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Murkmere Paperback – 13 May 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, 13 May 2004
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Age Range: 6 - 11 years
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (13 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340877901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340877906
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Fraught with fenland mist and magicm this supernatural thriller, set in a parallel world, is compassionate and original (The Times)

The plot is consistantly compelling and it never falters (Aisling O'Donoghue, aged 15 Irish News (Belfast))

A well-sustained fantasy with an intriguing plot and strong sense of place and time (School Librarian)

Elliott drops clever clues into her narrative and builds a suspenseful atmosphere...a well-sustained and spooky fantasy with an absorbing plot and a strong sense of character, place and time... A believable and shivery read. (Young Post in Honk Kong)

The story left me in suspense right until the very end and then told me everything (Katie Atkinson, aged 10 AQUILA)

This book was brilliant -- really reall good! The plot carried you through -- you couldn't put it down. Spooky! Read it! (Paula McGuire, Holy Rood High Teen Titles)

Elements of the fairytale combine with the darker side of human nature to make this book something oout of the ordinary (Newbury Weekly News)

Wonderful...this elegantly written and very atmospheric book will intrigue readers of ten plus (TES Teacher)

Patricia Elliott has an eviable way with words, a gift for the creation of memorable characters and an ability to keep the story going at a steady and unflagging pace (INIS)

A superbly written enchanting tale that keeps you hooked to the last page (The Eternal Night) (SFX Magazine)

Fraught with fenland mist and magic, this supernatural thriller ... is compassionate and original. (The Times)

An absorbing coming-of-age tale ... a gripping story. (Starred review, Publishers Weekly)

Compelling ... a salutary reminder to keep an eye on the children's bookshelves. (SFX magazine)

A well-sustained fantasy with an intriguing plot and strong sense of place and time. (School Librarian)

wonderful ... elegantly written and very atmospheric (TES Teacher)

This book was brilliant - really, really good! The plot carried you through - you couldn't put it down. Spooky! Read it! (Teen Titles)

Ambergate: 'This is a beautiful, compelling novel.' (Guardian)

Praise for The Ice Boy: 'A remarkable first novel ... here is a writer whom you can trust.' (Armadillo)

Elliott is one of [the Fidler Award's] worthiest winners. This atmospheric debut novel [is] heavy on Kleenex (The Glasgow Herald)

The standard of writing displayed by the winners of the Fidler Award is high, and 'The Ice Boy' is no exception. (Writers' News)

I've just read this book, which is sooo good ... I couldn't put it down. (Mizz magazine reader review)

Book Description

A dramatic, atmospheric, gothic masterpiece, from an award-winning author.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The author creates a superb atmosphere, as if the reader herself is being lifted gently through the mysterious frozen mists that float in and out of this frightening and beautiful book, drawing the reader gently, yet with an intense sense of foreboding, into the story. An unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar time is described which is nevertheless rooted firmly in an England long past. The theme of science verses religion is unpicked precisely as we get right inside the minds of an array of pious AND pioneering characters. A strongly themed book can die without the most important ingredient to a childrens/young adults novel: story. The plot here is tight and fast moving, the story riveting and the characters who play it out are some of the best realised in children's fiction. Absolutely brilliant stuff.
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By Chantal Lyons VINE VOICE on 15 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an impressive read. It's very easy to get into, and very hard to get out of. For a start I've never read another book where birds are worshipped and revered. It is also atmospheric, and although no other book has ever scared me, this one managed to once. It's a very descriptive and entrancing...definetly worth buying!
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Format: Paperback
Murkmere is the story of 15-year-old Aggie, who is summoned to Murkmere Hall from her village to be companion to the Master's ward, Leah. Aggie's mother was once a maid at the Hall, but she doesn't know what to expect when she arrives, and she finds a strange, dilapidated house dominated by the compelling Silas Seed, the crippled Master's steward and right-hand man in everything. Not only is he in charge of all the Master's affairs, he oversees the moral welfare of the servants, ensuring that the dictates of the Ministration are adhered to. At first Aggie is overwhelmed by the charismatic Silas, but gradually, as she tries to meet the challenges posed by her position as companion to the troubled, wayward Leah, she begins to question his actions and, almost despairingly, her own beliefs.

What lends this book a haunting quality is its setting in the English fenland, and its bird-inspired religion. Although there's not the technology to make it fit into the category, there's a darkly steampunk feel to it nonetheless, perhaps because we don't really know how the world came into being - there's a hint that it might be our world, changed after humans had somehow transformed themselves into the mysterious and reviled avia; the hypocritical Ministration, constantly on the watch for rebellion, certainly have resonances of the post-civil war period in England and the puritan protectorate. And the author makes clear in a brief note at the start: "The superstitions in this novel are found in British folklore", which makes it, for me at any rate, all the more powerful, harking back to first hearing of the story of the Children on Lir, and the hair rising on the back of my neck, because it seemed more like a memory than a new story.

The winter fenland, the swans that Leah must be kept away from, the Master's painful yearning after forbidden knowledge, the Ministration's duplicity and decadence - all combine to create a lyrical, wistful novel.
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By A Customer on 3 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written, full of fascinating detail with a plot that'll have both kids and their parents racing through the pages. I can't wait to read the sequel!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.8 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting 20 April 2014
By WORDMAN - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was winter in the fenland when I first walked through the gates at Murkmere Hall, and immediately lost myself within the captivating atmospheric ether of my surroundings.

This first person narrative is haunting and surrounds British folklore superstition. In particular, the Devine Beings: Birds of Light (robin, wren, swallow, martin, lark) versus Birds of Night (crow, raven, jackdaw, magpie, owl).

Summoned to be a companion to the heir apparent of the manor, young Agnes Cotter finds there is more within the dark dankness that surrounds her than meets the eye. Leah, the master’s ward, to whom Agnes is companion, wants nothing to do with Agnes. In fact, she wants only to be in the mere with her swans.

History draped in the myth of the Avia, Murkmere is a captivating read. I was drawn to all the characters through the skillful manipulation of words by this author. I enjoyed it all, the storyline; the descriptive passages; the characters; the folklore, everything enthralled me.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. 18 July 2014
By Samantha lee - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after I found out it was the official non-official first book before "Ambergate". It's a great read. Paperback. It did take awhile for delivery but arrived on time and in great condition.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 30 Nov. 2015
By Genevieve - Published on
Verified Purchase
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Different 30 July 2007
By N. Burt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would actually give this book 3 or 2.5 stars for the first few chapters then 5 stars for every other chapter. This book is set in a very different belief system then ours, based on birds, which is never really explained. It makes sense as the book goes along, but makes it hard to get into the story at first. It is a gloomy sort of slow to develope story, which does develope into a great story . . . if you stick with it. Its a good sort of Jane Eyre kind of gloom. Characters are not always what they seem, so stick with it and you will not be disappointed.
4.0 out of 5 stars More Like 3 1/2 Stars... 8 May 2011
By Beth - Published on
Format: Paperback
I would probably give this three and a half stars. There was a lot to like about the novel. It had a dark, creepy feeling to it, and Elliot definitely knows how to build suspense and tension within the story. I also like when a character grows and changes over the course of the story, and Aggie certainly does. I also thought the writing in general was beautiful. The opening paragraph was quite lovely and indicative of what was to come.

I have never been the biggest fan of stories that are narrated by someone other than who the story is truly about. So, it's really nothing against the book, it's just my personal preference. The story is narrated by Aggie, but, in truth, it's about Leah. I like Aggie very well, but Leah could have been the protagonist.

I also could have used a bit more world building, such as, more background of Aggie's life in the village and the beliefs of the "Ministration," the rule-makers of Aggie's world. In Aggie's world, birds are considered holy, but for me it was a little bit vague. When Aggie goes back to the village after being at Murkmere, I had no idea how to picture it or think about it besides in a general way.

I did enjoy the novel. It had some good things to say about freedom of choice and how events are all relative to the person's perspective. I wasn't sure in the end if Aggie still believed in the bird religion or not, but I guess it's okay to have that left up to the reader.

The companion to this novel, Ambergate, is at the local library, so I will definitely check that one out and read it as well.
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