The Book of Lies

The Book of Lies

4.5 4
by James Moloney

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The newest boy at Mrs. Timmins's Home for Orphans and Foundlings awakes at first light with no name and no memory. But a strange girl who hides among the shadows of the orphanage tells him that a mysterious wizard's creation, the Book of Lies, holds the answers, and then gives him one clue: "Your name is Marcel."

With that knowledge, and the help of three new


The newest boy at Mrs. Timmins's Home for Orphans and Foundlings awakes at first light with no name and no memory. But a strange girl who hides among the shadows of the orphanage tells him that a mysterious wizard's creation, the Book of Lies, holds the answers, and then gives him one clue: "Your name is Marcel."

With that knowledge, and the help of three new friends, Marcel begins a quest to find the truth about his real identity—a truth that is hidden in the Book of Lies. As Marcel learns more about his past, he realizes that truth can change at any moment and can be manipulated by anyone, and he begins to wonder if the old book's so-called magical truth might be the greatest lie of all.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Lesley Farmer
Marcel, aka Robert, thinks he is a foundling; that is, until he lays his hands on the mysterious Book of Lies. When he pronounces, "I am an orphan," the book unfurls its pages and writes that sentence down, which means that it is a lie. The book belongs to Lord Alwyn, an intimidating wizard who commands Robert to stay safe in the Home. However, when Marcel and Fergus get into a fight, and decide to race horses to decide who is better, they gallop through the middle of town. As a result, a humungous guardian cat lunges after Marcel, and Lord Alwyn places a magic ring on Marcel's hand that will track his every move. One night an imposing man named Starkey tries to free Marcel, telling him that he and two other youngsters in Mrs. Timmins's Home for Orphans and Foundling are related—and all are royalty. They are needed to overcome the evil king Pelham. Nicola and Fergus leave with Starkey, and Marcel follows later with an elfin-like girl, the Book of Lies, and the horse he rode earlier—which he discovers can fly. Will the children be able to save the kingdom? What role does the Book play? What powers does Marcel possess? And, most importantly, what is the truth? Originally published in Australia in 2004, this fast-moving story has lots of satisfying plot twists to fool the unsuspecting reader. Characters are also cleverly developed throughout the book. Not surprisingly, this volume has a projected sequel. Hopefully, the next volume will be published simultaneously in both countries. It has an international tone—and a potential international audience.
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Australian author Moloney masterfully spins a mesmerizing tale of a boy brought in the night to Mrs. Timmins's Home for Orphans and Foundlings: his memory of who he is has been erased and exchanged for a substitute story of his origins taken from the wizard Lord Alwyn's Book of Lies. But with the help of three fellow residents—vain, lonely Nicole, hot-tempered Fergus, and elfin Bea—Marcus embarks on a search to discover his rightful past and claim his rightful future. Moloney is a gifted storyteller who confidently makes fresh use of such familiar story elements as a mysterious orphanage, a winged horse, a long-bearded elf king, and abducted heirs to a disputed throne. Only gradually, after a series of breathtaking adventures, is the scheming of Marcel's opponents revealed, with their Machiavellian machinations shown to be worthy of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth. Most fascinating is the Book of Lies itself, which betrays liars by recording every lie spoken in its presence, but which has become corrupted at its core by the weight of its collected deceptions. Marcel is forced to explore fascinating philosophical questions about truth and falsehood: what is truth? what is falsehood? and can a statement be both at the same time? This book is a fanastic tour de force.
Kirkus Reviews
A youthful hero, magically deprived of his memory, survives hardship and betrayal to triumph in the end. Sound familiar? Well yes, but Moloney is far too good a writer not to add to the oldest fantasy plot and twist it just enough to create an interesting new story. Three children an orphanage-Fergus, Nicola and the main character, Marcel-are markedly different from the other residents. When a plausible stranger, Starkey, tells Marcel a tale about a usurping king and an evil wizard, the three join him to endure hardships, adventures, a great betrayal and an ultimately grand reward. Tight plotting and a couple of real surprises in the resolution sustain the reader's attention right through to the final page. A few unresolved plot elements hint at a sequel, which, according to Moloney's website, is in the offing. This walloping good read will have special appeal for boys, but the importance of Nicola to the plot will engage female interest as well. (Fantasy. 9-12)
author of THE GOBLIN WOOD - Hilari Bell
"A plot as twisty as a wizard’s maze—it kept me guessing!"
Hilari Bell (author of THE GOBLIN WOOD)
“A plot as twisty as a wizard’s maze—it kept me guessing!”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers Australia
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.35(w) x 8.23(h) x 1.22(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Book of Lies

By James Moloney HarperCollins Copyright © 2007 James Moloney
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-057842-8

Chapter One Mrs. Timmins's Home for Orphans and Foundlings

Daylight fringed the curtain of the tiny room. When the sun had climbed high enough, arrows of sunshine broke around the edges, finding targets on the table, the chair, and the gaping wardrobe. At last one golden beam touched the boy's face, and he awoke.

Staring down at him was a pair of kindly green eyes. A mouth quivered uncertainly between a smile and a frown, a bulbous nose to match the round and reddened cheeks, and above those eyes, wisps of graying hair that refused to stay in place under her cap.

"Who are you?" he asked weakly.

"I'm Mrs. Timmins," she said softly. "You've been brought here to live with me and the other children. Counting you, we'll have thirteen altogether."

"To live ... other children?" he murmured, closing his eyes again. Sleep began to welcome him back into its drowsy folds, but he fought his way free, opening his eyes a second time. "Where am I?"

"You are in a home for orphans and foundlings. From this window, you can see the village of Fallside," she told him, sweeping aside the curtain with a plump hand. "Such as it is," she added without enthusiasm as she glanced briefly at the village. Then she tried to reassure him. "Don't worry. You're quite safe here." She helped him sit up, wedging pillows behind him.

"Orphans and foundlings," he repeated under his breath. He pushed aside the blankets and tried to stand up.

"My, you're almost as tall as I am," exclaimed the woman. "You won't be with us for long, that's for certain. Any farmer in the district would be pleased to have a fine lad like you working his fields."

This made no sense to the boy at all. Work in a farmer's field? He couldn't remember ever doing any such thing. In fact, he couldn't remember much at all. Whose hands are these? he thought, looking down at his body. They must be his feet, because he was standing on them.

A small mirror hung from a hook on the wardrobe. He went closer, but he was only certain that this was really his face when a pair of wide blue eyes blinked back at him. There was brown hair, almost black really, and pale skin, as though he had been kept out of the sun for some time. He worried for a moment that he was a ghost. What had this woman called herself? Mrs. Timmins, wasn't it? There she was, watching him with friendly amusement.

He took another look in the mirror. His mouth drooped a bit. Perhaps it came from feeling so dazed. Now that he'd seen it, he decided that, as faces went, it could have been worse, and the thought brought a smile to his lips.

"Can you tell me your name, then?" Mrs. Timmins asked.

"Name ...," the boy murmured. He opened his mouth quickly, but no words came out, causing him to frown in confusion. "Name ...," he said again. Why was it so hard for him to say it? Wait ... he did know, after all. "I think my name is ... Robert."

"Ah, you do remember," Mrs. Timmins said brightly. "Welcome to my orphanage. There's always room for one more in this house."

She left him alone to dress in the clothes she had brought for him. "Robert," he said to himself when he was finished. He struggled to think clearly. He knew he had been born with that name, and he sensed somehow that his mother was dead. Was it ... yes, when he was a baby. If he was an orphan, then his father must be dead too. Shouldn't he feel sadness? With a shock, he realized that all he could feel was emptiness, and the few things he could remember rattled around inside his head like peas in a kettledrum.

He was still grappling with these thoughts when Mrs. Timmins returned. "It's time you met the others," she announced briskly. "Come with me." She led the way out of the tiny room, along the passage to a flight of stairs. There she paused, and for an instant her face lost all trace of its smile. "We have few rules in this house, Robert, but one is that you be as quiet as you can just here, outside the entry to the tower," she said, nodding toward an imposing oak door set into the wall opposite the staircase.

"Come on, the girls are rather keen to see you-though they're meant to be working in the kitchen." They started down the stairs, but after three steps the boy stopped, startled by the gang of five girls that had gathered at the bottom.

"It's a boy," said a voice rather dismissively.

"Quiet, Dot," hissed one of her companions, but Dot wouldn't be silenced.

"I wanted it to be another girl," and with this announcement she led the posse of girls away, disappointed.

One of them seemed to linger for a moment. Was she smiling at him? It was difficult to tell, because the girl herself seemed no more than a shadow. "Am I the only boy, Mrs. Timmins?"

"No, no, the boys are outside, doing their chores." She led him down the remaining stairs and through a large kitchen. "Come on, Robert," she called when he lagged behind.

Robert? Yes, of course, that's me, he thought. He stepped into the sudden brightness of a cloudless day. The sunshine felt good on his skin and he turned his face toward it, hoping that at least the sun would recognize him.

A tall boy, almost a man, came striding toward them. "This is my son, Albert," said Mrs. Timmins. "He's in charge of all the outside work that's usually left to our boys." Albert was rather proud of his role, judging by the grin that filled his face, a face already crowded with an unsightly rash of pimples. "He'll give you jobs to do as well, but not today, since you've only just joined us." She glanced at Albert to be sure he had understood.


Excerpted from The Book of Lies by James Moloney Copyright © 2007 by James Moloney. 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.

What People are saying about this

Hilari Bell
“A plot as twisty as a wizard’s maze—it kept me guessing!”

Meet the Author

James Moloney has written many award-winning books for children, including A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove, which won the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award. A full-time writer, Mr. Moloney lives in Brisbane, Australia, with his wife and three children.

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Book of Lies 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books ive ever read and im usually not one for mystery im more horror.
harstan More than 1 year ago
At Mrs. Timmins's Home for Orphans and Foundlings, the young lad awakens to realize he remembers nothing not even his name although he claims to be Robert. He learns from one of his new peers, Bea in the shadows that he is Marcel and he must find THE BOOK OF LIES if he is to regain his past.-------------- Two other orphans Fergus and Nicola join Marcel on his quest to find himself. They meet Starkey, who tells Marcel that an evil wizard partnering with an ambitious king took his memory and much more from him and the people. To regain paradise lost he must find THE BOOK OF LIES so that he can learn truth from lies but must also prepare for a battle against an invincible evil team.----------------- Targeting the middle school students who will join the three orphans on Marcel¿s quest, THE BOOK OF LIES is a fun young adult fantasy. The book is the intriguing element that freshens up the saga as a key twist related to the tome adds to the entertainment of the tale. The three children are fully developed unique individuals who the pre-teen crowd will root for in their myriad of escapades. Readers will enjoy James Moloney¿s fabulous youthful quest fantasy.--------- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Book of Lies was a pleasant novel out of my favorite genre, fantasy, that riveted my attention. Parts of the book were irritatingly predictable, but there were other parts where I was caught unawares, that evened out the I-knew-that-was-going-to-happen parts. I loved the irony: so many people relied on The Book to sift lies from the truth but it was eventually revealed to be just as deceitful as its name suggested. This was a cliffhanger so I sincerely hope that there will be another book to succeed it.