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The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill

The Beginning Woods

NewGen - YA Fiction   Debuts of the Month   Fantasy   eBook Favourites   
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September 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month.

In a Nutshell: Unfathomable mystery | Timeless fairy tale quest

An elegantly atmospheric page-turner that will have readers rooting for main character, Max, and intoxicated by its exquisite style.

When people start vanishing from all corners of the globe, leaving only a puddle of clothes, the world is thrown into utter shock and confusion. But, while the scientist Seekers research this chilling phenomenon, and people continue to disappear, “children did not vanish.” And one child in particular might just hold the key to understanding – and stopping – the Vanishings…

After spending years working within the research programme, former Seeker Boris is alerted to the fact that the cause of the Vanishings might be a boy who was abandoned in a bookshop at birth. No one wants to adopt this “spooky baby” until the Mulgan’s come to the Orpanab Centre and name him Max. After discovering that he’s adopted, Max is haunted by dreams of his genetic mum and dad, his “Forever Parents”. Max’s fractured life begins to make a strange kind of sense when a man in a bookshop remarks, “when you read you discover who you really are”. This turns out to be entirely true when Max discovers a storybook brimming with enticingly disturbing tales of the Beginning Woods. While his adoptive parents implore him to “start living in the real world”, Max knows that his reality lies within the world laid bare in this book: he is of the Beginning Woods, and to the Woods he must return. The question is, can Max survive its terrifying magic and solve the mystery of the Vanishings?

At once visceral and philosophical, this impressive debut is suffused with the wit and timelessness of The Princess Bride and will surely be relished by Neil Gaiman fans. ~ Joanne Owen

A Piece of Passion from Adam Freudenheim, Publisher, Pushkin Books 'Malcolm McNeill's stand-alone fantasy is an exceptional book, I believe. This is a book for anyone - child, teenager or adult - still in love with stories and enchanted by the power of stories. With its beautifully designed cover and part-title pages thanks to the amazing Helen Crawford-White I hope you also find it a pleasure to hold! You have a real treat in store - enjoy!'


The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill

A MYSTERY NO ONE CAN SOLVE The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air - just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace. A BABY NO ONE WANTED Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings. A SECRET THAT COULD SAVE THE FUTURE To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death. But can he bear the truth - or will it destroy him? A STORY THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO ANOTHER WORLD Greater than your dreams. Darker than your fears. Full of more wonder than you could ever desire. Welcome to the ineffable Beginning Woods...


McNeill has created a fabulous universe packed full of wonder and terror. The Beginning Woods has earned its place on a shelf with Gormenghast and The Princess Bride. I loved every word and was envious of quite a few. It opened my eyes wide and quickened my heart. A modern classic rich, funny and terrifying Eoin Colfer

The world is incredible, and highly fascinating. It's weird, peculiar, scary but so so so charming! Where are the books? (blog)

Captivates with its wealth of ideas and multilayered plot Debutliteratur It's the fantastical characters and details, which make this book so compelling Tages-Anzeiger

About the Author

Malcolm McNeill

Malcolm McNeill was born in England in 1976 and grew up in Scotland. Since then he has travelled widely in the world, but recently decided it would be best to return to his roots. The Beginning Woods is his first book.

Photo credit © Nhung Luu

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2016


Malcolm McNeill

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Pushkin Children's Books


464 pages


NewGen - YA Fiction
Debuts of the Month
eBook Favourites

Fantasy & magical realism (Children's / Teenage)



Publisher Profile

Pushkin Children's Books is an imprint of Puskin Press

logo Pushkin Press was founded in 1997 and is dedicated to publishing the best stories from around the world and translating into the English language. Pushkin publishes novels, essays, memoirs, childrens books — everything from timeless classics to the urgent and contemporary. Twitter @PushkinPress Facebook

Publisher's Website

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