Thursday 11 November 2010


When Tomas and his son, Peter, settle in Chust as woodcutters, Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut, so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why his father has done this, nor why his father carries a long, battered box, whose mysterious contents he is forbidden to know.

But Tomas is a man with a past: a past that is tracking him with deadly intent, and when the dead of Chust begin to rise from their graves, both father and son must face a soulless enemy and a terrifying destiny.

Well, this is the third Marcus Sedgwick book I've read, and I have to admit that I'm totally hooked on his stories. Seriously, they're so awesome and totally suck me in!

Peter and his father, Tomas, have spent their lives moving from one place to another but have finally decided to settle down in the very small village of Chust. They might have spent a bit of time there already, but the woodcutter and his son are still considered outsiders. Tomas doesn't help, with his drunken ways, leaving his son to pick up the slack.

Chust is a place with a small population, many customs, superstitions, old stories, and some very dark woods that seem to be very much alive. 

When people start dying and their loved ones claim they visit them at night, most are disregarded. Well, until the girl that Peter likes, Agnes, finds herself in the middle of a morbid ceremony that marries her to a dead man and puts her in an isolated hut in the middle of nowhere. Unable to bear her being alone in there, Peter visits her one night, and that's when they both realise that not only are the dead returning from their graves, but they're taking more people with them, too.

Around this time, a bunch of mysterious gypsies come to town, seemingly to perform and sing for a few coins, but are really there for a much deeper reason. The very alluring Sofia catches Peter's eye and seems to be keen on him too. What he doesn't know is that these gypsies share a very important past with his father--though it does make sense out of why they've spent most of their lives moving.

Tomas's past leads them both to a very frightening conclusion that sets Peter on a new path.

My Swordhand is Singing was awesome! Seriously, it had a spooky air about it. Setting it during the dead of winter in a snow-drenched town with frightening creatures haunting the night, was great and provided plenty of tension. I also enjoyed the very unstable and complicated relationship between a drunken father trying to forget and hide his past, and a hardworking son who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep them together.

I'm a total sucker for vampires, and I loved this version of the myth. Oh, and I thought the creepy Song of the Miorita was a wonderful addition, too.  

This is another winner, and I can't wait to read more of Marcus Sedgwick's novels. :)

My Swordhand is Singing, July 2007, ISBN 9781842555583, Orion Children's Books

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