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Death and the Arrow (Tom Marlowe Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

A gripping historical mystery, full of 18th century atmosphere.

Fifteen-year-old Tom lives in the murky city of London where he helps his father run a print shop. Among the customers is wise old Dr. Harker, a retired physician and seafarer, whose patient demeanour and fascinating tales endear him to Tom. Both Tom and Harker become intrigued by a murder in the city where the victim is pierced by an arrow and left holding an illustrated card of ...
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Death and the Arrow (Tom Marlowe Series #1)

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Overview

A gripping historical mystery, full of 18th century atmosphere.

Fifteen-year-old Tom lives in the murky city of London where he helps his father run a print shop. Among the customers is wise old Dr. Harker, a retired physician and seafarer, whose patient demeanour and fascinating tales endear him to Tom. Both Tom and Harker become intrigued by a murder in the city where the victim is pierced by an arrow and left holding an illustrated card of “Death and the Arrow.” The mystery deepens after more “Death and the Arrow” victims are discovered, and Tom cannot rest until he has uncovered the truth behind the murders. This atmospheric venture into the eighteenth-century will fascinate and engage readers ten-years-old and up.


From the Hardcover edition.

After his friend Will, a pickpocket in London in 1715, is murdered as part of a series of mysterious deaths, fifteen-year-old Tom Marlowe asks his friend Dr. Harker to help find the killer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in early-18th-century London, this lugubrious mystery from a British author revolves around a series of murders. Each victim is killed with an arrow of Native American craftsmanship and has on his person a printed card picturing a skeletal Death holding an arrow (a related image appears on the nightmarish jacket illustration). When his good friend, the plucky orphaned pickpocket Will, is strangled and left bearing the card, apprentice printer Tom Marlowe, 15, is driven to seek out his murderer. To do so, he teams up with a family friend, the kindly scientist and explorer Dr. Harker. Soon, Tom and Dr. Harker are traipsing from coffee house to tavern, busy unraveling a scheme involving a long-ago robbery, the massacre of a village and a vengeful but sympathetic Mohawk prone to noble speechifying ("We allowed ourselves to be bought for guns and whiskey, while piece by piece the white man took our land, cut down our forests"). Though the narrative keeps to a frantic pace and each chapter dutifully ends with either a cliffhanger or heated emoting, tension never builds. Instead, these single-note characters seem simply to be put through their paces. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
London in 1715 is galvanized by a series of grizzly murders. Each victim clutches a card depicting the figure of Death holding an arrow like the one that has struck him down. Fifteen-year-old printer's apprentice Tom Marlowe cannot help getting involved when his friend, Will, a clever and agile pickpocket, dies under mysterious circumstances. With his mentor, Dr. Harker, Tom follows a tangle of clues leading to the Colonies and a tale of greed, deception, and betrayal during the French and Indian War. This book has a lot going for it, including an action-filled plot and a cracking cover illustration of bony Death poised on the roofs of London. The writing, however, is curiously flat. Scenes of London life, instead of adding period flavor, read as though the author wanted to be sure his research would not go to waste. When Tom knees an attacker in the groin, the man "groans," a response more suited to an unpleasant experience in the dentist's chair. Tom cornered atop the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral at the height of a solar eclipse is a dramatic scene that somehow lacks drama. It is an active story with a passive voice. Consider this book an additional purchase for mystery and historical fiction lovers. For a livelier picture of a slightly earlier London, readers will enjoy Gary Blackwood's The Shakespeare Stealer (Dutton, 1998/VOYA August 1998). VOYA Codes: 2Q 3P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Knopf, 162p,
— Kathleen Beck
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-As the sooty, coal-ridden smog blankets London in 1715, 15-year-old Tom Marlowe becomes embroiled in a deadly mystery when his best friend, pickpocket Will Piggot, is murdered by the same person who is killing others around the city and leaving his "Death and Arrow" calling card. As Tom and his friend Dr. Harker investigate, they find an odd connection between the local crimes and an alleged Indian ambush of a silver shipment traveling across the colonies. As they get closer to the killer, they almost become the next victims. The mystery has enough excitement and intrigue to keep even reluctant readers turning the pages. The historical background and intermingling of the untamed British colonies with more urban London is well done and easy to follow, and the writing is rich with descriptions of the sights and smells of the city.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Priestly pours generous measures of Dickens and Doyle (Sir Arthur Conan, that is) into this melodramatic murder mystery, set amid the vividly rendered stews of 18th-century London. A shadowy killer stalks the city’s rooftops, each of his arrow-shot victims found with an ominous calling card. Young printer’s son Tom Marlowe becomes involved in the hunt after a lowlife friend, Will, is found strangled; enlisting the aid of canny, well-traveled Dr. Josiah Harker and other adult allies, he is led to crime scenes, taught to sift for clues, and survives several narrow squeaks. The killer turns out to be a tattooed, English-speaking Mohawk with an astonishing head for heights and an otherwise peaceable nature who is exacting vengeance on a gang of thieves responsible for the massacre of his village. Despite the Noble Savage bit, and the fact that Tom’s role in the tale is largely a passive one as his associates do most of the fighting and deduction, fans of Pullman’s Victorian tales may enjoy the similar level of violence and almost tangibly miasmic setting. (Fiction. 11-13)
From the Publisher
"As the sooty, coal-ridden smog blankets London in 1715, 15-year-old Tom Marlowe becomes embroiled in a deadly mystery when his best friend, pickpocket Will Piggot, is murdered by the same person who is killing others around the city and leaving his 'Death and Arrow' calling card. As Tom and his friend Dr. Harker investigate, they find an odd connection between the local crimes and an alleged Indian ambush of a silver shipment traveling across the colonies. As they get closer to the killer, they almost become the next victims. The mystery has enough excitement and intrigue to keep even reluctant readers turning the pages. The historical background and intermingling of the untamed British colonies with more urban London is well done and easy to follow, and the writing is rich with descriptions of the sights and smells of the city."  —School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307433275
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Series: Tom Marlowe Series , #1
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Chris Priestley is a writer and political cartoonist. This is his first young adult novel.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

m At that moment, a youth burst in with an armful of newspapers. "Murder in the town!" he shouted to no great effect, for murders were all too common in these violent times. "Extraordinary murder!" he called, perhaps a little disappointed at the response.
"How so?" called a wag by the window. "Have they caught the murderer, then?" The coffee-house clientele erupted into laughter.
"Beskewered by an arrow right through his heart, that's how so!" replied the youth. He had their attention now.
"An arrow?" said Dr. Harker quietly to no one in particular. "Now, that is rather unusual."
"It's the work of the Mohocks, I'll be bound!" said the Reverend Purney, and there was a grumbling of agreement. The newspapers had been full of horror stories about the gang of upper-class thugs.
"I think not," said Dr. Harker.
"Oh?" said Purney. "And why not? They name themselves after savages and behave like savages. Murder with arrows would seem a logical step."
"What difference does it make?" said a young man nearby. "With lords for fathers and uncles in the government, they're never going to be chatting to you in the Condemned Hold, now are they, Reverend?"
Several people nodded and said, "That's right," but Dr. Harker ignored this diversion.
"The Mohocks cannot be ruled out, I agree. But we need more information. Do you have any other facts for us, lad?" he called to the youth.
"I do, sir! There's witnesses that say that this here skewered gent runs past them seconds before the deed, and on into a courtyard with no way out but locked doors--locked, mark you. They follows him and finds him nailed...but not another soul in sight! Not a sparrow, not a tick." A murmur ran round the room.
"But there's more," said the youth, pointing his finger at no one in particular. "It turns out that this here stiff was dead already."
"Dead already?" said Dr. Harker. "What do you mean?"
"Well, sir," replied the newspaper boy, smiling now that he had his audience in his grip, "this here corpse--Leech was his name--he was a soldier-boy, fighting the French in the Americas, God save the King."
"Yes, yes," said Dr. Harker impatiently. "To the point, lad!"
"Well, it's like I was just saying. A military man, he was, and paid the price. Cut down by heathen savages. Murdered by Indians out in the Americas while he was fighting the French some years ago!" Tom's eyes widened.
"What?" said Purney. "Impossible!"
"Killed him dead, they did, and all the men with him."
"Then there must be a mistake," said the owner of the coffee house. "The murdered man must be someone else."
"No, sir. No mistake. His own mother lives not a spit away and verified him with her own teary eyes. His sergeant come down and did the same. There ain't no mistake."
The customers began to mutter to themselves and mumble asides at their neighbors, but the newspaper boy held up his hand. "And ask me how the Indians killed him. Go on, ask me."
"Shot by arrows?" suggested Dr. Harker.
"Arrows it was," said the youth. The customers gasped and turned to the doctor in amazement.
"Come now," he said with a shrug. "It hardly took a genius to divine that if he had been killed by natives, they might use bows." Even so, Tom noticed Dr. Harker turned back to the newsboy with a contented smile. "Is there more?" he asked.
"There is," the newsboy continued. "In his pocket they finds a card--a calling card, if you like. And you ain't never going to guess what was on it!"
There was a long pause--rather too long--and Dr. Harker was forced to break the silence by saying, "I rather fear that we won't. Could you do us the enormous favor of telling us?"
The coffee house filled with laughter again and the newsboy blushed. "In his pocket they finds a card," he repeated, "and on that card there's an embellishment--a figure of Death, no less, pointing one bony finger and looking like to chuck an arrow with the other hand. Now, gents, tell me if that ain't a story or what?"
Even the sour-faced Reverend Purney had to admit that it was quite a story--though one could not always believe what one heard or even what one read in the newspapers. He reminded the customers--again--that he had once heard a report of his own body being found floating in the Fleet. Everyone nodded and smiled, but several customers secretly hoped to see that report proved true.

From the Paperback edition.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2006

    great book

    this book is great. it also teach's a little history befor the revolutionary war. this book gets scary in the middle cause they way the author describes. but igive this a 5 out of 5. read this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2006

    Great Book

    This is a great mystery about a boy trying to find his friends murderer. It's a bone chilling-book from cover to cover. Death and the Arrow is a great book that I would recomend to anyone who likes mysteries.

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