Murkmere

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Overview

Aggie's life in the village is as normal and dull as any girl's; she has never questioned the rule of the Ministration or the power of the divine beings—the birds. Then, the crippled master of the nearby manor, Murkmere, sends for Aggie to become a lady's companion to his ward, Leah. Aggie accepts and even starts to befriend the wild and strange girl who seems to want nothing but to escape Murkmere and its powermongering steward, Silas. As preparations begin for the ball celebrating Leah's sixteenth birthday, ...
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Murkmere

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Overview

Aggie's life in the village is as normal and dull as any girl's; she has never questioned the rule of the Ministration or the power of the divine beings—the birds. Then, the crippled master of the nearby manor, Murkmere, sends for Aggie to become a lady's companion to his ward, Leah. Aggie accepts and even starts to befriend the wild and strange girl who seems to want nothing but to escape Murkmere and its powermongering steward, Silas. As preparations begin for the ball celebrating Leah's sixteenth birthday, Aggie finds herself further and further enmeshed in the sinister plots that surround Murkmere, Leah, and the mysterious Master. Suspenseful and haunting, Murkmere pulls the reader into an unforgettable world between history and myth.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Scuff, a minor character in Murkmere (which PW described as "a gripping story" in a starred review), takes center stage in this riveting sequel set in a kind of Cromwellian England, Ambergate by Patricia Elliott. With a mysterious and possibly criminal past, Scuff flees the Murkmere estate to escape the Lord Protector's sinister soldiers and in search of her own identity. Also, Murkmere is now in paperback. (Little, Brown, $16.99 390p ages 12-up ISBN 978-0-316-01060-3; Murkmere $7.99 paper ISBN 978-0-316-01044-3; Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
A Gothic fantasy filled with brilliant images and concepts, Murkmere tells of a strong village girl named Aggie who is selected to be the companion to a fey creature, Leah, who says she is a prisoner at the dark citadel that is named Murkmere. The name fits the place and the story neatly. Leah is the ward of a kindly but strange man who treasures outlawed books and heresies; Murkmere is part of a realm in which an orthodox religion exists around the worship of birds. (This religion is extremely imaginative, as described by Elliott and understood by Aggie.) Of course, with every orthodoxy there exists treachery, and yes, such evil is present there at the citadel. Leah is trying to escape and Aggie is torn between her own religious faith and her admiration of Leah, pulled away from orthodoxy by her own curiosity and love of books and learning. So we have dark swamps, swans, high walls, hidden chambers, an attractive but twisted steward: murder, betrayal, death and disappearance ensue. A challenging vocabulary, concepts that stretch the mind of the reader, and intrepid young women will win over readers who enjoy this type of dark fantasy. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Little Brown, 344p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A gothic novel set in a magical Britain. Aggie is a village teen who has gotten a position as a companion to Leah, a ward of the Master of Murkmere Hall. But, as she enters the estate, there are several bad portents from the Birds, which the people believe are divine beings. Once there, Aggie finds herself caught in an insular world of deceit, decay, and forbidden knowledge. Leah is a person whose mood varies from day to day. Their complicated and realistic relationship serves as an anchor for the novel, allowing readers to immerse themselves in this world. As Aggie continues to work in the manor, she realizes that everything she has been brought up to believe about books and religion may not be true. Her teacher aunt is involved in national politics, her suitor is not the slow village boy she thought him to be, and the suave man who hired her may be at the heart of the evil that surrounds her. This engaging, well-paced story is filled with believable characters who behave in a convincing manner. There is plenty of suspense, and readers will not be able to put the book down until they discover the fate of Leah and Aggie.-Tasha Saecker, Menasha Public Library, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lush gothic fantasy in a culture where religion is based on the Birds of Light and the Birds of Night. Fifteen-year-old Aggie, summoned to work on the gloomy, threatening estate of Murkmere Hall, leaves her humble village behind. She's appointed companion to Murkmere's mistress, a girl her own age named Leah. Leah and her guardian read books that the political-religious Ministration considers blasphemous. Aggie fears for their souls, even more so when the discovery of an old swanskin heightens Leah's possibly sacrilegious obsession with the mere's swans. A corrupt steward and the master's ever-worsening health speed the story along. Aggie's loyalties and beliefs shift as evil religious leaders throw Leah's future into grave danger. Suspenseful pacing matches dramatic events and symbolism. Aggie's occasional hindsight voice and an unfortunate author's note strike the only (rare) distracting notes of over-dramatization. Wonderfully atmospheric and moody-on the border between fantasy and fiction. (Fantasy. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316010443
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 1/3/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Elliott was born in London, and grew up in Europe and the Far East. She has worked in publishing in London and in a children's bookshop in New York. She now teaches a course in children's literature at an adult education college. She lives in London with her husband, two sons, and a yellow labrador called Fingal. Her first book, The Ice Boy, won the Fidler Award for a first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

4 Star

(4)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    Anonymous

    This was a great book that I enjoyed reading! If you thought this book was good, you should read the companion to it, Ambergate!

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

    Posted May 23, 2012

    Read it

    Its really good. I'm not a gothic fantasy fan. It's a little dark but it has a great storyline it's totally worth the money!

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

    Posted December 24, 2011

    Murkmere

    This book was full.of mysteries and suspense and had a good story oine as well. I enjoyed reading it very much! :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Really good.

    I thought it was a wonderful, imaginative story, full of life. It was a very different kind of fairy tale.

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

    Posted July 12, 2008

    Coolz

    Kind of average, but still a fantastic story!! I wish we could know more about the outcome of Leah. Cant wait to read Ambergate! Nice use of religion, too.

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

    Posted August 29, 2007

    My Favorite!

    I loved this book so much! I couldn't put it down. It was just the type of book I like, fantasy, freaky, and adventurous. It was amazing! I just bought Ambergate and I'm really excited to read it!

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

    Posted June 2, 2006

    What a wonderful charming book!!!!!

    I found this an exceptionarly well written novel. I felt that the author had written the charaters with great specification during this wonderful novel. I felt that Agnes Cotter's charateristics were shown in a very ...... I wonder what will happen after Silas Seed's death, will he come back to haunt Agnes's life or will he not?????

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

    Posted April 18, 2006

    Jessica

    I loved this book. The characters were so vividly real and personal. However, I didn't really care for the bird theme it made it seem as though the author was confused about how to portray the religion. Overall though it was a fascinating read. There seems room in the end for a sequel. One can only hope.

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

    Posted March 14, 2006

    Yeah, it was okay

    Personally, I thought this book could be a lot better. It had a good plot, and strong characters, but I think that there was too much information to remember to actually enjoy the book. It started out strong, then I got lost in the middle, and really confused in the end. But I do recommend this book. It was just... okay.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

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