The Murdstone Trilogy
By Mal Peet
Published by David Fickling Books
ISBN 978 1 910200 21 6
Top YA novelist, Mal Peet's superb The Murdstone Trilogy is a novel about a novelist writing a novel, and it's a clever, laugh-out-loud and thrilling book that will be enjoyed by teens and adults who have a taste for dark comedy mixed with no-holds-barred storytelling.
How difficult is it to write a fantasy novel? The fantasy shelves in any bookshop are groaning with titles fighting to be best-sellers, and Game of Thrones is the most popular TV series in the world.
There is no doubt that this genre of fiction sells, but back to the original question: How hard is to for a writer to break into that world and pen a bestseller? Author Philip Murdstone needs to know. He has written five well-received YA novels with normal boys as the central characters. But although his books have won awards, none of them has been a bestseller or been picked up by a TV or film company. Perhaps it's time for him to think about writing a different type of fiction?
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Murdstone's agent insists that he abandon his usual genre if either of them is ever to earn any serious money. She convinces him that his only hope is to write a sword-and-sorcery bestseller. Murdstone knows what she means, but there is one very big problem: he hates fantasy fiction. He hates dragons, sorcerers, dwarves and talismans of all sizes and shapes. When his agent says she wants him to write a fantasy trilogy, Murdstone feels like giving up writing altogether.
The author lives in the depths of the lonely English countryside, a perfect setting for a creative type who needs peace and quiet. One night, he is interrupted. An odd, dwarfish creature who calls himself Pocket Wellfair appears on the doorstep with an offer: he will provide the desperate author with the best fantasy novel ever written if Murdstone will help him find a magic amulet hidden in the real world. But there will be a price to pay if Murdstone fails.
The Murdstone Trilogy is a stand-alone novel that will appeal to both fantasy-haters and fantasy-fans because of its cleverness and originality. Peet really revels in mocking the fantasy genre, and also in telling the tale that Wellfair/Murdstone cobble together and turn into a literary sensation.
This book is enormous fun. It is an inventive crossover novel between young adult and adult fiction. It does contain adult themes, violence and adult language unsuitable for younger readers, but which mature teens will accept as part of the overall entertaining mission of the book.
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