The Riddles of Epsilon
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The Riddles of Epsilon

4.6 33
by Christine Morton-Shaw

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Something dark has awoken on the remote island of Lume

Jess is not pleased when her parents drag her off to live on the weird little island of Lume. But then she encounters an eerie presence in an abandoned cottage, and her anger turns to fear when it begins to lead her through a series of creepy riddles. As she slowly unravels the mysteries of Lume, she finds


Something dark has awoken on the remote island of Lume

Jess is not pleased when her parents drag her off to live on the weird little island of Lume. But then she encounters an eerie presence in an abandoned cottage, and her anger turns to fear when it begins to lead her through a series of creepy riddles. As she slowly unravels the mysteries of Lume, she finds the writings of Sebastian, a boy who lived one hundred years ago and whose life contains unsettling reflections of her own. To her horror, the dangers he unearthed in 1894 now begin to threaten Jess and her family . . . and if Jess does not unlock the riddles in time, she may lose her mother forever.

Editorial Reviews

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The plot…will sweep readers into the action.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The plot…will sweep readers into the action."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The plot…will sweep readers into the action.”
KLIATT - Donna Scanlon
13-year-old Jess is not enthralled with her parents' decision to move to an old fixer-upper her mother inherited on an island off the coast of England. Her one solace is chatting via computer with her friends at home. One night, a stranger enters the chat room, a stranger only Jess notices. The stranger turns out to be a being called Epsilon. He is attached to a ruined cottage nearby where Jess finds clues and strange symbols connected to an ancient legend. She also finds information about Sebastian, a boy her age who lived in her house years before. Aspects of their lives parallel each other as Jess's mother is drawn into the same encroaching evil that destroyed Sebastian's mother. It's probably best not to think too much about why Epsilon can't just tell Jess what is going on, since the riddles constitute the major plot device. Once the reader accepts the device, s/he is pulled into an engrossing, cleverly constructed, and original tale. Morton-Shaw writes in vivid snapshots, capturing the sense of place in deftly drawn images. Most of her characters are realistic, refreshingly unpredictable, and sympathetic. There are the obligatory "villains," but they are not cardboard cutouts wearing a scarlet "E" for evil. Rather, they are depicted as flawed human beings who cannot overcome their flaws. Fantasy fans will need no persuading to try this promising debut novel from a fresh new talent.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Jessica White, 14, is trying to adjust to her parents' abrupt move to the Isle of Lume (off the English coast) when she discovers the ghostly presence of Epsilon and the fascinating letters of Sebastian Wren, who lived 100 years earlier. Slowly the clues come together, revealing that the danger (or is it madness?) her mother faces appears to be the same thing that destroyed Sebastian's mother. Epsilon clearly has something for Jess to do, but he speaks only in riddles, poems, and haunting songs out of Lume's history. Morton-Shaw's first novel deals ultimately with an age-old curse and the battle for power between good and evil. Teen readers will identify with Jess's sense of isolation from friends, her chat-room visits, her attraction to the unknown, and the variations in her relationship with her parents (ranging from rebellion to overwhelming love and concern). Ultimately, though, she is just too brave and too clever to be believable. She faces fear and the unknown with a flinch but never weak-kneed. Some of the clues and riddles are too obvious; others are so obscure that even when Jess explains them, they are difficult to grasp. Finally, the conclusion, meant to be a jaw-dropper, instead comes across as what some might consider a cheap trick.-Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ciphers, codes and other puzzles abound in a British fantasy that uses the immense conflict between dark and light beings at the core of its magic. The twist here is the frequent chat room script that contrasts the ghostly presence of Epsilon with the girls' slang and more informal dialogue. Jessica's family has just moved to a remote island to try to sort out the marital difficulties of the parents. Determined at first to be uncooperative, Jessica is gradually intrigued by the mysterious and unexplained hints that Epsilon drops about the enormous stakes. Sebastian Wren and his parents lived in the Big House over a hundred years ago and the exchanges through time between Jess and her mother and their earlier counterparts add to the suspense. Those looking for Christian symbolism will be rewarded, but the excitement of the chase will be sufficient for most readers. In the tradition of Ellen Raskin's classic The Westing Game, but closer to Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (2004) or Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest series. A clever conundrum. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)
570L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Riddles of Epsilon

By Christine Morton-Shaw

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Christine Morton-Shaw
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060728213

Chapter One

There are two members in the chat room:

Jess and Avril

AVRIL: So have the Enemy calmed down yet?

JESS: Mom and Dad? Are you kidding? You'd think I'd had tattoos done. It was only a tiny nose ring, for crying out loud! And it was over a week ago, before we even moved here!

AVRIL: Hayley's mom grounded her, for a whole week!

JESS: Poor Hayley!

AVRIL: It ended yesterday. She'll be here any minute--we're off to a party.

JESS: Lucky things! Say hi to her from me. Tell them I miss them all.

AVRIL: So did they make you take the nose ring out?

JESS: No way! That's why Dad isn't talking to me.

AVRIL: So what's the new house like?

JESS: Gross. Falling apart. Old. Full of crummy old stuff. My room's okay though--it's the whole attic. Massive. Half carpeted, half bare boards--Dad's put a barre up, and a mirror.

AVRIL: Cool! Your own personal dance studio!

JESS: Well, there's not much else to do in this godforsaken dump. This will be my summer of hell. There are no kids here my age--just toddlers. If I didn't have Domino, I'd die of boredom.

AVRIL: I miss taking him for walks.Mom still won't let me get a dog. How's he settling down?

JESS: Oh, he loves it. Lots of rabbits and seagulls to chase. That's all he cares about.

AVRIL: By the way, you left your purple leotard in my room, and your Swat CD.


JESS: I've been looking for that CD everywhere! Send it to me?

AVRIL: Oops--doorbell. Hayley's here, gotta go. Talk tomorrow? XXX


V: Greetings.

JESS: Hey! Didn't know you could just butt in like that. This is a private room!

V: So you think Lume is a godforsaken place, huh?

JESS: What?

V: For an island, it is a bit remote. But you are wrong. There's a lot going on here.

JESS: I never said I was on Lume. Who are you?

V: V

JESS: V? What does the V stand for?

V: V

V has now left the chat room


Excerpted from The Riddles of Epsilon by Christine Morton-Shaw Copyright © 2006 by Christine Morton-Shaw. 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

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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Riddles of Epsilon 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that this is one of those books that when you read it, you have to read it again. maybe half for the "because-its-a-good-book" and half because of "okay-i-didn't-get-a-single-word-of-that". Christine morton shaw did a great job of confusing me throughout the book. it has a plot that until you figure it out (which takes a while) you just want to keep reading it, because if you don't youll be having dreams about the mysterious epsilon. the riddles and puzzles really offer a way for the reader (me)to make reading this book much more personal. this is definately one book that i truly truly love, and would reccomend it to anyone who loves what-is-going-on-here books and loves the sort of endings that truly make you think. All in all, awesome.
-AvidReader More than 1 year ago
The Riddles of Epsilon is a book that after you it the first time, you have to read it again. Its the type of book that I,years after discovering it in a dark corner of an nondescript public library, read on day when I want to curl up in a chair by a window on a rainy day. The overall plot (see one of the numerous summaries above) is liable to keep you on your toes as it races past various twists and turns leaving you, a confused mess trying to sort it all out (in a good way.) The ending of this book is one that the readers can tell required a lot of effort and planning, due to this, it came out as a wonderful and thrilling tier-up of a book riddled(see what i did there) with loose ends that you'll never get until the end (read it you'll understand what i mean) Its an excellent book for people who enjoy mysteries and suspense along with a surprising ending. (if you liked the Percy Jackson series, not the movie, you'd enjoy this book, probably)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i think its very good the aruther explained her self very well when i stated this book i just couldnt let it go as well as other books i have read of the years
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lachelle Rivera More than 1 year ago
It was great! XD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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GVSreading More than 1 year ago
This girl (Jess) moves to this island with her family and there is a ghost (E) of the island that can only confront Jess on an online chat to try and warn her about the dark ones. At first she doesn't listen but he finally convinces her that her and her family is in danger. I guess that what finally convinced her was how her mom started sleep walking and saying these weird chants, "she's coming" and "she needs a path here". She would stand by her window at all hours of the night dead asleep and would say she was "waiting for her". Her mom was an artist and she kept drawing pictures of the supposed "her" so when she told E that she believed him she had to go to this deserted cabin in the woods, where E used to live and find all these clues and solve all these riddles until she finds out what's wrong with her mom and who the dark ones are It was a pretty good book but the way they described it I thought it would be better, but I guess not. I didn't like how on some of the ghost's diary entries the writing was in tiny sloppy cursive. It was a good book I liked the mystery but I didn't like how it was long, but if you don't like mystery then you shouldn't read this book. I did like how in the book it looked like you were actually reading out of Jess's diary and how it really looked like an online chat instead of just the rest of the writing in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is well written and a page-turner!As soon as I started reading it I was hooked! I'd recommend this book to anyone, child or adult!:) The book has a teenagerish quality, so as not to be too stuffy, and just the right amount of suspense to make it unforgettable :)!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When she gets into some trouble at school, Jess's parents think they have the perfect solution: they'll move to Lume, an island in the middle of nowhere. She thinks there is absolutely nothing interesting about Lume--until she discovers a derelict old cottage. There's something creepy about the cottage--some sort of presence that Jess can't describe. It turns even weirder and scarier when that same presence shows up in her instant message conversations--with no record of it on her computer.

This ghostly being, whatever he is, is soon revealed to be the owner of the cottage. He calls himself Epsilon, and he is leading Jess on a dark sort of treasure hunt--where the treasure, if she solves his riddles properly, will be saving her mother.

The eerie quest mirrors that of Sebastian Wren, a boy who lived in the same house, and faced the same dangers, a hundred years ago. Can Jess succeed where Sebastian did not?

This supernatural mystery/fantasy is certainly a suspenseful page-turner, but, in the end, it is quite forgettable. It's a nice way to pass an afternoon. The best part of the story is the heart-pounding suspense! It's great for that, and it'll have you checking nervously over your shoulder at times. It's even good enough for me to want to look for more by Christine Morton-Shaw, but I might check it out of the library first rather than buying it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really great book. I recommend this to anyone really. Although I didn't like the plot that much, the story was very well written. It was hard to put down when I started to read it, but there were some parts that I find quite dull.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great book that was all about mystery and riddles! It was aawsome how the autor kept the answers of the riddles til way into the book...that was what kept me reading til I was done!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely different from anything that I have ever read before. It vaguely reminded me of those Nancy Drew computer games with the riddles and clues and different locations. I felt that it carried on at times and was boring, very repetative, finding myself eager to finish it. I recommend it, though it isn't one of my favorite books. My favorite character by far was Epsilon. I can't be the only one who envisions him as some hot, Brad Pitt duplicate can I?
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love the mystorey and every about this book! can't wate for whats next!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This books defiantly makes my top five. I absolutely loved this book. I can't wait for some more work from her!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book blew me away.. a teacher of mine recommended it to a freind.. and i read the inside of the cover...i couldnt wait to read it. This book is filled with such suspense and just when you think you have everything figured out... the riddles change, and so do the clues.. and you have to start figuring it out all over again.. this was one book i just couldnt put down... i started it in 2nd period and was finished by the evening. I definately recommend this book to anyone. CHRISTINE MORTON-SHAW ROCKS!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so amazed with the way this book was writen. Usually I understand the mystery and how to solve it before the characters do, but with this book I was as clueless as Jess, perhaps more at times! Riddles of Eplsilon was beautifully done and its complexity unfolded before your eyes. I never wanted to stop reading, beacause I was so desperate to know the anwsers! A wonderful read that will leave you cativated, garaunteed.Trust me, this book rocks hard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book about light, darkness, swans, and the main charachter jess. seb wren is also a main roll in the story, and everthing just puts itself together.