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The Rook (The Checquy Files #1)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  21,204 ratings  ·  3,314 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
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
mark monday
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
Feb 07, 2015 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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.
Amy Warrick

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
"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
Jul 02, 2012 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
Kevin Hearne
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
Deborah Harkness
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.
Maggie Stiefvater
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.
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
Aug 07, 2015 Mimi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like conspiracies and black ops with urban fantasy flairs
Recommended to Mimi by: fellow UF fans
3 stars, rounded up because it's pretty good overall

This was a fun read with a few minor snags. It could have been more fun if there weren’t so many letters, but the overall story was enjoyable. Good urban fantasies are hard to come by these days.

The set-up:

Myfanwy Thomas wakes up on rainy afternoon to find herself cold and wet and standing in the middle of a park where multiple unconscious bodies lay around her. She has no memory of her previous life or know who she is now, but finds in her jac
Lois Bujold
May 14, 2014 Lois Bujold rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Mike (the Paladin)
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
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)
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
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
Okay...I can do this....I can do this.... Short Review!... here it goes...(I hope).

Great book. I should say, audiobook because, this is one of those times when I think the narrator really did a brilliant job with the narration. To me she reminded me of Audra Hepburn or Lynne Redgrave from her Camelot days. I don't know if reading this book will be as fun as listening to it but I liked it so much, I bought the kindle version so I could read it.

The monsters are creative and very "Dr. Who." The c
Sylvain Reynard
"The Rook" is well written and engaging. I highly recommend it.

The novel is a paranormal fantasy set in our world and it reminded me of Harry Potter, the X-files and the novel "Never Let Me Go." But I name those works only to point out some similarities. "The Rook" is unique and I liked it a great deal on its own terms and not because it reminded me of other stories.

I don't want to say too much about the plot, except to mention that it begins with the female lead waking up having lost her memory
3 Stars

I wish that I could give this book higher marks as it is a really stylish and well executed urban fantasy, but in the end, I was left feeling very little at all. I never really felt myself engaged with the characters or the plot. The ending is fairly flat and did not bring things together as I would have liked.

The book itself is an urban fantasy that plays out as if it were a cross of a Bourne series with that of a season of the tv show Heroes. The supernatural parts of the book, along w
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

The Rook is an interesting and innovative novel, combining favorite aspects from various genres into one odd 500 page gem of weirdness. If you were to mix up the most prevalent aspects of some of the most popular books and movies out there today, The Rook is likely what your mixture would spit out as an end result. Take, for instance, the school for only British magically/supernaturally gifted kids - much like Harry Potter's Hogwarts with a dash of
Nov 16, 2012 Greg rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Greg by: mark monday
I liked it. I'm not going to say much more about it. It's not particularly deep so I see no point in parsing it. Here's my thoughts list-style:

-All the talk about the opening lines gave me unreal expectations. I liked it, but it seemed a little desperate (Look at me! I'm so cool and unexpected! Read me! Love me!).
-A lot ridiculous. I mean fortune-telling ducks and meat cubes and random, bloody deaths.
-Rook kind of has dissociative identity disorder. Am I a serious thriller? Am I a "light" read?
Sep 08, 2013 MandyM rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to MandyM by: Experiment BL626
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Totally loved this cross between urban fantasy and the Bourne Identity. From the first scene where Myfanwy Thomas opens her eyes onto a strange world without her memories and surrounded by dead people in latex gloves I was hooked. The letters from 'old Myfanwy' to the new version are an excellent way to introduce the reader to the shadowy world of bizarre superheros, the Checquy. Towards the end I was screaming though as one chapter ended with 'present Myfanwy' in dire straits then the next one ...more
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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!” 95 likes
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