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The Hunt for the Seventh

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Overview

Jim moves to ancient Minerva Hall and encounters the ghosts of six children. They urge him to find the seventh child and leave him cryptic clues that point to a dark, ancient prophecy that only Jim can stop from being fulfilled. Jim turns to Einstein, a brilliant autistic boy who lives at the Hall. If anyone can help Jim, Einstein can. But the boy, who speaks in riddles, proves to be as mysterious as the dead children. Time is running out; if Jim doesn't figure out the clues, ...

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Overview

Jim moves to ancient Minerva Hall and encounters the ghosts of six children. They urge him to find the seventh child and leave him cryptic clues that point to a dark, ancient prophecy that only Jim can stop from being fulfilled. Jim turns to Einstein, a brilliant autistic boy who lives at the Hall. If anyone can help Jim, Einstein can. But the boy, who speaks in riddles, proves to be as mysterious as the dead children. Time is running out; if Jim doesn't figure out the clues, innocent people will die.

Christine Morton-Shaw has linked ancient rites with modern mystery to create a chilling, suspenseful tale that will keep readers guessing to the very end.

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Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“Readers of spooky tales will enjoy this well-paced novel that delivers all the elements of a classic ghost story with a modern twist.”
VOYA - Rayna Patton
When Jim, Sal, and their father move into chilly old Minerva Hall, Jim instantly is repelled by its unpleasant owner, Lord Minerva, and by the terrifying feeling that ghostly children are just out of sight. The death of Jim's mother has completely devastated his father, who badly needs the job as head gardener for the large estate. Frightened and isolated, Jim begins to see visions of six children's freak deaths and follows the clues that their spirits leave for him. They lead him to discoveries about a nearby village and the long-dead children who restlessly haunt Minerva Hall. Jim finds only one "friend," Einstein, the strange, autistic son of Lord Minerva, truant from boarding school, who hides in the grounds. Lord Minerva becomes ever-more threatening as Jim pries into long-concealed Minerva secrets. One is an ancient curse that tells of seven who must die, and Jim is filled with foreboding for Einstein, surely in grave danger. As torrential rain falls, the village is threatened by a devastating flood, and the swirling waters nearly overwhelm Jim. In the end, he realizes that Einstein is already dead, murdered by his father. The curse is fulfilled, and now Jim must draw on superhuman power to avert further tragedy. Intricately plotted, suspenseful, and eerie, Morton-Shaw's new novel is bound to attract readers. This thriller is quite complex but ultimately satisfying, as Lord Minerva dies in prison, and Jim's family and the dead children finally find peace. Reviewer: Rayna Patton
Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
Still reeling from the death of their mother, Jim, his sister Sal, and their father move to Minerva Estate. Jim's father's job is groundskeeper; Jim's job is to not explore the estate. When Jim begins to be haunted by the ghosts of children, he has no choice but to break the rules and search the estate for some clue as to what happened to these children. As Jim has visions of the deaths of six children, he begins to unravel the nature of a prophesy that calls for the death of a Minerva child every generation. Aided by an autistic boy Jim dubs Einstein, Jim tries to uncover the truth about the deaths before a similar fate befalls Einstein. But finding clues is difficult when the current lord of Minerva Estate forbids Jim to go anywhere on the estate. This fascinating mystery has a wonderful setting, engaging characters, and a twist that this reviewer, an avid reader of horror and mystery, did not see coming. Reviewer: Amie Rose Rotruck
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

"Find the Seventh." That whispered phrase haunts Jim in this eerie mystery of death, ghosts, family secrets, and ancient rites and prophecy. Jim has moved with his father and sister Sal to Minerva Hall, a vast estate of lush gardens with more than 100 statues. It is occupied by grumpy Lord Louis Minerva III, a disagreeable man who restricts areas of the Hall and grounds and closely monitors them with closed-circuit televisions. Curious about his new home, where his father has taken a position as Head Gardener, Jim begins to explore. As he does, he meets a mysterious boy he calls Einstein, who speaks to him in riddles. The ghostly whispers and encounters with Einstein send Jim on a quest to discover the estate's secrets. He finds an old schoolroom, and listed on the board are the names of the Minerva children, each followed by "deceased." At the bottom it reads, "Follow the Statues." And as Jim uncovers clues, he is haunted by the ghosts of the children and sees the details of their deaths, and he knows that he must pursue the trail to prevent some further tragedy. Morton-Shaw skillfully weaves ancient lore into a gripping mystery. The fine plotting keeps readers turning the pages as suspense builds to the surprising end. Genre fans will likely enjoy this hunt.-Jennifer D. Montgomery, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green

Kirkus Reviews

A supernatural mystery that should please tween fans of Coraline (2002) and The Last Apprentice (2005, etc.). Jim's father has just taken a job as Head Gardener of Minerva Hall, a crumbling English manor. Jim is forbidden to roam the grounds but is compelled to root around by spectral voices that continually whisper to him, "Find the Seventh!" Through ghostly visitations and local-history pamphlets, Jim determines that a Minerva ancestor disturbed an ancient pagan site, resulting in the untimely demise of one Minerva child in each generation on the longest day of the year. Now those ghost children are asking for his help. As the summer solstice looms, can he protect the autistic son of the current Lord Minerva—the seventh possible victim of the curse? Though many of Jim's discoveries are awfully convenient, horror fans will be too be busy piecing together the fragments of the pagan prophecy to notice or care. Younger readers may be disturbed by the all-too-real details of the children's deaths, but all in all, this is a fairly age-appropriate scary read just in time for Halloween. (Horror. 11-14)

Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Intricately plotted, suspensful, and eerie.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060728243
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 273
  • Sales rank: 209,526
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Christine Morton-Shaw has felt "visited" all her life. She often has to sidestep people she then realizes others can't see at all. Sometimes these impressions or visions can take a sudden step closer: "It is as if the skin between this world and another world begins to get thinner. Things in that other place become clearer and louder. I'm quite happy with all this strangeness and charm, and can't imagine life without it."

She feels at home in ruined buildings or medieval houses and streets. Ancient scripts and old manuscripts and diaries seem alive to her. Some of the things in The Hunt for the Seventh have happened to her, particularly the gray glimpses and the whispers.

Christine Morton-Shaw lives with her family in Sheffield, England. She is the author of The Riddles of Epsilon and many picture books for children.

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Read an Excerpt

The Hunt for the Seventh

Chapter One

We've been given some rooms all the way at the top of the south turret. They are the old embroidery rooms and the seamstresses' quarters from centuries ago. The retiring gardener showed us up some old back stairs that led from the kitchen. Then we came to a small landing with several doors leading off. One of these led to a narrow spiral staircase. We struggled up it with the suitcases.

"Always always use the back stairs," said the old gardener. "The master hates to meet up with anyone. Phew! Nearly there."

We came out into a long circular corridor with doors lining it. One by one he opened them, and we followed him into each curved room.

I've never lived in a turret before. I'll feel like a medieval knight! First, the bedrooms. The biggest one is for Dad. Mine and Sal's are crummy, small things, both leading off the living room. Sal instantly claimed the best one for herself. In my room there was nothing much except for a wonky bookshelf, filled with dusty old encyclopedias. One of them was being used to prop up one leg of a wobbly chair. The whole thing didn't look very promising. On the living room floor was a cat dish with some old tuna caked in it.

"Suki's vanished," Harold said. "Sulking, no doubt! She hates change. If she shows up, I've left my phone number on the kitchen bulletin board."

Sally looked around with her nose screwed up. "It's kind of . . . smelly!" she said. (At ten she is much too fussy about Everything.)

Next, we filed into a tiny kitchen and then a bathroom, with a dripping shower over an ancient bathtub. Then back to the chilly living room.And two tiny storerooms. Back in the curved corridor Dad sat down on a suitcase.

"It'll do," he said.

There was one door left unopened. I stared at it. "What's through there?" I asked.

Harold glanced at it briefly. "Through there? Nothing."

"How can there be nothing? It's a door!"

"It's locked," said Harold, as if that settled it. "I've never bothered with it myself."

But I didn't quite like the way he said it, as if he didn't want to be asked any awkward questions. "Well, who has the key?" I insisted.

Harold frowned down at me. "If there's one thing the master dislikes more than children, it's questions! You'll find out when you meet him later." He nodded darkly to Dad. "And you two, you'd best keep your mouths shut around him, that's for sure."

I opened my mouth again, but Dad cut me short. "That's enough, Jim!" said Dad. "Let it go now."

He looked tired. Gray. So I let it go.

But it didn't let me go.

"Find the Seventh!" a young girl's voice whispered, right at my ear.

I glanced back at the door before scuttling to catch up with Dad in the living room. I was too scared to be out here by myself, even for a few seconds.

I wasn't sure I was going to like it here at all.

It was almost bedtime by the time we were finally summoned to the master's study. The royal summons. We walked nervously through the Grand Hall, upstairs, and along the echoing corridors. The passages were lit by dim lamps or, in more remote places, just the tiny glow of emergency lights set into the ceilings.

The only sounds were the ticking of the many clocks we passed. Every so often as we walked along, I heard the faint whirring of something small, set high into the walls. This puzzled me until I glanced back and spotted the small electric red dot of a security camera as it swiveled our way.

I wondered who was watching us.

The butler met us at the top of a long flight of stairs. With an impassive face, he ushered us into a dim study and closed the doors on us. Now we were alone, just us and Lord Louis Minerva III.

He was sitting in his wheelchair in front of a huge log fire—a grumpy-looking old man with a glass of amber brandy in one hand. He gestured us to step forward into his golden halo of firelight. When he smiled at us, his eyes were cold and filled with dislike. He made me think of a lizard.

"Mr. Brown—and your delightful children! Do come in. I trust your rooms are sufficient?"

"Perfectly, thank you, sir," said Dad.

I glanced around the room. One whole wall held screen after screen, the monitors of a vast closed-circuit TV system. Each screen flickered with ghostly images of various parts of the grounds. There was the great staircase. And the calm face of the lake. And the gatehouse with its flag, floodlit, on top.

The only light came from the flickering fire and those screens flashing a cold silver from frame to frame. I began to feel as if I'd stepped into some old silent movie.

Lord Minerva gestured Sal and me to step even closer. He regarded us silently. This made both of us fidget. Eventually he gestured toward the screens.

"I don't get out much these days," he said with a tight little smile. "Nevertheless, as you can see, I am in complete control of my entire estate. I have eyes everywhere, some of them hidden. I trust I shall not have cause to regret your coming here."

He was staring more at me than at Sal. I got the impression there was something about me he didn't like at all.

"No doubt you will want to explore your new home," he said. "But may I remind you that this is my home, not yours. Your home, for now, is in the rooms at the top of the south turret. As for my home, there are only certain areas that are open to the public. The rest of Minerva Hall is roped off. You are forbidden to go beyond those boundaries. Do I make myself clear?"

The Hunt for the Seventh. Copyright © by Christine Morton-Shaw. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

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(33)

4 Star

(12)

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 13, 2010

    Review on The Hunt For The Seventh By Valeria Deharo

    The Hunt For The Seventh

    The Hunt For The Seventh by Christine Morton Shaw is a novel about a teenage boy named Jim. Jim has moved to Minerva Hall with his father and sister. His mother has recently died, and in order to overcome the family's grief, his father has accepted a position as Head Gardener. But from the first day, life at Minerva Hall is far from normal.

    While touring the grounds, Jim hears a voice whisper in his ear, "Find the Seventh." No one else has heard the ghostly voice, but Jim believes it. He is convinced someone has died there. But he can't tell his dad or his sister. He knows no one else will believe him.

    This begins Jim's need to uncover the secrets of Minerva Hall. One evening he notices a shadow off by the maze. He walks into the maze and soon discovers a boy sitting in the middle. The boy talks almost in riddles, confusing Jim even more. Because the boy likes to talk in numbers but refuses to give his name, Jim immediately dubs him Einstein. But just as quickly as he discovers Einstein, the boy is gone.

    Curiosity gets the better of Jim, and soon he is discovering unused portions of the hall. He sneaks into the old Schoolroom and magically, six names appear on one of the blackboards. All six names are Minerva's, with a date.

    Jim becomes more interested in the clues, following the Hall's statues and the dates of death from one to the next; Jim is on a crash course with destiny. The prophecies that he's uncovered surrounding the lands around Minerva Hall are all leading up to the summer solstice. He believes he only has a few days to solve the mystery and hopefully prevent any more deaths.

    I really loved this book because this is one of those books that you have to keep reading and can't stop. It's also very detailed and specific. I recommend it to people that love spooky stories. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the discoveries that Jim made along the way.

    The Hunt For The Seventh was a spine-chilling good book. The scarier parts may be a bit too much for the younger reader, but there is nothing in the story that is truly gross. The story flowed at a nice pace, leading the reader through all of the clues that Jim discovered. The tension builds at the right speed, leading to a surprising conclusion.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    great book!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I read it and fell in love with it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    A great book for peoople who love a good mystery

    In the book The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw, Jim and his family have just moved into a Minerva gardens for his father’s new job. Unknowingly they move into a place where death has stroked mysteriously 6 unknowing children. Jim notices something odd the moment he gets there, but can’t figure out what. While searching his new house he hears a whisper from one of the children in his ear saying hunt for the seventh. With the help of his new friend Einstein, Jim goes on a hunt to figure out what happened to the kids who lived here before him. As Jim goes finding what happened to the 6 children he starts to see that the owner of Minerva garden is hiding something. Does it have to do with the deaths? While facing challenges from his family, the master of the house and wanting to give up, will Jim find the seventh and learn something about his new friend Einstein or fail and have mysteries things happen to the whole village.
    This was an amazing book that is filled with twist and turns. It’s a book for anyone who likes mysteries or ghost stories. It was well written and you wanted to read more. Every time you have to stop you’re going to want to keep reading. You could never guess what would happen next , it kept you on your toes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2012

    Once you start reading The Hunt For The Seventh you won't be abl

    Once you start reading The Hunt For The Seventh you won't be able to stop. The main character, Jimmy, drives you through a rollercoster of emotions. Prepared to be spooked and greatly entertained.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    Well written, mystery

    This was a good mystery with a surprising plot twist at the end of the book. I could see this book being made into a feature film. It has all of the elements to keep you on the edge of your seat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

    by anonomous

    a thrilling, intregueing, great book that will keep you wanting to read more and more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    Jim has moved to Minerva Hall with his father and sister. His mother has recently died, and in order to overcome the family's grief, his father has accepted a position as Head Gardener. But from the first day, life at Minerva Hall is far from normal. <BR/><BR/>While touring the grounds, Jim hears a voice whisper in his ear, "Find the Seventh." No one else has heard the ghostly voice, but Jim believes it. He is convinced someone has died there. But he can't tell his dad or his sister. He knows no one else will believe him. <BR/><BR/>This begins Jim's need to uncover the secrets of Minerva Hall. One evening he notices a shadow off by the maze. He ventures into the maze and soon discovers a boy sitting in the middle. The boy talks almost in riddles, confusing Jim even more. Because the boy likes to talk in numbers but refuses to give his name, Jim immediately dubs him Einstein. But just as quickly as he discovers Einstein, the boy is gone. <BR/><BR/>Curiosity gets the better of Jim, and soon he is discovering unused portions of the hall. He sneaks into the old Schoolroom and magically, six names appear on one of the blackboards. All six names are Minervas, with a date and some sort of epitaph. <BR/><BR/>Jim becomes enmeshed in the clues, following the Hall's statues and the dates of death from one to the next; Jim is on a crash course with destiny. The prophecies that he's uncovered surrounding the lands around Minerva Hall are all leading up to the summer solstice. He believes he only has a few days to solve the mystery and hopefully prevent any more deaths. <BR/><BR/>THE HUNT FOR THE SEVENTH was a spine-chillingly good read. The scarier parts may be a bit too much for the younger reader, but there is nothing in the story that is truly gross or appalling to limit those that could read it. The story flowed at a nice pace, leading the reader through all of the clues that Jim discovered. The tension builds at the right speed, leading to a surprising conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the discoveries that Jim made along the way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    Ehhhhhhhhh

    The beggining was very slow and the clues are hard to figure out. Not well written. Summer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Yolo

    I like the book i thought it was gonna be scary but it wasnt but for the most part it was very entertaning.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    #yoloswag

    Swag swag swag swag swag swag swag swag swag swag swag swag swag

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    It was..okay....

    Some of it was kind of..annoying though...but its a good book..not scary but its an interesting book...you should read it ... :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Danny sandoval

    I think book was a great read for me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    brian watson

    Heyyyyyyy and this bokk is amazing byethe way lololo aha!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    TAP HERE

    This was the best book EVERRRRRR:}

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Arryona Simmons

    This book is so awsome.I could read it100 times.BEST BOOK EVER!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    So Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book was so awesome that I did it for my book report. It was kind of sad at the end though. :(

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    AMAZINGGGG

    I loved it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

    Nyan cat num num num

    Got the book at my schools book fair. Read it cover to cover in a day. Its not scary. Just freaky and suspensful. Highly recomend it. (Dont read,spoiler, well, kinda) the flashback are only freaky with the kids Harriot and Oswald and two others. Einstien rocks... not the scientist.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Very scary

    But very good

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Good

    Im using this book for my report it is really good!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews

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