The Kiss of Death

The Kiss of Death

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Marcus Sedgwick

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Product description

Marcus Sedgwick's tale of Venice and vampires is a captivating companion volume to the bestselling My Swordhand is Singing. Marko and Sorrel meet in Venice for the first time. They must uncover the mystery of what has happened both to Sorrel's father, plagued by a strange madness that prevents him from sleeping, and to Marko's father, a doctor, who has mysteriously gone missing after travelling to Venice to help his old friend. Years on from My Swordhand is Singing and Peter is still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. His search leads him to Venice, a city whose beauty disguises many ugly secrets. The Shadow Queen is there, gathering strength, recruiting a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation. This fabled city with its lapping waterways, its crumbling magnificence, dark, twisting alleyways and surprising piazzas is the perfect setting for Marcus's captivating gothic novel of love and loss in C18th Venice.

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Author information

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. Marcus lives in Cambridge and has a teenage daughter, Alice. Find his website at and follow him on Twitter @marcussedgwick

Customer reviews

By Annabel Gaskell 13 May 2009 5

Now this is a proper novel about vampires - and they don't even make an appearance properly until later in the book. It's also a proper book about Venice, set during the end of the winter carnevale - approaching the start of Lent, when Venice becomes a masked city of revellers.

Marko, a doctor's son, comes to Venice after receiving a strange letter from his father Alessandro, who had travelled there to attend an old friend Simono, a glassmaker, who was seriously ill. When he arrives, he finds his father has disappeared, Simono has gone mad and his daughter Sorrel is at the end of her tether, worried that her father will die and that their house is cursed.

Strange things are happening in and around Venice involving a band of celebrants with a strange tattoo.They will come to a head during the festival when the new Doge takes his seat, and it seems that Simono is somehow involved in these events. It becomes a race against time for Sorrel and Marko, (who as you may expect, begin to fall for each other) to solve the mystery and to find Alessandro.

This Gothic 18thC Venice in winter is wonderfully realised. You can smell the stench, hear the water constantly lapping on the piles, and feel the damp and gathering dread in the fog. It's also all the better for the vampires coming from Eastern Europe folklore, rather than any modern romantic interpretation. This is a sophisticated novel for teens steeped in a sense of time and place, and a cracking good adventure.

Review quote

My Sword is Singing was a great, bloodthirsty romp through the Vampire genre, and the sequel is just as gripping (and nasty). Teenagers will love this -- Jon Hamblin DAD'S SPACE