The Murdstone Tril­ogy

Well­fair de­pen­dency

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books - Dean Evans

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

320 pages | Hard­back Au­thor: Mal Peet Pub­lisher: David Fick­ling Books

The Murdstone Tril­ogy is an odd­ity. It’s not a tril­ogy. Although it is a three- part story about one. Nor is it strictly a fan­tasy. Although again, it is about one. In part, the book tells an epic, Tolkienesque story about a bat­tle be­tween good and evil. But it’s also a black com­edy about a man who writes a best­selling novel in­spired by an in­ter­di­men­sional re­al­ity.

That man is Philip Murdstone, a writer whose ca­reer is on the slide. No­body wants to read his award­win­ning sto­ries about the pain of child­hood, and when his agent sug­gests that he write a fan­tasy epic, Murdstone ab­hors the idea. But after drunk­enly stum­bling into an old stone cir­cle, he’s vis­ited by an oth­er­worldly dwarf who spins an ex­tra­or­di­nary tale of necro­mancers, bat­tle- hun­gry Swelts and magic swords. It’s a story that will make Philip Murdstone – and quite pos­si­bly break him.

Mal Peet de­lights in play­ing with lan­guage, and his two main char­ac­ters – the in­creas­ingly un­hinged Murdstone and fan­tas­ti­cal muse Pocket Well­fair – are ex­pertly drawn. The chap­ters where the two ar­gue are some of the most en­ter­tain­ing. The fan­tasy story is sec­ondary. In­stead, we follow Murdstone’s rise as a nov­el­ist and his fall as he strug­gles to con­vince Well­fair to help him write a se­quel. A re­fresh­ing and ab­sorb­ing change of pace.

Like Murdstone, Peet is an award- win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, and he’s won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize.

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