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The Rook (The Checquy Files #1)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  23,814 Ratings  ·  3,666 Reviews
"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 486 pages
Published January 11th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2012)
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Matt Bunn I have read both and greatly enjoy the rook. While similar in ways each has a different tone and flow. I personally prefer the rooks as being a less…moreI have read both and greatly enjoy the rook. While similar in ways each has a different tone and flow. I personally prefer the rooks as being a less bleak than Mr. Stross. Less of world is screwed in this book.(less)
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Best Books of 2012
68th out of 3,192 books — 9,436 voters
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47th out of 659 books — 1,180 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (the Grinch)
This is ridiculous, she thought. I’m possessed of terrifying powers. Why am I relying on a ridiculous little gun that I picked because I thought it was cute? I don’t need this thing. She threw it contemptuously over her shoulder.

There’s something foul wandering the underground tunnels beneath my office, something that’s invisible to my vaunted powers.


Where’s my gun?
This book is X-Men meets X-Files meets The Bourne Identity meets Johnny English. And that may sound like a clusterfuck to end
Dec 23, 2015 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like all those movies I mentioned

Finally! First great read of 2013. Admittedly, that's because I'm hoarding Days of Blood & Starlight and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There like a survivalist with canned goods, or a chocoholic with a secret stash of Toblerone in the back of the freezer (not that I'm speaking from experience). And while I tempered down my five stars to a more reasonable four, the fact is this was a perfect read the first time through.

I'll save the detailed summary; this is one time
mark monday
Sep 19, 2012 mark monday rated it liked it
Shelves: secret-histories
page turner, page turner! lady wakes in park with no memory! battered & bruised & bloody! surrounded by dead people! that she killed with her bare hands! cause she has special powers! the same special powers that i have often imagined myself having if dreams came true! quelle coincidence!

the narrative is propulsive. the ideas are automatically right up my alley. the whole thing is clearly built for fun; i gave it to a colleague and he immediately halted the book he was reading because th
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Epistolary Buddy Read courtesy of the BBB masochists

DNF at 62%.

Introducing...the Be Happy Little Barnacles for this Shall not Be a Pit-Stop Requiring Review Review (BHLBftSnBaPSRRR)! Because I don't have time to write yet another Oh Bloody Hell this Review is so Long I Might Have Great Grandchildren by the Time I Finish Reading it Review (OBHtRisLIMHGGbtTIFRiR)! And because I've wasted enough time on this book as it is! So let's do this! Let's

Warning: yes, the crap shall be cut in this revie
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review initially posted at

As Daniel O’Malley’s 2012 supernatural thriller The Rook (book one of THE CHECQUY FILES) begins, Myfanwy Thomas comes to herself with complete amnesia. She’s standing in a London park at night. Surrounding her is a ring of motionless bodies. They are all wearing latex gloves.

Myfanwy (“rhymes with Tiffany”) finds two letters in her jacket pocket from her former self:
Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine… I’m writing this letter fo
May 23, 2013 Felicia rated it really liked it
I mean, I loved this book. Myfanwy Thomas wakes up with a note that says, "This body used to be mine". YEAH! I LOVE AMNESIA PLOTS! Except this is a bit more than that. Secret societies are kind of my fave, and this book builds a GREAT one. The secret Chequey (I love all the chess terms) battle supernatural forces in the world, and this new amnesiac is now fully immersed in it. I definitely felt like this could be a TV show, the richness of the world is so good! The tone is a bit hard to grasp, b ...more
Robin (Bridge Four)
Apr 06, 2016 Robin (Bridge Four) rated it really liked it
You’ve woken up and are surrounded by a handful of dead people wearing gloves and have no idea who you are or how you got there. But luckily there is a note and with this note and a few others you learn about a world you had no idea even existed.
Dear You,
The odds of your reading this are slim to none. Who would choose uncertainty and vaguely worded warnings over a new life of wealth and luxury? I can only assume that you were put under a massive amount of stress, touched someone’s skin, and t
Mogsy (MMOGC)
May 27, 2016 Mogsy (MMOGC) rated it really liked it
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Rook was a novel that had been sitting on my shelf for years, lying forgotten in spite of the repeated calls from my friends urging me to pick it up and read it. It finally took the arrival of a review copy of Stiletto to spur me into action, because nothing lights a fire under my butt quite like the news of an impending sequel. And in reading The Rook, I learned a couple of important lessons: first, I should always
Mar 28, 2016 Choko rated it really liked it
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with the Urban Fantasy enthusiast at BB&B!!!

“I’m not bipolar, I’ve just had a bipolar life foisted upon me.”

This was very surprising and a bit unusual UF read. M. Thomas is a supernatural secret agent for a Paranormal agency in the British government. She wakes up and has no memory of who she is and what is her life. Luckily, once she puts her hands in her pockets, she finds letters obviously addressed to her. Every letter gives her a clue and she mostly blindly stu
Amy Warrick
Feb 24, 2012 Amy Warrick rated it did not like it

I tried to like this book, I really did. I have disliked so many books lately that I am afraid of becoming a book curmudgeon. But this book deserved my dislike - it ASKED for my dislike.

This book reads like the beloved project of the geeky high school junior who has been told by too many English teachers that he has talent and should be a WRITER. What little action takes place, does so between enormous wads of italic description. You know how you've read books in which a character finds lette
Jul 02, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: blog
To open your eyes in the middle of a downpour, beaten and bruised, surrounded by dead bodies wearing latex gloves and realizing you have no idea who you are, how this happened, or whose body this is has to be a tad disconcerting. This is exactly the situation facing the new consciousness inhabiting the body of Myfanwy Thomas at the beginning of The Rook.

Fortunately, the former occupant of Myfanwy's body knew her memories would be wiped clean and thoroughly prepared for this event. In the pocket
Maggie Stiefvater
Jul 18, 2013 Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, recommended
How agreeable this was.

It was all Ghost Busters + Men in Black + Austin Powers.

I'm trying to think if I want to do a list/ recommendation/ thing with actual content, but really, it is just this: how diverting this is. How amusing. How entertaining.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"

Latex gloves...They're not just for proctologists anymore.

This was a promising plot idea from a decent writer who got carried away by his own cleverness. He lost me after about 100 pages.
Sep 19, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it
I'm going to have to be honest with this one. I didn't love it. Perhaps I came in upon the UF bandwagon too early or too late, and while I think it's a fairly polished and frankly never ending tale (which I do like, on occasion,) but it just comes across as more secret service urban fantasy schtick. No amount of amnesia gimmicking or clever info-dumps will disguise it for what it is, and I was saddened by the lack of underlying, grab you by the balls, tension.

It did pull off a very well-done pie
Feb 25, 2014 Theresa rated it it was amazing
"The Rook" is basically the story of two Myfanwy Thomases. The first one we never officially meet: she exists in the letters (a suitcase full) that she writes to the second Myfanwy-- the one who wakes up with two black eyes and her memory scrubbed. The idea of having Myfawny write letters to herself is a clever device that neatly side-steppes the common predictability of a story centered around an amnesiac. Myfawny has the information she needs at hand-- If only she can read the letters fast eno ...more
Feb 10, 2012 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
The Rook by Daniel O’ Malley is a startingly well executed and engaging debut novel with a Jason Bourne like spy, but set in a supernatural urban fantasy setting. The spy in question, Myfawany Alice Thomas is one of several fantastical beings who guard unknowing England from supernatural and otherworldly attacks. But she has been mindwiped by one of her fellow guardians and must both discover who the traitor is and why she was targeted before it is too late. Her predecessor in body, a chief admi ...more
Aug 10, 2013 Cy rated it did not like it
Honest to god, I'm both confused that I'm still reading this book and appalled at how highly rated it seems to be everywhere. The praise this book has been getting got me interested in reading it, and within a few chapters I had to wonder if there was some massive conspiracy...

To put it quite simply, the book has an intriguing premise that's destroyed by a hackneyed writing style, a juvenile approach to character, and a narrative that is grossly overshadowed by the writer's apparently high opini
Deborah Harkness
Mar 04, 2012 Deborah Harkness rated it it was amazing
Loved this! A bit of Jasper Fforde, a bit of X-Files, and a lot of droll action and tongue-in-cheek dialogue as we follow the heroine, Myfanwy Thomas, through her adventures. Thoroughly enjoyable, and highly recommended.
A woman wakes up in a London park, surrounded by dead people all wearing latex gloves … and with no idea who she is or how she got there. A letter in her coat pocket informs her that she is in danger, and offers her two choices: start a new anonymous life, or step into the letter-writer’s highly unorthodox life and try to figure out what happened, and why.
Sounds good, right? An urban fantasy mystery-thriller about X-Men-type superheroes taking down truly frightening supernatural baddies … how c
Kevin Hearne
Feb 19, 2012 Kevin Hearne rated it really liked it
You guys will enjoy this. I was recommended the title by a friend of mine in the League of Reluctant Adults, author Jaye Wells. She wrote a blurb for it, which you'll see on the back cover. It was quite enjoyable, and I found myself wanting to know even more about the world. I do hope he'll write another book with the further adventures of Rook Thomas.

Basically, this is about a paranormal Secret Service in Britain. There's an American counterpart that split off from the Brits after the Revoluti
May 27, 2016 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like UF (sans PNR) and British humor
Recommended to Mimi by: too many to count
Still pretty damn funny, but this time around, I find myself much more drawn to the characters, main and secondary alike, and I have a greater appreciation for the writing in general. But specifically, the amount of planning that must've gone into creating the mystery and plot. (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
My only issue with this book was determining whether or not it was a tongue in cheek whodunit, or if it took itself seriously. Once I realized that the book and it's title character was doing both, I was able to settle into a highly imaginative and extremely enjoyable book! I found the development of the lead to be quite fascinating, her interesting assortment of supporting cast, and finally the rather spectacular world she lived in. I sincerely look forward to a sequel!
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an excellent selection for audiobook. The narrator does a great job of immersing the listener in the world. She brings Myfanwy to life and makes her thoroughly lovable. I loved experiencing how Myfanwy processes her world as a newly born personality, a complete amnesiac who relies on the extensive note-taking and letters that her prior personality had prepared. Myfanwy is a closet bad*ss, and it was awesome that she kept everyone guessing at her hidden dept ...more
Lois Bujold
May 14, 2014 Lois Bujold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like contemporary fantasy in British settings
Recommended to Lois by: assorted internet reviews

OK, that was more fun than I'd expected.

The tone of this book might be summed up "X-Men meets Charlie Stross's Laundry Files". Adventures within and with a secret British organization dedicated to protecting the country, and its public, from the supernatural, very inventively imagined. I kept running across reviews of it, none of which quite conveyed the level of humor deployed; since I am hungry for humor at present, this hit the spot, despite its occasional dark or gross-out nature. (Also its
David Yoon
Dec 19, 2012 David Yoon rated it it was amazing
Let me just get this off my chest. The cover is awful. Not that it assaults any design sensibilities. It's just scans as a YA novel, intimating the houses at Hogwarts or the Districts of Panem. The Rook is more a pulpy, supernatural action thriller laced throughout with a dry wit. This deserves to be a BBC mini along the lines of Sherlock. As to the book, it warrants something a bit more oblique, like a Justin Cronin cover.

The book opens with our protagonist in the rain, surrounded by a ring of
Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 27, 2012 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Okay this is a good book. Really. At times there were a few things that bugged me, mostly the "personal life" parts of the story when they got too pervasive.

The book open with Myfanwy (pronounced like "Tiffany") Thomas waking up amidst a group of bodies. That's as in "dead bodies", corpses, stiffs...ex-humans. And she doesn't know she's Myfanwy (pronounced like Tiffany) Thomas. There are no memories stored where people usually store memories...but she has a letter. The missive opens "The body y
Apr 16, 2012 J.P. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm like a termite in a lumber yard, I don't know where to begin. This book literally grabbed me from the first sentence. It's amazingly creative and has loads of original ideas. And it is written with a great sense of humor. What a fun, enjoyable read this was. Honest, this is not just hyperbole. I hope Daniel O'Malley wins an award for this novel.
Why didn't someone think of this before? Imagine there was a secret service branch that had to deal with supernatural problems. And one of the people
Ron Bronson
I desperately wanted to like this book. But I kept feeling like something was off. The dialogue wasn't where it needed to be, the characters seemed not nearly well-fleshed out enough. In the end, it just didn't do it for me. I'd recommend it if you wait for it on paperback or something, but it's not a must-read book that you need to spend a bunch of best-seller cash to read up front just because it gets a ton of good reviews...because the people saying otherwise aren't missing the boat, there ar ...more
Eon ♒Windrunner♒ & part-time Warder ☯
And so we welcome Myfanwy (like Tiffany) Thomas to the ranks of Urban/Paranormal Fantasy Ass-kickers.

Well, this is pretty similar to the book's description and most reviews, but it needs to be said as this is the way the book is set up.

The story starts off with a bit of confusion on the mc's part, as she is surrounded by bodies and has no memories of what has transpired or of anything else for that matter, including who she is. Luckily, she has a letter in her possession which tries to explain
Mar 29, 2016 Joanita rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars, gr2016
Dear You,
The body you are wearing used to be mine. The scar on the inner left thigh is there because I fell out of a tree and impaled my leg at the age of nine. The filling in the far left tooth on the top is a result of my avoiding the dentist for four years. But you probably care little about this body’s past. After all, I’m writing this letter for you to read in the future. Perhaps you are wondering why anyone would do such a thing. The answer is both simple and complicated. The simple answe
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The Urban Fixation: The Rook- (The Checquy Files #1) 10 36 May 14, 2016 10:55AM  
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Dan O'Malley graduated from Michigan State University and earned a Master's Degree in medieval history from Ohio State University. He then returned to his childhood home, Australia. He now works for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, writing press releases for government investigations of plane crashes and runaway boats.
More about Daniel O'Malley...

Other Books in the Series

The Checquy Files (2 books)
  • Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2)

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“This should be a pleasant little interview. All I have to do is put on my scary face."
"You have a scary face?" Ingrid sounded skeptical.
"Yes," said Myfanwy indignantly. "I have a very scary face."
Ingrid surveyed her for a moment. "You may wish to take off the cardigan then, Rook Thomas," she advised tactfully. "The flowers on the pocket detract somewhat from your menace.”
“This duck tells me nothing!” 101 likes
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