I'm the King of the Castle

I'm the King of the Castle

3.4 (2,118 ratings by Goodreads)
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'I didn't want you to come here.' So says the note that the boy Edmund Hooper passes to Charles Kingshaw upon his arrival at Warings. But young Kingshaw and his mother have come to live with Hooper and his father in the ugly, isolated Victorian house for good. To Hooper, Kingshaw is an intruder, a boy to be subtly persecuted, and Kingshaw finds that even the most ordinary object can be turned by Hooper into a source of terror. In Hang Wood their roles are briefly reversed, but Kingshaw knows Hooper will never let him be. Kingshaw cannot win, not in the last resort. He knows it, and so does Hooper. And the worst is still to come...This extraordinary, evocative novel boils over with the terrors of childhood and won the Somerset Maugham Award. 'Hill's exploration of a juvenile ghoul and his natural prey is a brilliant tour de force' Guardianshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 18mm | 158.76g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0140034919
  • 9780140034912
  • 132,032

About Susan Hill

Susan Hill was born in Scarborough in 1942, and educated at grammar schools there and in Coventry. She read English at King's College, London, of which she is now a Fellow. As well as I'm the King of the Castle, her novels include Strange Meeting, The Bird of Night, In the Springtime of the Year, Air and Angels, The Service of Clouds,The Various Haunts of Men, The Pure in Heart, The Rise of Darkness, The Beacon, The Vows of Silence and The Small Hand. She has written several volumes of short stories, including A Bit of Singing and Dancing; two ghost novels, The Woman in Black and The Mist in the Mirror; and a number of stories for children. Her autobiographical books are The Magic Apple Tree and Family. She is married with two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk.show more

Review Text

Boys will be boys, but in England, with the reminder of Lord of the Flies and If, they seem to be a class apart, a law unto themselves, and the perpetrator-victims of monstrous malevolence. Thus Miss Hill's spare and unsparing account of the enforced relationship of motherless Edmund Hooper and fatherless Charles Kingshaw after Mrs. Kingshaw becomes Mr. Hooper's housekeeper hoping at last to find a home for herself and young Charles. Edmund greets the newcomer with hostility; terrifies him with dead moths and a stuffed crow; locks him up in the rooms of the large, isolated house; and baits and bullies him on every occasion. Charles decides to run away and Edmund follows him through the spectral Hang Wood where Edmund, also susceptible to terror, has an accident. Later he attempts to follow Charles up on the parapet of a castle and again, frozen in fear, falls - unfortunately not to his death. Finally with Mrs. Kingshaw's marriage to Mr. Hooper, Charles can see only one alternative to his entrapment. . . . Miss Hill's misbegotten little blighters are not particularly prepossessing or pitiable but one reads their story fastened on to the inevitable worst in whatever form it will take. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,118 ratings
3.4 out of 5 stars
5 19% (393)
4 32% (675)
3 29% (614)
2 13% (272)
1 8% (164)
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