Author: Marcus Sedgewick
Age Rating: 13+
Star Rating: 4/5
There are many unique and interesting aspects that make up this story, and one of them is the layout. The story in based in two years from which the author keeps flicking between. He tells us of the past: 1899 and the present date: 1910. The characters are the Anderson family, the father of whom has just died after falling and freezing in the lake (the season is an extremely harsh winter). Sig, his son, had found him by the lake beside a pile of burnt out matches. The matches that presumably failed to save Einar’s life: failed to supply him with enough heat to survive. A leather-bound notebook and masses of neglected papers also surround his pale body. By this point, two new characters are introduced. Anna (Sig’s sister) and Nadya (Sig and Anna’s ‘new’ mother: Maria, their real mother died, previously). Between the three of them, they drag Einar’s body back to their hut.
It is then unclear what is to be done for the best, but at last Anna and Nadya decided they would go and fetch help. Sig was to stay at the hut with his father’s corpse… And to top it all, when Anna and Nayda leave, there is a knock at the door. It is a dark and sinister man called Wolff who demands he will not depart without claiming what he believes is rightfully his: the gold, Einar apparently stole from him 11 years ago…
And then the story flips to 1899, when Einar has arrived at his previous home town: Nome, seemingly arriving off a boat. He does not want the boat to leave, for unknown reasons (perhaps his job/ perhaps a desired location) and he has also just had news his first wife: Maria has fallen seriously ill. And so he must make a life in Nome. And it is in Nome that the story starts, when Einar becomes burdened with the life long consequence of having met and been involved with the local troublemaker: Wolff.
And once your ‘into’ this section (the 1899 part of the tale) the story subsequently switches to 1910: an excellent element which keeps the reader hooked throughout. Sig is of course, horrified that on top of his recent troubles, a seemingly mad man, intent of revenge has arrived at his hut and is adamant he is entitled to take his long lost gold. Gold which is complete fiction to Sig, and until now, completely unheard of. Wolff is described wonderfully, by Sedgewick. Not too much information is forced on the reader; in fact, Sedgewick kind of only sets the scene and the reader is left to their own imagination to what is appearance is like.
Back in Nome, Einar has a job as an Assay Clerk (measuring and calculating the worth of gold).
And back in Giron (at the hut) Sig is feeling highly intimidated by his strange guest who persists to refuse to leave. “I have…” Wolff stopped, correcting himself. “I had… some business to attend to. With your father.” The mystery deepens, and when Einar starts his job in Nome in the 1899 piece of the story, the author plays with the readers imagination further. The story has a very unexpected villain. Intriguing from start to finish. And a very satisfying and unexpected result.
This book definitely deserves a four out of five for all the mentioned elements. It is hard to select an audience because the book is not as initially expected. It has the reader guessing from page 1.
This is the ninth book review on Poppy’s Best of Books, and the 10th post, so I hope you enjoy it. Revolver is a completely different tale to what I imagined but still, it was a highly enjoyable read. Late again, I know, but this week I have a great excuse (!) I have just got a new little pet: Sunny the budgie, so I was busy yesterday…
I did promise a review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone next week, but I’m afraid I haven’t got round to reading it yet, so the ‘Coming Up’ list might have to be postponed by a week and we can have a review of Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom instead.
And just a quick reminder: please feel free to comment on any of the reviews! I would love to hear your thoughts on the book and feedback, too. Thanks!