The Moon-Spinners

The Moon-Spinners

by Mary Stewart


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Impetuous and attractive, Nicola Ferris has just arrived in Crete for a holiday when she sees an egret fly out of a lemon grove. On impulse, she follows the bird’s path into the White Mountains. There she discovers a young Englishman who, hiding out in the hills and less than pleased to have been discovered, sends Nicola packing with the order to keep out of his affairs. This, of course, Nicola is unable to do, and before long events lead to a stunning climax among the fishing boats of Agios Georgios Bay.

In this bestselling novel, first published in 1963 and made into a successful movie starring Hayley Mills the following year, Mary Stewart, in her magical way, evokes Crete as she has Delphi, Provence, Northumberland, and the Hebrides in her other books. With her keen delineation of character, she once again casts a spell of suspense and romance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781569767122
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Series: Rediscovered Classics Series
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 86,003
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mary Stewart has published 20 novels, including the Merlin trilogy (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment), Nine Coaches Waiting, The Ivy Tree, Thornyhold, My Brother Michael, and Rose Cottage.

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Lightly this little herald flew aloft ...
Onward it flies ...
Until it reach'd a splashing fountain's side
That, near a cavern's mouth, forever pour'd
Unto the temperate air ...

Keats: Endymion

It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove, that started it. I won't pretend I saw it straight away as the conventional herald of adventure, the white stag of the fairytale, which, bounding from the enchanted thicket, entices the prince away from his followers, and loses him in the forest where danger threatens with the dusk. But, when the big white bird flew suddenly up among the glossy leaves and the lemon-flowers, and wheeled into the mountain, I followed it. What else is there to do when such a thing happens on a brilliant April noonday at the foot of the White Mountains of Crete; when the road is hot and dusty, but the gorge is green, and full of the sound of water, and the white wings, flying ahead, flicker in and out of deep shadow, and the air is full of the scent of lemon-blossom?

The car from Heraklion had set me down where the track for Agios Georgios leaves the road. I got out, adjusted on my shoulder the big bag of embroidered canvas that did duty as a haversack, then turned to thank the American couple for the lift.

"It was a pleasure, honey." Mrs. Studebaker peered, rather anxiously, out of the car window. "But are you sure you're all right? I don't like putting you down like this, in the middle of nowhere. You're sure this is the right place? What does that signpost say?"

The signpost, when consulted, said, helpfully, ΑΓ ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΣ. "Well, what do you know?" said Mrs. Studebaker. "Now, look, honey -- "

"It's all right," I said, laughing. "That is 'Agios Georgios,' and, according to your driver -- and the map -- the village is about three-quarters of a mile away, down this track. Once round that bit of cliff down there, I'll probably be able to see it."

"I surely hope so." Mr. Studebaker had got out of the car when I did, and was now supervising the driver as he lifted my one small case from the boot, and set it beside me at the edge of the road. Mr. Studebaker was large and pink and sweet-tempered, and wore an orange shirt outside his pearl-gray drill trousers, and a wide floppy linen hat. He thought Mrs. Studebaker the cleverest and most beautiful woman in the world, and said so; in consequence she, too, was sweet-tempered, besides being extremely smart. They were both lavish with that warm, extroverted, and slightly naïve kindliness which seems a specifically American virtue. I had made their acquaintance at my hotel only the evening before, and, as soon as they heard that I was making for the southern coast of Crete, nothing would content them but that I should join them for part of their hired tour of the island. Now, it seemed, nothing would please them better than for me to abandon my foolish project of visiting this village in the middle of nowhere, and go with them for the rest of their trip.

"I don't like it." Mr. Studebaker was anxiously regarding the stony little track which wound gently downhill from the road between rocky slopes studded with scrub and dwarf juniper. "I don't like leaving you here alone. Why -- " he turned earnest, kindly blue eyes on me -- "I read a book about Crete, just before Mother and I came over, and believe me, Miss Ferris, they have some customs here, still, that you just wouldn't credit. In some ways, according to this book, Greece is still a very, very primitive country."

I laughed. "Maybe. But one of the primitive customs is that the stranger's sacred. Even in Crete, nobody's going to murder a visitor! Don't worry about me, really. It's sweet of you, but I'll be quite all right. I told you, I've lived in Greece for more than a year now, and I get along quite well in Greek -- and I've been to Crete before. So you can leave me quite safely. This is certainly the right place, and I'll be down in the village in twenty minutes. The hotel's not expecting me till tomorrow, but I know they've nobody else there, so I'll get a bed."

"And this cousin of yours that should have come with you? You're sure she'll show up?"

"Of course." He was looking so anxious that I explained again. "She was delayed, and missed the flight, but she told me not to wait for her, and I left a message. Even if she misses tomorrow's bus, she'll get a car or something. She's very capable." I smiled. "She was anxious for me not to waste any of my holiday hanging around waiting for her, so she'll be grateful to you as I am, forgiving me an extra day."

"Well, if you're sure ... "

"I'm quite sure. Now, don't let me keep you any more. It was wonderful to get a lift this far. If I'd waited for the bus tomorrow, it would have taken the whole day to get here." I smiled, and held out my hand. "And still I'd have been dumped right here! So you see, you have given me a whole extra day's holiday, besides the run, which was marvelous. Thank you again."

Eventually, reassured, they drove off. The car gathered way slowly up the cement-hard mud of the hill road, bumping and swaying over the ruts which marked the course of winter's over-spills of mountain rain. It churned its way up round a steep bend, and bore away inland. The dust of its wake hung thickly, till the breeze slowly dispersed it ...

Moonspinners. Copyright © by Mary Stewart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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The Moon-Spinners 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Panther_City_Yank More than 1 year ago
Mary Stewart started my love of reading and the written word, and an artful turn of phrase, when I was perhaps in Jr. High. This is my all time favorite. What we now call "romantic suspense" used to be called "gothic suspense." It was a great way to move to adult fiction, find some romance and mystery and learn about a foreign local. I still own most of her books and have lost track of how many times I have read this. Treat yourself. I would recommend all of her pre Merlin books, but my top favorites are "My Brother Michael", "This Rough Magic", "Airs Above the Ground" and "Madam, Will You Talk?" By the way, unlike so many books turned out these days, Mary Stewart's books are well written from a gramatical standpoint and well plotted. She excelled at describing a person or place so you could see it or them in your mind's eye. PLEASE PUT THIS AND OTHER MARY STEWART (pre Merlin) CLASSIC IN EBOOKS!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read this book in years, glad I found it again for my nook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms.Stewart takes us to Crete circa 1958, and a lovely island and people with a juicy suspenceful mystery. It will make you wish you were there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am very happy to have this in my nook I had this book years ago and loan it It is a good book Hope you enjoy it too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. I pick the book up every few years and enjoy it like an old friend. And don't forget to drink hot cocoa while doing so.
tclah More than 1 year ago
I love this book, have read it several times andenjoy it with every reading. The charactors and storyline are wonderful written. 
SerendipityDW More than 1 year ago
I read The Moonspinners years ago and it continues to be one of my favorite books. It is a first class story set in a fascinating location. I love that Nicola is a very ordinary young woman who finds herself embroiled in a situation she cannot in good conscience leave alone. Nicola sets off to do a little exploration on a unexpectantly gained day in the White mountains of Crete and finds Mark who has been shot while witnessing a murder. Mark's brother is missing; his guide is tied to his side and unable to look for Colin (the brother). Nicola intervenes as an angel of mercy and tends Mark for a night while Lambis, the guide does some recon and gets supplies ... AND THEN .. the guys want to protect Nicola by keeping her out of the situtation .... so much for that thought. The story is great ... just a good read ... it is also suitable for tweens because the story is more suspense/adventure romance, than being filled with sex. I read a lot of romance and it is uncommon that a book without a little sex can hold my interest. Mary Stewart's other books are along the same lines and are good too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disney made a movie of this, which was fun. However, the original Mary Stewart script was so much better. This is another of my favorite Stewart writings. Ms Stewart wove her tales around human nature and interesting places. Her descriptions of the Greek isles tempted one to hop on a plane, while her bad folk made you equally glad you were curled up with a book, just reading about them. Kudos for one of the masters of modern mysteries with a nice romance thrown in. It's a steal at this price, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first Mary Stewart book that I have read, and it is a great book. Wonderful story lines, and great caracters. So much excitment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nicola takes some vacation in a small town in Crete named Agios Georgios. She plans to have a tranquil, quiet vacation. However, her plans change completely when she helps Mark, a man that has seen a murder performed. She is in serious trouble when she gets herself involved. How will she pass unnoticed under the murderer¿s eyes? This is one of those books that you absolutely have to read. It is a book full of suspense. It keeps you reading until you finish it. As a matter of fact, I couldn¿t get to sleep until I finished it and I enjoyed the way Mary Stewart described the Greece landscape.