity to Watership Down and as this had been one of my favourite books I looked forward to reading The Twyning. It gives an insight into the social structure of a colony of rats and makes a comparison between the rats and humans. We are not that much different really - both can be cruel and thoughtless but can also be loving and compassionate. It is wonderful to see the relationship between Dogboy and Caz (The child humans) and between Efran and Malaika (the rats) and to see how their relationships become entwined so that when the going gets really tough they work together to help each other. This book is totally intriguing and I could not put it down. Well worth a read - you will not be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down! 14 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well told and well written, this dark but hopeful tale will delight children of all ages, as "all is bad that ends well". It merges the classic story of a couple of Dickensian orphans who face terrible hardships but finally emerge triumphant, with a foray into the "fantasy-land" of antropomorphised rats who can talk to each other (and to some humans) through some sort of telepathy (or "revealing", as it is called in the book). The main characters, whether human or beast, are so expertly drawn that you cannot help but be interested in their fates. I was so engrossed in the story for 2 days that I almost missed my train station - twice!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down 24 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The swift changes between the human world and the rat world pulled me in and kept me wanting to know what was coming next. A great way of showing how similar we really all are when put in a difficult situation. I certainly felt sympathetic towards the humans but could also empathize with the rats.

As happy as I was with the ending I was also saddened that such a brilliant book had come to an end. Might have to go and find my own Efron now. I will never think of rats in the same way again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual story
Having spent year working with pest control I developed a love of rodents and their intelligence and cleanliness ! I became absorbed in the book. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Miss Sharon Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars easy read
If you liked The Rats and Lair by James Herbert you will love this, it is an easy read and you find yourself warming to the ways of the rats.
Published 23 months ago by G J GILLINGS
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual and interesting
A good story told from an interesting point of view. Well written and entertaining. If you want a decent book to wile away a few hours on holiday perhaps, try the Twyning, I don't... Read more
Published on 28 Aug. 2013 by Mr Stephen Morrissey
3.0 out of 5 stars Rat lovers, beware
I think I've noticed a trend in the other reviews here. Those who score it highly seem to be unfamiliar with rats, and they're intrigued and surprised by the appealingly complex... Read more
Published on 21 Aug. 2013 by L. E. Nohr
3.0 out of 5 stars Watership down it isnt!
Quite bizarre! I downloaded this at it sounded like a totally different read that could be interesting. Read more
Published on 11 Jun. 2013 by Loppylou
2.0 out of 5 stars Good concept, disgustingly violent at times
The book was completely overshadowed by the frequent descriptions of bloody violence and killing of rats. Read more
Published on 27 May 2013 by Book Worm
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written just not much to say
This book should not be compared to Watership Down, far it's superior. Although the book is well written, it has very little to say, curiously light in content though heavy going. Read more
Published on 25 May 2013 by C J Goslin
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual story
I enjoyed this as i found the idea of the story quite refreshing,and i found myself on the side of the rats!!
Published on 17 May 2013 by Bookreader
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
Interesting and entirely real. I could not put it down. It was well written. I lived every day in it.
Published on 14 May 2013 by Hemeson Anthony
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Completely different to anything I would normally read, but this story had me completely hooked till the end. A must read!
Published on 27 April 2013 by Helen
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