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El Libro Negro de los Secretos = The Black Book of Secrets
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El Libro Negro de los Secretos = The Black Book of Secrets (Tales From The Sinister City #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  3,986 Ratings  ·  451 Reviews
Huyendo del más terrible de los pasados, Ludlow Fitch llega a un pueblo remoto en mitad de la noche. Y entre la niebla se le aparece Joe Zabbidou, un misterioso prestamista dispuesto a entregar dinero a cambio de los secretos más oscuros y profundos de la gente. Ludlow, apenas un muchacho, empieza a trabajar como ayudante del inquietante Zabbidou, recogiendo y anotando l ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Puck (first published January 1st 2007)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Ahh, an interesting little book. I've been catching up on YA (fantasies) books of late. This one is a bit "younger" than the others I've read recently. But don't get me wrong here. Older readers (such as myself) can still enjoy this. It is in its own way a well crafted story with people you'll probably find interesting and a somewhat unique story. It starts off a little slowly setting up our young hero's back ground (the opening scene itself isn't slow of course as our young protagonist flees th ...more
John
Apr 15, 2009 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that bedclothes and flashlights were invented for. Young pickpocket Ludlow Fitch escapes his frightful parents in the City and finds himself in the remote village of Pagus Parvus. There he's taken in as apprentice by another newcomer to the village, Joe Zabbidou (as in "Zabbi Zabbi Dou!" this erstwhile Flintstones fan kept thinking), who's a pawnbroker of secrets -- that is, people tell him their deepest secrets while Ludlow records them in Joe's mysterious black book, ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This isn't horror, but has a sort of a Victorian Gothic feel. For a middle grade novel, it has kind of a dark, almost pessimistic tone. That is not to say that good has no chance of winning out in this book, but it has some unfortunately true insights on human nature that are far from uplifting. But what I did like about it was that the ability to choose for yourself the decisions you make, even though people like the main villain thrive on manipulating peoples' weaknesses. In the end, we can ma ...more
Russell Sanderson
I raced through this in a couple of days. An excellent middle grade fantasy, just dark enough to give it that gothic, Dickensian feel. I felt like I was reading a Terry Pratchett book with all the comedy removed. The characters (who definitely have names Charles Dickens would be proud of) came alive as the story went along, divulging their dark secrets to the mysterious Joe Zabbadou. Told from the perspective of young runaway urchin, Ludlow Fitch, the story keeps you turning the pages to find ou ...more
Katrina
Jul 26, 2015 Katrina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copies
2.5 really. This books was really odd. People sold their secrets about burying people alive and poisoning their father and I find it wierd that they were so willing to tell such secrets for just a little bit of money. None of the characters interested me, and nothing exciting really happened. This was a short book, but it took me forever to read it because it just wasn't holding my attention well enough.
Reita
Nov 26, 2008 Reita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Symbolism. I couldn't help feel that this is a story about Jesus. We tell him our troubles or "secrets," we feel better about ourselves, we like/love Him, and then we start blaming Him for everything, turn our back on Him. Joe tells Ludlow to be patient, it will work out. Things do work out, the bad guy gets his comeuppence and Joe moves on to another village to help other people.
That's what I felt when I read this book. The other reviews I read didn't mention this aspect. What do you think?
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
This is a pretty cool book which several reviews have called Dickensian. Not exactly being an expert on things Dickens, I'm not sure I can comment one way or the other - though I will say it has that bleak, cynical and sort of gothic atmosphere to it, which is what I think they're talking about.

The gist is that Ludlow Fitch escapes the horrors of his parents and the City, and stumbles across the path of Joe Zabbidou, he of the eponymous Black Book of Secrets. See, Joe is a pawnbroker, but while
...more
Emily Dangler
Honestly, the only reason I picked The Black Book of Secrets up in the first place was because I read the summary of another one of F. E. Higgins' books, The Bone Magician, and thought that it sounded like a great little read. However - although not part of a series - The Bone Magician apparently has a plot that occurs at the same time as the plot of The Black Book of Secrets, so I thought it might be better to read this one first. I have to admit, I don't foresee myself making a special trip ou ...more
Grace
Jan 11, 2009 Grace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
Sep 02, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Reviewed first at Brunner's Bookshelf

I saw this book on Goodreads and it sounded pretty good. It sat in my to-read list for awhile until I saw it available in audio at my library. I gave it a try and liked it. I didn't know what to think at first because it started off pretty bleak. Our Main character Ludlow Fitch is with his parents and they are selling his teeth. Yes, you read it correctly, Ludlow's Parents took him to a man who is going to rip out his teeth and buy them from his parents. As a
...more
Liz B
I'm wavering between two and three stars on this one. I'd probably consider a solid it three stars if it weren't a book club choice for my Teachers as Readers group. Since it is--and since my last read for this group was the wonderfulThe Housekeeper and the Professor--my main reaction is "really? How are we supposed to talk about this book for an hour?"

Premise: Ludlow is on the run from his horrible parents in the filthy and dangerous City, and he ends up in a small village under the thumb of a
...more
Reading is my Escape
A secret pawnbroker.... This is a magical story about a young boy, Ludlow Fitch who leaves his rotten parents and meets up with Joe Zabbidou, a secret pawnbroker. Joe is opening his pawnshop in a poor town that is controlled by an evil man who delights in kicking people out of their homes. Joe can't solve their problems, or the problems of Ludlow, but he encourages people to be patient and good things will come...
 
The story is charming but has a few important twists that young people might miss.
...more
Aurora  Fitzrovia
Öhm und das war's jetzt?!
Also, irgendwie ist das ja schon ganz schön unbefriedigend, die Geschichte und alles. Es dümpelt alles nur so vor sich hin...hätte ich es doch mal besser abgebrochen. So wirklich was verpasst hätte ich ja nicht o_O
Ash
Sep 29, 2009 Ash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not everyday that you find something as different as this book, the cover was a lure for me. I was expecting something a little more lighthearted than what I found, but in the end I fell in love with the darker style of writing and the darkness that seemed to be leaking from ever corner of this story. Of course what can we expect when we are reading a book about a character who not only holds a dark and terrible secret but works for a man who buys other peoples dark and often chilling secre ...more
Jim
Oct 09, 2011 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Black Book of Secrets by F.E. Higgins is a young readers book that crosses somewhere in between fantasy, historical fiction and religion.

Ludlow Fitch is a pick-pocket, living day by day on the streets, who helps support his crooked parents by selling off his loot to a pawn broker. But, one day when it's his parents that try to sell him off for money, he's forced to escape and run away. That's when Ludlow meets the curious character of Joe Zabbidou. Part pawn broker, part mystic and part prie
...more
Ken
Jan 15, 2013 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The Black Book of Secrets is the first of four loosely related YA novels in F.E. Higgins's Tales From the Sinister City series.

I was thoroughly impressed. The book has a very dark theme that vaguely reminded me of Stephen King's Needful Things.

The hero of the story is a young boy who had a rough beginning to life and manages to land a position with a pawnbroker who buys the darkest secrets from people for a very high price. But, to what end does he buy these secrets?

5 STARS and favorited

*** NOTE
...more
Ashley
Jul 26, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In F.E. Higgins' novel, The Black Book of Secrets, we are transported to a world full of mystery and intrigue as we follow young Ludlow Fitch as he stumbles into one of the most bizarre tales yet to hit the shelves. After escaping the clutches of his cruel and deceitful parents, he hitches a ride on the back of a wagon to a seemingly unimpressive village consisting of one street, a rundown church, and a tyrant who is slowly sucking the money and livelihoods from the poor inhabitants. Now, throw ...more
Jennifer
I work in an elementary school, and I bought this book at my school's book fair back in April. I was attracted initially by the cover and then by the synopsis on the back. I thought it sounded like an intriguing book.

And so it was. It was also highly enjoyable and delightfully creepy. It's also very fast paced, and once I began reading I could not force myself to stop. I read the entire book in less than 24 hours.

The story is told through excerpts--or fragments, as the book calls them--taken fro
...more
Flora Smith
Nov 26, 2011 Flora Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This was an intriguing little book that I quite enjoyed. Written for the younger end of the spectrum of young adult or even for those of us that are young at heart, most anyone will enjoy this one. There is much that even though set in the past is relevent to today. We see, as is true in life, that we all have done things that we aren't proud of. Everyone has things in their past that they don't want others to know about. And this doesn't make them bad people, only human. Even those people that ...more
Rosa
Ludlow runs away from his parents in the city when they try to pull his teeth out so they can have more gin money. He immediately hops on the back of a carriage and ends up in small mountain village where things are very wrong. The local lord has everyone in debt to him and he is using that debt to perform illegal activities. Ludlow ends up working for Joe Zabidou a pawn broker who also deals in secrets. Ludlow wants to trust Joe but he also feels like should do something about the land lord but ...more
Cornelia
Sep 11, 2010 Cornelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this. It's young adult so I would think everyone from age nine to 129 would love this book. This is not steam punk - it does not have futuristic steam powered machines but in every other way it fits the steam punk mold. It is dark, mysterious, haunting, suspenseful, contains all the gloom of the 19th century working poor who are kept down and taken advantage of by the rich, it also has a hint of magic and mythology in it. And it's a page turner - I couldn't put it down. Anyone who likes st ...more
Bryce Kimble
Oct 26, 2015 Bryce Kimble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne
May 21, 2014 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ludwig is the son of a pair of booze-soaked, penny-ante thieves. When he can take no more, he runs away, out of the city, and finds himself taken in by a Pawnbroker, Joe. Joe deals in not only items of value, but in secrets.
This book is mildly dark but the story was a good one. Ludwig learns there are adults who can be trusted, but there are many others who can't. He learns the value of honesty, and what it means to be trustworthy. He embarks on a new life that I hope to hear more about in furth
...more
Annie Oosterwyk
Apr 19, 2011 Annie Oosterwyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a surprise! I couldn't put this book down. The characters and their secrets were compelling and the whole idea of a secret pawnbroker was fresh. I think my students would love this because of the horrible behaviour of some of the characters, but these (grave robbing, tooth stealing, usury) are based in fact and explained at the end of the book in historical notes. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
Marcia Hein
Jul 10, 2012 Marcia Hein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
F E Higgins is a gifted Irish writer of young adult books. In this Dickensian-like world.a pawnbroker, Joe Zabadou, trades secrets for cash. Ludlow, his assistant, records the secrets in the black book and the villagers each leave with cash and a lighter conscience. It's just creepy and mysterious enough to grab you from the first chapter and young adult readers will love it, too.
Floreana
Apr 22, 2015 Floreana rated it really liked it
No es lo que me esperaba, pero estuvo bien. Fue una lectura rápida, sencilla y bastante entretenida.

Reseña ya disponible en mi blog, Booksick.
Chris
Aug 23, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This was my first experience with the author FE Higgins and I absolutely loved this book! It's a dark and mysterious adventure of a boy in a mysterious city where everyone has a secret. It was lots of fun and I highly recommend it.
Heather
I really enjoyed this one. To me the concept was brilliant. I know some of the professional reviews say that the plot is skimpy and doesn't hold together, but I disagree. I was completely caught up in this story.
Dragan Lazovic
Dopadljivo.
Mary
Sep 05, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. Great vocabulary for advanced readers in 5th and up. Great symbolism.
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Would you like to read a sequel to this? 6 21 Mar 29, 2012 02:56PM  
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105220
F.E. Higgins has been fascinated by the macabre ever since seeing a ghostly apparition as a child. Nowadays Higgins travels the lands that these books describe, collecting strange artifacts and the even stranger stories behind them. When not in pursuit of a story, Higgins may be found in a haunted house in Kent, where a dismembered hand cradles a large diamond on the mantelpiece.
More about F.E. Higgins...

Other Books in the Series

Tales From The Sinister City (4 books)
  • The Bone Magician (Tales From The Sinister City, #2)
  • The Eyeball Collector (Tales From The Sinister City, #3)
  • The Lunatic's Curse (Tales From The Sinister City, #4)

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“Why must it be in human nature to hear one thing but to believe in another?"

"Because we want things to get better," I said. "Otherwise we would all give up.”
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