My Swordhand Is Singing

My Swordhand Is Singing

by Marcus Sedgwick

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375846908
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 07/28/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

By day Marcus Sedgwick works in children’s publishing, and by night he is the drummer in a rock band in Brighton, England. He lives in Sussex with his wife, Pippa, and has a daughter, Alice.

Read an Excerpt


Deep in the Woods

When he fell for the fifth time, when his face plunged into the deep snow, when his hands burnt from the cold but he didn’t care, Radu the woodcutter knew he was going to die. Somewhere behind him in the darknesses of the forest he could hear the man who had attacked him. He was scared now, almost too scared to move, almost too cold to run anymore, but still he knew something was wrong. Something that should not be.

He got up and stumbled on desperately, sending snow flying in little spurts. Even here among the thickness of the trees it lay heavily on the ground, whisked and funneled by the east wind into strange hills and troughs, like white beasts lurking at the foot of the birches.

Radu looked behind him, but could see nothing. Nothing but the vast unfathomable forest. It was said you could ride from Poland to Turkey and never leave the trees behind, but he knew that wasn’t true. Nothing could be that big! Not even the Mother Forest.

He stopped for a moment, listening hard, but all he could hear was his own panting as he sucked air into his painful chest. He no longer knew where he was, though the forest had been his home all his life. His hut and his village were far away. He looked around, straining to recognize anything, but all he saw were a hundred thousand silver birch trees.

A branch cracked, and with horror Radu’s eyes snapped back to his pursuer. Now that Radu saw him again, he knew what was wrong.

“In the name of Jesus and the Forest . . .”

The words fell dead in the softness of the snow, but even as they did Radu turned and began to run, lurching wildly from tree to tree. His right hand left a smear of blood on the paper bark of a birch, but that wound was irrelevant now. It was such a short while since he’d been cutting wood with his axe. The axe that lay somewhere in the snow, its blade stained with blood, already frozen. His blood.

He hit another two trees, but barely noticed, and suddenly he realized where he was. Close to Chust, where his fellow woodcutter Tomas lived in a hut outside the village.

For a fleeting moment a flame of hope ignited in his heart. He had run fast, the village was only a short way through the trees, and he could no longer hear his attacker behind him.

But then Radu rounded a tree and ran straight into him.

The man was not tall, but he was fat. Bloated. His skin was as white as the trees around them. There was dried blood at the corners of his shriveled mouth. It had taken Radu all this time to recognize him.

Radu took a step backward, his fur boots brushing through the snow. He tripped over an unseen root, but kept his feet. He lifted a hand and pointed at the man.

“But Willem. You’re dead!”

The man lunged forward and shoved his hand like a knife into Radu’s chest, feeling for his heart.

“Not anymore,” he said.

And now it was Radu who fell dead in the softness of the snow.

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My Swordhand Is Singing 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
CaroTheLibrarian on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Set somewhere in Eastern Europe, sometime in the past, Peter is a young wood-cutter who travels around with his father, Tomas. When they settle in the village of Chust, Peter soon realises that all is not as it should be. The dead don't seem to be staying in their graves.The snowy forests are beautifully described and the tension builds as the reader is caught up on a gothic tale of vampires and gypsies. Highly enjoyable (if that's the right word for a rather dark and chilling read!)
Yr9Read on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A tale that swiftly makes a bite into your imagination, but definitely not for the faint-hearted to read in the wee small hours! For those braver souls you may not make it to school on time the next day as this gripping story of a most courageous young woodcutter will keep you turning pages. Save for the weekend and devour in one sitting.Read either before or after The hunger games or The knife of never letting go. Great stuff!Also check out Marcus Sedgwick's Floodland. Use AccessIt to reserve any of these books,
FrogPrincessuk on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A not particularly original vampire tale, but I certainly like Marcus Sedgwick's work and shall be reading more of his books.
joririchardson on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In this gothic horror/thriller, Marcus Sedgewick explores the origins of the "vampire" legends. For those who enjoy vampire stories, this is a refreshing and unique twist on the ordinary take on such mythical beings.The book is well paced, with enough suspense to make the reader eager to continue.I would not classify this as "horror" but more of a thriller. It definitely has horror elements to it, but is not actually frightening.An excellent gothic story - Marcus Sedgewick is a genius of the genre.
ken1952 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very entertaining horror novel that gives a new twist to the vampire legend. Set in seventeenth century Europe, a woodcutter and his son set up shop in a small village only to find that certain dead villagers seem to be reappearing and causing quite alot of to-do. The woodcutter's past has made him a drunkard much to the chagrin of his kind and handsome son. Add to that the legends of the Shadow Queen and the Winter King and you have a very entertaining story. comment ·
ohioyalibrarian on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I loved this book!! Based on ancient vampire legends, rather than modern ones, it is extremely well written, scary, and super creepy. Sedgwick really did his homework on the ancient concept of vampires, as is displayed by his notes at the end of the book.
PitcherBooks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An interesting vampire novel that uses the old legends of Eastern Europe to wonderful effect. I've read a lot of vampire fiction - some good, some simply awful - but this stands out head and shoulders above the rest! The only vampire book other than Dracula that I'd consider a new but not-to-be-missed classic!
books_ofa_feather on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I thought this was an interesting take on the vampire legend. The beginning didn't have me too thrilled, slow and a little confusing. However, I kept reading and ended up liking the book. It wasn't the best vampire book I've ever read, but it was worth reading.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was action packed. It was one of the best books I read so far. Its violent scenes and energized chase scenes created a exciting horror story. Perfect book for readers that like scary books(for ages 13 up)
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Marcus Sedgwick's MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING is a dark novel with a heavy emphasis on thick, snowy forests of Eastern Europe, gypsies, and superstitious town folk. It is the perfect setting for a scary story, but it is also much, much more.

Tomas and his teenage son, Peter, are a pair of traveling woodcutters with a mysterious past that settle down in the village of Chust one winter. Before long a string a deaths strike the village. Peter is perturbed by the villagers' strange reactions to the occurrences. When he asks Tomas about them, his father brushes away his questions as silly folk lore. However, Tomas is also doing his own share of strange things, like digging a trench around their home and filling it with moving water. When Agnes, a girl Peter likes, is symbolically married to a dead man and shut up in a remote hut, Peter tries to rescue her and runs into a monster.

Sedgwick takes pains to distance his tale from the gentleman bloodsucker that Anne Rice and authors like her have embedded into pop culture. The word "vampire" is never mentioned and the vampires, themselves, have varying appearances throughout the novel. He does a great job at weaving various and sometimes seemingly paradoxical pieces of folk lore. This gives the story a great sense of immediacy and realism. Sedgwick also shifts the focus from vampires to people who have to deal with terrifying occurrences at home. The buildup of the growing atmosphere of fear and denial will have readers biting their fingernails.

Marcus Sedgwick seems to take a lot of risks in writing this atypical, historically rich vampire novel. Central to the story line is not the relationship between a human and vampire or a girl and a boy (a la Buffy and Angel), but a wounded relationship between father and son. While this may seem terribly uncool, the realism of this relationship is what grounds the novel and makes the more fantastical elements more believable and scary.