Listen to a sample

What to expect

Kit has just moved to Stoneygate with his family, to live with his ageing grandfather who is gradually succumbing to Alzheimer’s Disease. Stoneygate is an insular place, scarred by its mining history – by the danger and death it has brought them. Where the coal mine used to be there is now a wilderness.

Here Kit meets Askew, a surly and threatening figure who masterminds the game called Death, a frightening ritual of hypnotism; and Kit makes friends with Allie, the clever school troublemaker. As Kit struggles to adjust to his new life and the gradual failing of his beloved grandfather, these two friendships pull him towards a terrifying resolution. Haunted by ghosts of the past, Kit must confront death and – ultimately – life.

A stunning novel from the author of the modern children’s classic Skellig – winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award. David Almond is also winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen award.

(P) Hodder Children’s Books 2000

Critics Review

  • Magic of a very different kind

    The Times
  • An enthralling, multi-layered and complex story with a tension that builds and grips the reader. A wonder ful read.

    The Bookseller
  • A writer of subtle, page-turning and daring exactness.

    The Times Educational Supplement
  • Extremely good. Written with an acute sense of place plus a touch of the supernatural.

    The Independent
  • Sensitive and absorbing.

    The Observer
  • Has the same mesmerising quality of writing and a hauntingly intense plot.

    The Sunday Times

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to get tailored content recommendations, product updates and info on new releases. Your data is your own: we commit to protect your data and respect your privacy.