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Tethers (The Tethers Trilogy #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  140 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, Karl Scheffer and Esther Emerson discover an anonymous journal filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings. The journal soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …

Karl and Esther have spent almost every day of their thirteen
Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Amazon KDP
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(showing 1-30)
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Jun 25, 2013 Gary rated it really liked it
An action packed debut novel from Jack Croxall that is fast paced, with a mix of adventure, mystery and fantasy.
There is a feeling of the Enid Blyton adventure books but with a lot more besides. The two lead characters are strong and well written featuring great dialogue and humorous banter.
It is a well paced novel that develops the characters and leads you through wanting to know more. The story is set in Victorian times and is part of a trilogy. This first novels sets the scene and characters
Tony Gilbert
Mar 25, 2013 Tony Gilbert rated it it was amazing
I am always reluctant to give a book five stars as no book is perfect. However, I couldn't not give Tethers five stars, it is just superb. It is a well written book and is so easy to read - I finished it in 2 days, just couldn't put it down! Although Tethers is technically a fantasy, it doesn't always feel like it because the characters are so believeable. I implore you to read this, whether you are a fantasy fan or not, whether you are ten years old or one hundred. Just give it a go.
Dan Thompson
The first time I read the synopsis for Jack Croxall’s Tethers, I instantly knew that it was undoubtedly a book I very much wanted to read. A YA (young adult) novel set in the wake of a Victorian winter, where teenagers Karl Scheffer and Esther Emerson stumble upon a journal full of strange passages. Upon reading, Karl soon discovers both Esther and his names on the last page – a possible prediction? Quite abruptly, our lead teenagers soon realise that they have been pulled into a sinister conspi ...more
★Moonrise Books
Jun 18, 2013 ★Moonrise Books rated it it was amazing
In a small, Victorian era English village called Shraye, Esther Emerson and Karl Scheffer have limited opportunities for adventure and even fewer opportunities to explore the world beyond the confines of the only village they have ever known. Karl’s best chance for a successful future appears to rest in the promise of a teaching apprenticeship. Karl’s mother is excited about the possibility of Karl becoming a teacher, and expects Karl to share in her enthusiasm; however, Karl is less than enthus ...more
Zane David
Apr 01, 2013 Zane David rated it it was amazing
This is a début novel? WOW...magical and wonderfully written. Jack Croxall has a bright future.

I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the journey of Karl and Esther from start to finish, and can't wait for book two. You have me hook, line and sinker Jack,and to end on a cliff hanger? I really shouldn't like you for that...but I just can't help but praise Tethers enough. One of my top books of the year.

To me Jack's prose is perfect, not over the top and flowery, or boring and dull, keeping my min
Jul 18, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
I wasn't so sure when I first started reading this book as I thought the accents in the prologue was strange, but then I was introduced to Karl and Esther from that moment I was hooked.

Karl and Esther go to Mr Emerson's house to have a snoop around while he is away, only to realise that they are not alone in the house. They quickly make their escape before they are seen and Karl picks up a book hidden beneath the floorboards that he thinks the intruders are looking for. They decide to take it to
Emma Adams
Tethers is an exciting story set in the Victorian era, with a fabulous blend of mystery, adventure and fantasy and an engaging pair of lead characters. We follow thirteen-year-old friends Karl and Esther as they discover a cryptic journal in their neighbour’s house, which leads them into a bigger mystery surrounding a gemstone with strange powers. The plot carries the reader along at a nice pace, and there are plenty of surprises and twists along the way. Karl and Esther are sympathetic protagon ...more
Rebecca Bradley
Mar 07, 2013 Rebecca Bradley rated it really liked it
A great debut with strong characters. My favourite being the young girl Esther. She was strong and feisty and a really likeable character. She could have done with being more forefront in the story, but she came through well anyway.

The point in the story when I found out where Tethers came in was a great point for me. It had a stronger meaning than I imagined and wove its way right through to the ending with significance.

Not my usual kind of read, but one I found I enjoyed.
Louise K.
Apr 02, 2013 Louise K. rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read which is well paced and easy to read. Well worth the money. Just wish it had been a bit longer; I look forward to book 2.
For my pre read thoughts and reasons for my rating, please visit my blog From the Shadows I Review

I have to say this is another book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The story draws you in with beautiful description and a sidekick that shines so bright that I had to reach for my sunglasses! Did I mention how much I love the Victorian era and that made me love getting to create images of old fashioned scenes (although, I did miss making everyone drive Lamborghinis.). The writing made me want to read
Liz Barnsley
Mar 28, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it it was amazing
So, my latest foray into the world of YA fiction, brought me here, to the Victorian setting of "Tethers", an absolute gem of a tale, not only to read for yourself but as a story to read to others. In it we meet Karl and Esther, two friends who find themselves on a grand adventure having discovered a notebook with strange notations and a mysterious gemstone. Chased by those with nefarious purposes they embark on a journey to find a missing girl, and to discover the true nature of the gem..with so ...more
Sharon Sant
Feb 05, 2013 Sharon Sant rated it it was amazing
As soon as I heard about this book I was desperate for it to be good. The whole idea was one that I loved. I had to wait a while for its release, but when I finally got to read it, I was relieved to find that it was good... not just good, but brilliant. Somewhere between Pullman’s Sally Lockhart mysteries and Moonfleet, this is a rip-roaring debut novel. Sharply written with well observed characters that you can root for, Tethers has you turning pages faster that Ronald MacDonald can throw out b ...more
Feb 23, 2013 Jem rated it really liked it
Tethers has so many of the elements I enjoy in any book; adventure, mystery, friendship - and all set against the historical backdrop in the Victorian era. Karl and his friend Esther dragged me along in their wake and I found myself pushing aside other things to pick up the Kindle and read another few pages. The banter between the two made me smile; Esther is written as a partner in crime rather than a winsome female archetype and this is what I enjoyed most about Tethers.
I've given 'Tethers' five stars because I felt it was really exemplary of its genre - all of its genres!! Part fantasy, part sci-fi, a little bit steampunkesque! Full review to come!
Feb 05, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
Without sounding hyperbolic, I think this book has changed my life.
Fantasy is a genre I've tried time and time again to immerse myself in but I've never succeeded. There seems to be a small part of my brain that refuses to suspend disbelief and constantly goes NO. THAT WOULDN'T HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE. Yes brain, well done: we are reading a fantasy novel, that is why.

I've known about Tethers for a long time but I've never really had much of an urge to read it even after Megan protested countless tim
Silver Petticoat
Aug 19, 2013 Silver Petticoat rated it it was amazing
Sword fights, mystery, action, adventure, and memorable characters that jump off the page. There is definitely something exciting to be said about Young Adult Fantasy Adventure stories. These kinds of fantastic tales were the stories you stayed up all night reading with the flashlight on (probably giving you the glasses your mother promised you’d get for squinting in the dark), and these were the stories you remembered and read over and over because you wanted to experience that world of adventu ...more
May 18, 2013 Elisa rated it really liked it
*Visit my blog for a chance to win an e-book copy of this book - link at the end of the review*

This book was not what I was expecting at all, in a very good way. At first it got me super curious and interested and then it got me surprised at the events that I was presented with.

Taking place in the 1800's, Tethers shows us a very different perspective of the Victorian times. Advanced science, seers (sort of) and brave children were not something I was expecting to find in this book. I honestly wa
Lena Cox
Jan 11, 2014 Lena Cox rated it liked it
Shelves: debut-novels
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Can you alter fate? Author Jack Croxall toys with the idea of predestination in his young adult adventure story Tethers. The swiping of a journal from a recluse’s estate launches thirteen-year-olds Karl Scheffer and Esther Emerson from their small hamlet of Shraye into the underworld of greed and murder. An entry in the journal describes Karl and Esther being in Acclesthorpe, a town that’s a half-day’s walk from Shraye. Neither
Megan Readinginthesunshine
Sep 03, 2013 Megan Readinginthesunshine rated it it was amazing
I've just finished this book and at the moment my thoughts consist of "Wow that was amazing!"

Set in the wake of a Victorian winter, Karl and Esther are two friends who discover a hidden journal filled with strange passages. But what are these passages? And why are their names in one of the entries? Soon the discovery of this journal leads them on a quest into a dark and sinister conspiracy about an artefact that could change everything.

Words cannot describe how much I LOVE this book! I actually
Edit: 21.06.2013
When I wrote that review, I was going through a bit of a shoddy time and I don't feel like I've done it justice so here we go again.

Esther and Karl are the perfect team and it's not often you can say that about 2 13 year old children, they are feisty and determined to get what they want even though what they want probably won't do them any good. The way they avoid the Mistress' attempts to get to them is often impressive, even if they do occasionally need a bit of help from Mr Ca
Feb 16, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Sneak preview of a joint-review between Rita @ Weaving Pages & I:
Rita: What did you think of accents in Tethers?
Amy: I'm not really sure what it added, I thought it was appropriate most of the time but sometimes I just wanted to forget that, it was obvious 'telling'. I like it when I guess the area, and also the time. I am not a history expert so I'm not sure how accurate it was... But for me, it was mainly an asset but I'd understand if it wasn't to everyone's preference (especially intern
Jun 26, 2013 Jillyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, requested
What starts as a mere curiosity soon spirals into a much bigger picture filled with lies, powerful artifacts, and conspiracy. Teenagers Karl and Esther come across a strange journal among their shenanigans, a journal filled with random passages and strange, almost dream-like quotes. It isn't long before they also discover a strange stone. They must together leave their home and figure out what is going on, and more importantly, save their skins.


I am so impressed with this book. I wasn't sure
Lloyd Baron
Feb 27, 2014 Lloyd Baron rated it it was amazing
It's impressive that this is a debut novel. Jack Croxhall has written a great YA book which is compulsively addictive. I only purchased it (Using the word "purchased" lightly) because it was free on Kindle. I saw it on Twitter and thought, "Why not." I wasn't expecting much as I usually only read heavy duty Fantasy or Horror. At first I did think it was too young for me but (as is the same with watching cartoons) the innocent side of me shrugged it off and I began to enjoy the plot.

The character
Andy Angel
Jun 17, 2013 Andy Angel rated it it was amazing
This YA novel by newcomer Jack Croxall is a wonderful story of adventure set in Victorian London.

Two weeks ago 13 year old Karl was caught trespassing in a village neighbours garden but before he is caught he sees, through the window, an engraved silver box which looks out of place among the clutter of the house. Although told by his mother to stay away, he returns with his friend Esther. There is no sign of the box, or Mr. Statham, the neighbour so Karl and Esther break in, only to find out the
J. Yates
Oct 21, 2013 J. Yates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Book Review: Tethers by Jack Croxall
This gripping adventure which starts in a rural village set in the Victorian period will delight steampunk fans.
The two main charters; Karl Scheffer and Esther Emerson, start the book as good friends but as the tightly knit plot gets underway they have to develop new skills and trust in each other.
Karl’s qualities shine though in the story, he starts off as quite meek and mild with little knowledge of travelling and the dangers of the world other than the loss
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Feb 28, 2014 Lekeisha The Booknerd rated it really liked it
Thirteen-year-olds Karl and Esther are best friends who discover a mysterious journal in their neighbor’s house. When Karl find his and Esther’s name on the last page of the journal, they soon find themselves in a conspiracy concerning a gem with strange powers.

Karl and Esther are very precocious characters. Smart and witty are just two of their likable qualities. These two are always looking for a chance to adventure out of the small village that they’ve only known their whole lives. From the v
Meghann Doyle
Jul 07, 2013 Meghann Doyle rated it it was amazing
This story is imaginative yet grounded. Developments take place naturally as you traverse Victorian Britain. You are gently lured in as Croxall exposes the setting in beautiful detail which anchors the direct nature of the action. There's a reluctant hero in the sensitive and observant Karl. He doesn't make decisions lightly, but he's quick to abandon his fears to do the right thing. Eager but naive Esther has a lot of heart, and has a courage beyond her years. The supporting characters are equa ...more
Feb 23, 2013 Jess rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This is the first ever review I have written for a book whose author I actually know in real life! So forgive me if I sound insincere - but I genuinely loved this book! Young adult fiction is such an exciting genre - you can do so much with it, and Jack really has. It has a past, a present and a future. I love books where I find myself imagining how I want the story to go, but then as I read on, realising that what is actually happening is far more satisfying than what I imagined, and makes more ...more
Steve Caddy
Apr 11, 2013 Steve Caddy rated it it was amazing
Jack Croxall's first novel is a real page turner. His imagination has created a wonderful plot that leaves you wanting more. The characters are believable, the action is well described, flowing, and easy to read. I really enjoyed following Karl and Esther on their adventure as light bedtime or lunchtime reading.

A worthwhile point to remember, is that being a debut novel, it's not as polished as something from a well seasoned author, but please don't let it put you off, because I'm sure we're goi
Mar 21, 2013 Izzles25 rated it it was amazing
Now what to say? I always find it difficult to write a good review of a book when I chat to the author lol.
The book is well written, especially the characters who are fresh and unique. Esther is a delightful refreshing character who truly defies steroetypes that were viewed during the Victorian period where this book is set.
The story is fast paced and clever keeping the reader wanting to know more yet trying to slow down so you can't finish just yet.
Brilliant first novel written by a pretty ac
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Trained as an environmental scientist, Jack Croxall soon realised a life in the lab wasn't for him. After discovering a passion for writing he's now an award-winning author, scriptwriter and blogger. He tweets via @JackCroxall and blogs at
More about Jack Croxall...

Other Books in the Series

The Tethers Trilogy (3 books)
  • Unwoven (The Tethers Trilogy, #2)
  • Torn

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“You can't save someone from their own decisions.” 11 likes
“Don’t you touch her,’ threatened Esther, ‘or I’ll claw your face off.’
Steven turned away from Abigail and eyed Esther instead. ‘I’d like to see you try.’
‘I bet you would,’ snapped Esther, ‘ you've got such an ugly mug it’d probably make for an improvement.”
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