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Murkmere Paperback – 13 May 2004
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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)
Compelling...vivid...rich (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)
A dramatic, atmospheric, gothic masterpiece, from an award-winning author.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
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.
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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