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Abhorsen (Abhorsen Series #3)

Abhorsen (Abhorsen Series #3)

4.8 327
by Garth Nix

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The apocalyptic conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Abhorsen series—an epic fantasy experience not to be missed.

The Abhorsen Sabriel and King Touchstone are missing, leaving only Lirael—newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting—to stop the Destroyer. If Orannis's unspeakable powers are unleashed, it will


The apocalyptic conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Abhorsen series—an epic fantasy experience not to be missed.

The Abhorsen Sabriel and King Touchstone are missing, leaving only Lirael—newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting—to stop the Destroyer. If Orannis's unspeakable powers are unleashed, it will mean the end of all Life. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the help of her companions, Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget, Lirael must search in both Life and Death for some means to defeat the evil destructor—before it is too late. . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
PW called this "a riveting continuation of the story begun in Sabriel and Liraed. At once an allegory regarding war and peace and a testament to friendship, this is a thought-provoking fantasy." Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Lirael's former life as a Second Assistant Librarian bears no resemblance to her sudden "promotion" to Abhorsen-in-Waiting. In a time when magic, good and evil are all powerful forces, Lirael must take on the responsibility to maintain the borders of Life and Death—essentially protecting all the world from nothingness and death. With an unlikely group of traveling companions—her cousin Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and the cat Mogget—Lirael races against the evil plot of the sorcerer Hedge who plans to reunite a device that will unleash terror and destruction on the world. As she struggles with this momentous task, she must also come to understand her own abilities and accept her future. A sequel to Sabriel and Lirael, Abhorsen will delight Nix's dedicated fans. Similar to Tamora Pierce's engaging heroines, this fantasy novel provides readers with a view of a strong, quick-thinking, compassionate young woman who triumphs against seemingly impossible odds. 2003, EOS/HarperCollins, Ages 14 up.
— Leah Hanson
Readers of Sabriel (HarperCollins, 1996/VOYA April 1997) and Lirael (2001/VOYA August 2001) will welcome the chance to return to the world of necromancers, Charter signs, and Free Magic, where the Dead threaten the living, and where Lirael, Abhorsen-in-training, and Sam, son of Sabriel and Touchstone, face a fearsome task. The monstrously corrupt necromancer Hedge and his loathsome army of the Dead want to release a dormant and unspeakable evil capable of destroying all life. The young people, although struggling to overcome their fear and self-doubt, have help in their task. Lirael enjoys the support of her companion of the heart, the Disreputable Dog, a delightful combination of rollicking canine and fearsome elemental. Sam must make do with the grudging assistance of spoiled white cat Mogget, really a spirit bound to the service of the Abhorsens. These two, along with Sam's friend Nick, have peculiarly important roles to play in the destruction of Hedge's power. This tale is a brilliant mix of subtlety and tension, darkness and light. Cliff-hanging action combines with Gothic gloom, occasionally leavened by flashes of wit that are usually courtesy of the sparring between Mogget and the Dog. Nix's Old Kingdom is a world as fully realized as Narnia or Cittagazze, peopled by strong and believable human and nonhuman characters. The poignant yet hopeful ending hints at a possible return to the Old Kingdom. Readers should be familiar with the two previous volumes before choosing this book. Libraries can expect heavy demand from impatient fans of the series. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, HarperCollins, 368p, Hansen <%ISBN%>0060278250
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Garth Nix's trilogy comes to a dramatic and apocalyptic close, with all the clever plot twists and inventive voicings by Tim Curry that made Sabriel and Lirael (both 2002) award winners. In this segment, both Sabriel and Lirael, the latter now elevated to the powerful rank of Abhorsen (a kind of magician) in Nix's parallel world, have important roles-but so do Sabriel's son Sam, Mog the cat, and a ubiquitous and charming creature known affectionately as the "disreputable dog." Nix's imagined world seems to be situated near the time of our own turn from 19th to 20th century, the perfect backdrop for a classic theme, played out refreshingly within this story: the perils and the promises of technology. Magic, the antithesis of human ingenuity, flows both for the good and against it. The forces of evil are able to swell the ranks of their army through the recycling of dead folks into almost-invulnerable foot soldiers. Besides death and the good vs evil struggle, another folk motif brought into focus here is that of friendship: Sam's lifelong friend, Nicholas, literally must lay down his life in the course of the action. Abhorsen is an excellent denouement for a fantasy that is both literary and popularly accessible. Out loud, the powers of this future classic are intensified, especially through Curry's inspired dramatization.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nix (Lirael, 2001, etc.) brings his trilogy to a literally earth-shattering conclusion. Action explodes from the very first pages as King Touchstone and Abhorsen Sabriel are targeted for assassination while on embassy to Ancelstierre. On the other side of the Wall, in the magical Old Kingdom, Prince Sameth and newly proclaimed Abhorsen-in-Waiting Lirael race frantically to rescue Sam's school friend Nick from the sinister clutches of the necromancer Hedge and his plot to unleash the Destroyer from a prison forged before the beginning of time. While the accelerating tension leaves little room for introspective character development, Lirael discards diffidence for decisiveness as she grows into her new duties, as the formerly feckless Sam, freed from the awful burden of fear, discovers confidence in his role as Wallmaker. But their mysterious Free Magic companions-the enigmatically feline Mogget and the effervescently canine Disreputable Dog-still steal the show, even as their secrets are slowly revealed. Despite constant weariness, despair, and attacks from Hedge's monstrous Dead minions, the priceless value of the Life they champion shines through small lapidary moments: a handclasp with a friend, a lick from the Dog, a shared tin of sardines. Terror, courage, bitterness, love, desperation, and sacrifice all swirl together in an apocalyptic climax that pits both Life and Death together against the destruction of everything. Even as Nix neatly ties off all the dangling plot threads, he hints that there are plenty of stories left to tell about the Old Kingdom. This one is breathtaking, bittersweet, and utterly unforgettable. (Fiction. YA)
“What makes Lirael a delight is the magic that Nix brings to his story and to his characters.”
Philip Pullman
“Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. Here is a world with the same solidity and four dimensional authority as our own, created with invention, clarity, and intelligence. I congratulate Garth Nix. And I look forward to reading his next piece of work.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“More than three hundred pages of breathless chases, near escapes, and intense confrontations. Nix’s intricately imagined fantasy world is peopled by complex players worthy of both their dramatic backdrops and their moral dilemmas.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Abhorsen Series , #3
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Sales rank:
890L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Garth Nix

Rebound by Sagebrush

Copyright ©2004 Garth Nix
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0613835727

Chapter One

A House Besieged

There was another fog, far away from the smog of Corvere. Six hundred miles to the north, across the Wall that separated Ancelstierre from the Old Kingdom. The Wall where the Old Kingdoms magic really began and Ancelstierre's modern technology failed.

This fog was different from its far-southern cousin. It was not white but the dark grey of a storm cloud, and it was completely unnatural. This fog had been spun from air and Free Magic and was born on a hilltop far from any water. It survived and spread despite the heat of a late-spring afternoon, which should have burned it into nothing.

Ignoring sun and light breezes, the fog spread from the hill and rolled south and east, thin tendrils creeping out in advance of the main body. Half a league on from the hill, one of these tendrils separated into a cloud that rose high in the air and crossed the mighty river Ratterlin. Once across, it sank to sit like a toad on the eastern bank, and new fog begun to puff out of it.

Soon the two arms of fog shrouded both western and eastern shores of the Ratterlin, though the sun still shone on the river in between.

Both river and fog sped at their very different paces towards the Long Cliffs. The river dashed along, getting faster and faster as it headed to the great waterfall,where it would plunge down more than a thousand feet. The fog was slow and threatening. It thickened and rose higher as it rolled on.

A few yards before it reached the Long Cliffs, the fog stopped, though it still grew thicker and rose higher, threatening the island that sat in the middle of the river and on the edge of the waterfall. An island with high white walls that enclosed a house and gardens.

The fog did not spread across the river, nor lean in too far as it rose. There were unseen defenses that held it back, that kept the sun shining on the white walls, the gardens, and the red-tiled house. The fog was a weapon, but it was only the first move in a battle, only the beginning of a siege. The battle lines were drawn and the House invested.

For the whole river-circled isle was Abhorsen's House. Home to the Abhorsen, whose birthright and charge was to maintain the borders of Life and Death. The Abhorsen, who used necromantic bells and Free Magic, but who was neither necromancer nor Free Magic sorcerer. The Abhorsen, who sent any Dead who trespassed in Life back to whence they came.

The creator of the fog knew that the Abhorsen was not actually in the House. The Abhorsen and her husband, the King, had been lured across the Wall and would presumably be dealt with there. That was part of her Master's plan, long since laid but only recently begun in earnest.

The plan had many parts, in many countries, though the very heart and reason for it lay in the Old Kingdom. War, assassination, and refugees were elements of the plan, all manipulated by a scheming, subtle mind that had waited generations for everything to come to fruition.

But as with any plan, there had already been complications and problems. Two of them were in the House. One was a young woman, who had been sent south by the witches who lived in the glacier-clad mountain at the Ratterlin's source. The Clayr, who Saw many futures in the ice, and who would certainly try to twist the present to their own ends. The woman was one of their elite mages, easily identified by the colored waistcoat she wore. A red waistcoat, marking her as a Second Assistant Librarian.

The maker of the fog had seen her, black haired and pale skinned, surely no older than twenty, a mere fingernail sliver of an age. She had heard the young woman's name, called out in desperate battle.


The other complication was better known, and possibly more trouble, though the evidence was conflicting. A young man, hardly more than a boy, curly haired from his father, black eyebrowed from his mother, and tall from both. His name was Sameth, the royal son of King Touchstone and the Abhorsen Sabriel.

Prince Sameth was meant to be the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, heir to the powers of The Book of the Dead and the seven bells. But the maker of the fog doubted that now. She was very old, and once she had known a great deal about the strange family and their House in the river. She had fought Sameth barely a night past, and he had not fought like an Abhorsen; even the way he cast his Charter Magic was strange, reminiscent of neither the royal line nor the Abhorsens.

Sameth and Lirael were not alone. They were supported by two creatures who appeared to be no more than a small bad-tempered white cat and a large black and tan dog of friendly disposition. Yet both were much more than they seemed, though exactly what they were was another slippery piece of information. Most likely they were Free Magic spirits of some kind, bound in service to the Abhorsen and the Clayr. The cat was known to some degree. His name was Mogget, and there was speculation about him in certain books of lore. The Dog was a different matter. She was new, or so old that any book that told of her was long since dust. The creature in the fog thought the latter. Both the young woman and her hound had come from the Great Library of the Clayr. It was likely both of them, like the Library, had hidden depths and contained unknown powers.

Together, these four could be formidable opponents, and they represented a serious threat. But the maker of the fog did not have to fight them directly, nor could she, for the House was too well guarded by both spell and swift water. Her orders were to make sure that they were trapped in the House. The House was to be besieged while matters progressed elsewhere - until it was too late for Lirael, Sam, and their companions to do anything at all.


Excerpted from Abhorsen by Garth Nix Copyright ©2004 by Garth Nix. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he has worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. Garth's books include the award-winning fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen; Clariel, a prequel in the Abhorsen series; the cult favorite teen science fiction novel Shade's Children; and his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, To Hold the Bridge. His fantasy novels for younger readers include The Ragwitch, the six books of the Seventh Tower sequence, the Keys to the Kingdom series, and A Confusion of Princes. His books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, the Guardian, and the Australian, and his work has been translated in forty languages. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

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Abhorsen 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 327 reviews.
my3cairns More than 1 year ago
I am 51 years old and I loved this series. These books are well written and interesting for anyone. The content could be frightening to a young child, but they are great books for the "young adult" or older.
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MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Lirael has finally found a place for herself as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. She has even found unexpected family and friends in Sam and the Disreputable Dog. But with this new knowledge comes an immense responsibility. A necromancer is trying to awaken Orannis the Destroyer with the help of Chlorr--a Greater Dead creature--and Sam's unwitting best friend Nick. Only one barrier keeps Orannis from unleashing its terrible power. Orannis must be stopped. Lirael does not know how, only that she has no choice but to find a way in Abhorsen (2003) by Garth Nix. Abhorsen is the conclusion of Nix's original Old Kingdom trilogy. It is preceded by Sabriel and Lirael. The book is followed by Nix's recent prequel Clariel. Abhorsen picks up shortly after the conclusion of Lirael. Lirael and Sam are still struggling to prevent Orannis from awakening. Everything Lirael has learned both in the Clayr's glacier and without will be put to the test as she races to find a way to bind the Destroyer. Nix once again delivers a high action fantasy adventure here. Lirael in particular comes into her own in this story as she embraces her past and everything that her new role as Abhorsen-in-Waiting entails. Abhorsen is a nail-biting conclusion to an excellent trilogy. While the story ends beautifully, readers will still want to see more of these characters long after the book is done. Possible Pairings: Plain Kate by Erin Bow, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
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GAH SO GOOD. Exceptional narrating by Tim Curry too.
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A good read. Full of suspense.
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I loved this book i have it on my nook and in paper back. This book and the other two were wonderfuly written and i will read them again with my two children
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great seris
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This is one of the best trilogies i have ever read! I loved all three books and highly recommend them to anyone who loves an action packed story!
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