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Paperback The Book of Dead Days Book

ISBN: 1842552678

ISBN13: 9781842552674

The Book of Dead Days

(Book #1 in the Book of Dead Days Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New


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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. THE DAYS BETWEEN Christmas and New Year's Eve are dead days, when spirits roam and magic shifts restlessly just beneath the surface of our lives. A magician called Valerian must save his own life...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Dead and dismal

Can a Faustian pact be avoided? And if so, what's the cost? That's what our heroes -- and enemies -- are trying to do in "The Book of Dead Days," a chilling historical fantasy where a nameless boy searches for the means to save his master, and for the clues to his own past. In a ragtag circus, Valerian the magician serves up many of the thrills -- with Boy as his slavish assistant. But that changes during the Dead Days between Christmas and New Year's, when Valerian is attacked and buried alive. Boy and his friend Willow cart him home, and hear Valerian's terrible story: Fifteen years ago, he made a Faustian pact to win the heart of the woman. Now the time has come to give up his life and soul to a demon, and he's desperate to escape his fate. Boy and Willow agree to help him find the Book of Dead Days, which is hidden in a crypt somewhere in the city. But Boy doesn't realize how desperate Valerian is, or that he plans to sacrifice Boy in his stead... Perhaps the worst thing about the "Book of Dead Days" is the fact that it ends with so many threads hanging -- the whole mystery of who Boy is remains unsolved. Up until that point, there are few weak spots at all. With a plucky heroine, slightly dopey hero and medieval magic, "The Book of Dead Days" is like reading the gothic twin of Lloyd Alexander's books. Marcus Sedgwick has always had a sort of Edward-Gorey-like writing style, with the ability to make the everyday look a bit dark and bizarre. In the time of the Holy Roman Empire, he makes readers see the superstition, the cold, and the grime. Not to mention bone chapels, magical books and plenty of creepy underground tunnels. And it somehow seems appropriate that Boy, the nameless hero, is a rather timid, pallid character for most of the book; he only shows his strength when he sees what Valerian really is. He and plucky Willow are the only characters who are what they seem to be; others can be creepily deceptive, and have their own (murderous) motives for what they do. Though it ends with an obvious "to be continued," Marcus Sedgwick creates another haunting, vivid story in "Book of Dead Days." Just be sure to find out the rest of Boy's story.

Absoluetly Incredible

For those parents and young adults who are looking for an escape from the dreary world of reading and re-reading the beloved Harry Potter novels look no further than this amazing book. Along with it's partner "The Dark Flight Down" it weaves a fantastic tale of the most unlikely, yet believable, protagonists to grace the modern fantasy novel. Boy, an orphan with no key to his past, and presumably no fantastic future, and his friend and fellow servant Willow, race against the clock along with Boy's master the magician Valerian to unlock the secret to saving Valerian's life. But when circumstances lead the trio on a tragic and wonderful trip through a dark and underground world Boy begins to show his true colors. Children of all ages will connect with Boy's lonliness and his longing to be accepted. They will cheer and bound through each twist into the dark and delicious realm that Marcus Sedgwick has created, on the coat tails of one of the darkest and most sinister villains created in a long while. There is nothing to say that Sedgewick won't have you on the edge of your seat until well into the wee hours of morning. But really, there is no place you would rather be.

Encredibly well written

As the a lot of other people who reviewed this book said, The Book of the Dead Days was extremely atmospheric and dark. It tells the story of Boy, an orphan whose master, Valerian, didn't bother to give him a name. He has lived an unusual life, afraid things and neglected by Valerian who thinks of him as a worthless servant a lot of the time. Valerian is a magitian and Boy is his assistant. He constantly helps Valerian with the performances of his tricks-hides in boxes, pulls levers etc. He doesn't mind his life as it's better than living on the streets like he did before he met Valerian, but it's far from heavan. One day, however, Boy's life changes completely. Valerian has an unimaginable secret and he has only a handful of days to save his own life. This book was very well written and the setting is amazing. The characters had very real rections and feelings, though I found Willow, Boy's friend, a little one-dimensional. The twist was very well done and changed the story entirely. I found the end a little abrupt and just a litle bit cheesy but that's just me. And the abruptness doesn't really matter because there's a sequil (which I have to go buy in the near future). In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book. I tore through it. I recommend it to everyone.


I've read this book twice now since I bought it last year. It may not be so much the actual story that gripped me so strongly, but the way that Sedgwick illustrates this slightly grotesque world. I applaud Sedgwick on this masterpiece and highly recommend this novel.


"Offstage, Boy pushed the lid of the cabinet up with his head until there was enough space to lift it with his hands. " 'Out you come, then,' said a stagehand. Boy took the man's hand gratefully..." THE BOOK OF DEAD DAYS has nothing whatsoever to do with Jerry Garcia. Nevertheless, you'll find yourself tiptoeing amidst a rather healthy crop of skeletons if you dare to follow a pair of young orphans, and a magician on his last legs, as they race the clock through the dark recesses of a fantastical old European city in the final, frigid days of a year set on the verge of the modern scientific era. "He climbed out and stood for a moment in the wings, rubbing his sore calves and watching as Valerian began his grand finale. "The Fairyland Vanishing Illusion. "Boy was not needed for this part of the act. He watched Valerian from the side of the stage. "How many times has he done this? Boy wondered. He had forgotten how long he had been working for Valerian, but it was years. Boy could only guess at how many thousand times he had hidden in boxes, pulled levers, set off thunder flashes and opened trapdoors. He helped Valerian with trick after trick, week after week in the Great Theater, which was as much of a home as anywhere to Boy." The "dead days" of the title are those five or so days of the year that mess up what would otherwise be a neat and orderly calendar of twelve 30-day months. Both the ancient Egyptians and the Aztecs shoved those leftover days into an ominous no-man's land at the end of their calendar year. THE BOOK OF DEAD DAYS is a tense drama in which Valerian seeks to save himself in those last days before the tolling of the new year, by tracking down a powerful old book that is somewhere hidden away. In the process, we are led through the underseams of some of the most claustrophobic settings that I've encountered. It was, in fact, from a rather small hiding place that the orphan, known only as Boy, had fallen many years earlier when he first came eye to eye with the magician: "Small, cramped dark spaces had filled Boy's life. Long ago, he had even been hiding in one the day he was found by Valerian in an old church, St. Colette's. Boy had crammed his narrow frame into a space at the top of a pillar in the nave... "Even then Valerian looked haggard and pale. His nose, long and fine, twitched in the dusty atmosphere of the old church. His skin was gray, so was his hair. He looked like a dead man walking. But his blue eyes were full of life, and his gaze roamed the dark spaces around him. "Then Boy had heard his midnight rumble of a voice, so deep the stone he was clinging to shivered with it. " 'The doctor,' intoned Valerian, 'pronounced me either dangerously sick or dead.' "It was while trying to understand the strangeness of those words that Boy lost his grip and plummeted to the flag floor of the church, where he lay looking up at Valerian, scratching his nose nervously, his short-cropped black hair sticking up at interest
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