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The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
  

The Ghosts of Heaven

NewGen - YA Fiction   All Shortlists and Winners   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

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One of our Books of the Year 2014 - Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2014.

This is a remarkable and surprising book, just when you think you understand it, whoosh, the unexpected taps you on the shoulder again. There are four quarters to this story; they travel across time, yet somehow are connected and can be read in any order. The writing is clever, each story has a main character, each one different to the one that has gone before, yet linked in a vital way. If you do choose to read the stories in a different order to the one the author has chosen, will your experience be different, will you have an altered understanding, will you feel the same when you turn the final page? Compelling yet often uncomfortable, sharp yet subtle, this will make you feel, think and question what you know; this, is a wonderfully fascinating read.

The Costa Award Judges thought The Ghosts of Heaven was “A startlingly original novel with a strong conceptual link to the motif of a spiral. A hugely ambitious work.”

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Aimee Sweet, age 13 - 'Sedgwick’s book is so intricate it amazed me when I started reading the first story. I just love how everything is all connected and fits together so perfectly, but despite this you still can’t predict what happens next.' Read full review>
  • Chloe Shortall, age 18 - 'I really enjoyed this fantastic novel from the award winning Marcus Segewick. All four storylines were compelling and captivating. I would recommend this novel.' Read full review>
  • Madeleine Faulkner - 'I found it quite interesting to read something outside of my comfort area, which tested my reading skills.' Read full review>

Synopsis

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

The spiral has existed as long as time has existed. It's there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant green dale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world, where a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors they hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny. Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so their journeys begin...

Reviews

What this book proves, is that Marcus is not only one of the greatest British YA writers, but one of the most versatile too. Unlike anything he has written before and a book that will reach a whole new audience. Bloomin loved it. Phil Earle, author of HEROIC, BEING BILLY and SAVING DAISY

I was thoroughly captivated by this smart and intriguing contemporary thriller with heart. -- Fiona Noble THE BOOKSELLER

She is Not Invisible is an exciting, thought-provoking story - a Scarlett Thomas or A. L. Kennedy for teenagers. -- Anna A CASE FOR BOOKS

There's another uncompromising aspect to this superb book. Marcus Sedgwick doesn't speak down to his teen readers. He tells it how it is, without footnotes or gloss, and it's up to the reader to decide how much they want to take from his books. A rollicking good adventure? No problem - that's there and easily available. Just let your eyes slide across the bits in italics and jump to the next event. It would be a shame to do that, though, because for those prepared to deal with it, there's much, much more in this book: theories and philosophies and ideas which stretch the reader and give the adventure far greater depth and resonance. Not many novels, for adults or younger folk, contain whole pages of notes on people such as Einstein, Jung and Koestler, but this one does, because it shows what Jack Peak believes on the nature of coincidence, and it is by understanding that that Laureth and Benjamin (with the help of Stan the stuffed raven) resolve the crisis. THE BOOKBAG

About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick began to write seriously in 1994, and his first book, Floodland, was published by Orion in 2000, and won the Branford-Boase award for best debut children's novel. Witch Hill followed in 2001, and was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

The Kiss of Death is published in paperback in April 2009, and picks up a thread from his highly acclaimed My Swordhand is Singing (winner of the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Book Award). In between came what Marcus calls “my big one - a project I've been working on for so long my head hurts.” – Blood Red Snow White, which was first published to considerable acclaim in 2007.

2009 saw Marcus turn his attention to books for younger readers with the launch of a humorous new series: The Raven Mysteries, narrated by a grumpy raven, Edgar. Titles are Flood and Fang, Ghosts and Gadgets and Lunatics and Luck.

In his spare time, he is also a stone carver and wood engraver and illustrates all his novels! Marcus lives in Sussex with his wife and his daughter, Alice. Finally Marcus is also a drummer, and at the moment he plays in two bands: visit www.garrett-music.tv, and www.internationalbandofmystery.com to find out more.

Q&A with Marcus Sedgwick

Many of your novels are inspired by history and by myth and legend - have these areas always been a fascination of yours since childhood and if so how did this passion come about?
Yes, I always loved myths and legends - I used to read and re-read two books from the library - one a big illustrated edition of Greek Myths and the other Old Peter's Russian Tales. I don't know why I was fascinated by these stories, but maybe simply because I find them to be more glamorous than contemporary stories...

Apart from writing what are your passions?
I love music, both listening to it and playing it (I'm a drummer). A day without music is not a proper day... I also love travel and try to travel as much as I can manage.

Where did the idea come from for The Raven Mysteries?
It was a single line, the first line in the book in fact. I'd had it for ages but didn't know where I was going to use it until the character of Edgar came along: "I suspect I may have fleas again".

The Raven Mysteries are full of humour and mad-cap action, which is quite different from your novels for older readers. Was this a conscious decision of yours when setting out to write this series?
Absolutely, and it was great fun. After writing a few hardcore goth books, it was great to let my hair down with these stories. And it gave me fresh impetus to go back to the next YA novel, Revolver, with renewed determination to be gloomy!

Where and when do you write?
I write at the weekends, and mostly in the study in my loft, but also sometimes I travel to write - eg much of Revolver was written on trips to Sweden.

What age did you first start writing and when did you think that one day you'd write a novel that would actually be published?
I started to write as a teenager a bit, but properly when I was in my mid-twenties. It took a few years to think it might actually happen!

With both your publisher and author hat on, what advice can you give would-be children's authors in getting published?
The most important thing is to know your market! Who do you think your book is going to be read by? What else is out there that's like it? Are you writing something that will sell?

The historical context of most of your novels must mean a huge amount of research prior to writing each book. What does this involve and how long does it take?
It varies from book to book but it's not a chore as I love to do research. It's easier than actually writing the things! For Revolver, the research spanned about 16 months, of little trips here and there and lots and lots of reading!

What was your inspiration for Revolver ? Finding an empty shell casing on the pavement in St Petersburg. It was a long way from there to the finished book but that was the start of it.

What was your favourite book as a teenager? Without question, the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

If you got into Doctor Who’s tardis, where (or when) would you go?
Great question, impossible to answer. So many amazing things to go and see – the building of the pyramids, a Viking boat putting out to sea, Man Utd winning the European Championship in 1968…

Who would you choose to be if you could be a celebrity for the day? Matt Bellamy on any day with a gig.

If you were invisible for a day what would you do? I’m invisible most days, so nothing much would change.

10 things you didn't know about Marcus Sedgwick

1 - I have an embarrassing middle name, but I'm not going to tell you what it is
2 - I am learning Swedish
3 - As well as playing the drums, I play bass guitar
4 - My grandfather invented the hydraulic tipper truck
5 - I have a pet raven called Edgar, though he doesn’t say much, eat much, or indeed, move much. There’s a possibility that he’s stuffed, I guess.
6 - I’m extraordinarily sleepy right now.
7 - I represented England (Juniors) at Fencing.
8 - I totally love football.
9 - I'm allergic to red peppers
10 - I believe there is only one radio or TV station worth listening to: Radio 3.

Author photo © Kate Christer

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd October 2014

Author

Marcus Sedgwick

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Author's Website

www.marcussedgwick.com/

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Publisher

Indigo (an Imprint of Orion Children's) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Format

Hardback
448 pages

Categories

NewGen - YA Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

General fiction (Children's / Teenage)

ISBN

9781780621982

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