The Fearful

Overview

In 1699, William Milmullen took his six pupils to the lakeside to study, but only William returned after a creature rose up from the water and devoured the six boys right before his eyes. William Milmullen never recovered from the shock of what he’d seen. He named the creature “The Mourn” and declared himself “Mourner”, and vowed that every Milmullen son would take the mantle of Mourner at the age of 16 to protect the town from “the dragon in the lake.”

In the story, Tim ...

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The Fearful

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Overview

In 1699, William Milmullen took his six pupils to the lakeside to study, but only William returned after a creature rose up from the water and devoured the six boys right before his eyes. William Milmullen never recovered from the shock of what he’d seen. He named the creature “The Mourn” and declared himself “Mourner”, and vowed that every Milmullen son would take the mantle of Mourner at the age of 16 to protect the town from “the dragon in the lake.”

In the story, Tim Milmullen will soon turn 16, but he doesn’t know if he wants the role of Mourner. For one thing, the kids at school make fun of him. And Tim isn’t sure if he believes in the legend or not. How can he dedicate his whole life to something he has never seen?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gray weaves a complex and haunting story at the heart of which is a searching exploration of personal courage...an engrossing and unsettling fantasy."  —Lindsey Fraser, Scottish Sunday Herald

"This is a complex, interesting story about faith."  —Jan Mark, TES

"One can't help thinking that if there were more writers like Keith Gray more teenagers would read."  —The Glasgow Herald

"Darker than Harry Potter, and with a hint of Philip Pullman's Dark Materials, it's a beautifully written story."  —Scottish Standard

"A suspenseful rite of passage novel."  —Bookseller

"Gray's storytelling gripped me...I was completely wrapped up in Tim's dilemma."  —Michael Thorn, the Scotsman

Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
More than three hundred years ago, William Milmullen claims that a monster rose from Lake Mou and devoured five boys. Since then, all Milmullen descendents have had the job of Mourner, who gathers dead animals to feed the monster and keep the village safe. Tim Milmullen is about to inherit the job but he doubts that the monster truly exists. This not only causes conflict with his father, who believes in the monster, but also with Tim's girlfriend Sarah, who does not understand Tim's urge to leave the village. When a guest at Tim's family's inn disappears on the lake, it attracts a lot of media attention and re-awakens the village fear of the monster. Yet Tim still wishes he could prove once and for all if the monster is real. While a summary of this book reads like a tired horror movie, the actual text is an amazing surprise. Instead of a basic horror plot, this book is a very rich story about family conflict and how legends develop and endure (or die). Tim, his family, and his friends and schoolmates are all vividly drawn characters, and the reader will be taken in by both the mystery and the drama. Reviewer: Amie Rose Rotruck
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Tim will become the Mourner next week. The 13th in his family since 1699 to do so, he'll have to collect roadkill and meaty donations for the weekly Feed to placate the monster that may inhabit their English lake, although it hasn't been seen in many years, if at all. Legend dictates that these offerings will protect the Fearful, now only a small percentage of the locals, from the monster's depredations. But Tim can't force himself to believe any longer in the face of 21st-century science. This leads to conflict with his girlfriend and his family, especially his father, as he tries to find a way out of his dilemma-become the next Mourner, or tell the truth and run away-in an intriguing take on coming-of-age issues. Obvious parallels to organized religion abound throughout. A minimal level of suspense is sustained through this somewhat long but interesting effort, peopled with well-developed characters. Believable dialogue features some British slang that may confound a few readers. Altogether, an unusual and entertaining read. (Fantasy. 11 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099456568
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Pages: 304
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Keith Gray won the Angus Book Award and the silver medal in the Smarties Prize for his fiction. He has twice been short listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize and was short listed for the Booktrust Teen Prize and the Scottish Arts Council Book Award.

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