My Swordhand is Singing
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My Swordhand is Singing

By (author) Marcus Sedgwick

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In the bitter cold of an unrelenting winter Tomas and his son, Peter, arrive in Chust and despite the inhospitability of the villagers settle there as woodcutters. Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why his father has done this, nor why his father carries a long battered box everywhere they go, and why he is forbidden to know its contents. But when a band of gypsies comes to the village Peter's drab existence is turned upside down. He is infatuated by the beautiful gypsy princess, Sofia, intoxicated by their love of life and drawn into their deadly quest. For these travellers are Vampire Slayers and Chust is a dying community - where the dead come back to wreak revenge on the living. Amidst the terrifying events that follow, Peter is stunned to see his father change from a disillusioned man to the warrior hero he once was. Marcus draws on his extensive research of the vampire legend and sets his story in the forbidding and remote landscapes of the 17th century. Written in his usual distinctive voice, this is also the story of a father and his son, of loss, redemption and resolution.

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 20mm | 240.4g
  • 03 May 2007
  • Hachette Children's Group
  • Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London
  • English
  • 12 Line Drawing(s)
  • 1842555588
  • 9781842555583
  • 178,926

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Author Information

Marcus Sedgwick is a full time author. His first novel, Floodland, won the Branford Boase Award for the best debut children's novel of 2000. Since then his books have been shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award, the Costa Book Award, the Carnegie Medal and the Edgar Allan Poe Award. He lives near Cambridge. Find his website at www.marcussedgwick.com and follow him on Twitter @marcussedgwick.

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Review quote

'a bloodthirsty tale which grips readers from the off.' -- Tom Lewis, WS Cheltenham WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY '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 'Compelling and thought-provoking' -- Tom Gatti THE TIMES 'Thrilling and tautly written' THE TIMES 'Heart-stopping read' -- Amanda Craig THE TIMES

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Review text

Effective gothic horror with a mystical touch. In 17th-century Europe, young Peter and his alcoholic father, Tomas, have settled down for longer than their transient life usually allows. They live in a vast forest, cutting wood for nearby villagers, but are always estranged. An eerie sense of menace haunts the area. Two bizarre and gruesome murders in a short time couldn't be due to wolves, but Tomas insists that whispers of supernatural danger are mere superstition. Then, because one victim was unmarried, Peter's friend Agnes is forced into a Wedding of the Dead and stowed away for 40 horrifying days of symbolic mourning. Visiting her cabin secretly, Peter confronts the chilling truth: Undead corpses are rising from graves, killing and recruiting more and more humans. Led by new friend Sofia and her Gypsy caravan, Peter and his historically unreliable father find that their only hope lies in a singular old sword and an ancient song with lyrics confronting the emotional essence of the zombie-vampires. Underlying tenderness, overt chills. (author's note) (Fantasy. YA) (Kirkus Reviews)

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