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Mortlock (The Mortlock Books)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  307 ratings  ·  52 reviews
The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave.
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury UK
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As an avid reader of gothic fiction, I was wary of Mortlock from the cover (as a bookseller, I shouldn’t be judging a book by the cover, I know, I know, but I’m only human!). A decayed hand thrust up forth from its grave, an unnaturally sized crow looming forth under the book’s title. One can easily guess the genre from a quick glimpse however, the story itself is prime and well-told. Mayhew uses well-woven threads of mystery and intrigue to form a terrific plot and back-story. Using themes of V ...more
Charlotte Danby
I wouldn't usually read this type of book, but I found it in the back of my cupboard and I thought I should give it a try. After reading the prologue I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but I carried on and it was surprisingly quite good. It only took me a few days to read it all (I'm a slow reader, 2 days is good for me). It had some very cliché parts, but overall the plot and the whole book was good
Ghoulish, gory and grim - a delightful mix of the macabre! This book made me squirm more than a few occasions it was so brilliantly written. Wonderful Halloween reading choice. A favourite!
Amy Brothwell
I had the honour of being handed a copy of this book of the author himself. I was fascinated by the characters from the beginning and I was instantly hooked. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't stop until I had finished. It is one of those that when it is over, you struggle to come to terms with the fact that that is it for that story, the plot has come to a close.

This book is a serious MUST READ for anyone who likes adventure, mystery and a sense of danger. I have to admit that even t
This book has many twists and confusing plots that keeps you entertained however the book often changes pace making it interesting at one point and dull at another.

Josie is a teenage girl living with her alcoholic guardian Cardamon, but when three strange ladies (The Aunts) appear at her door and kill Cardamon his dying wish being that she finds her brother. When she finds her twin Alfie together they embark on a mystery journey to find and destroy the amarant which is cursing their lives. Toget
Kim Dyer
I find it really hard to give a rating to Mortlock as I'm torn to whether or not I liked this novel.

On the one hand, it's fantastically atmospheric. The story paints a grim vision of Victorian London and the story's strong Gothic elements make it very eerie. It also has a surprisingly complex plot, containing many twists and threads which all come together neatly over the final act.

However, the story is incredibly slow moving times. After the exciting opening chapters, the novel began to lose my
Kirsty (overflowing library)
This is one creepy book and while it was good it really wasn't for me as it was a bit too creepy and gory.

The novel is set in Victorian London and follows the story of orphaned twins Josie and Alfie as they try to uncover the mystery of a secret connected to their past, that has been passed on to them in in a note by Josie's dying guardian.

The story starts off at break neck pace and keeps it up throughout with engaging twists and turns. Despite being totally freaked out at some of the passages (
Lyndsey O'Halloran
I truly felt that when I decided to start reading this book that I would hate it. Something about the cover/ description just didn’t appeal to me but I definitely wanted to give it a shot. The cover is a very evil green colour with a hand reaching out from the ground as well as black claws coming down from the top. Straight away, you know this book has an eerie feel to it and the black edged pages helped to add to that feeling.

Jon Mayhew’s website ( state
Caroline Victoria Murphy (CazzReadsYA)
This book is generally aimed at people younger than me, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I read this as part of my Halloween book challenge, and it sent chills through my spine more than once. All the characters are well developed, especially the two main characters: twins Josie and Alfie. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Mortlock who is the character mentioned on the cover, and two of his friends Chrimes and Corvis. They are searching for a flower called an Amarant, bu ...more
SJH (A Dream of Books)
When 'Mortlock' arrived in the post I really wasn't quite sure what to expect. The only thing I knew about it was that the book had been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2011. I didn't have any preconceived notions or judgements about it which makes it nice when you pick up a new book.

Josie is a knife-thrower in a circus, accompanying The Great Cardamom, who is more like an honorary uncle to her. She's always believed that she was an only child until she discovers her orphan

I decided to read this book because i found this book on the shelf of the library and the cover was irresistable. So i picked it up and started reading the Prologue. I was entregied about the starting and it hookedd me in. This book was a thriller.

The category it fits is " A female main character" The reason why it fits this category is because the main character is Josie who is a female. Hahahahah. I liked reading this genre because in most books that i have read there always has been a male ma
Reading this one for school. I has arrived but has the phrase "Death is not the end" so checking to see whether or not this is suitable for a KS2 reading book...

The blurb:

Josie is a knife thrower in the magician's stage act. Alfie is an undertaker's assistant.

They are both orphans and they have never met, but they are about to be given a clue to the secret of a shared past.

A past which has come back to seek them out.

And while they flee for their lives, they must unravel the burning mysteries su
Morgan Venn

‘Immortal Amarant, A flower which once in paradise, fast by the tree of life began to bloom but soon for man’s offence. To heaven removed where first it grew, there grows, and flowers aloft shading the fount of life.‘ - Paradise Lost, John Milton

Mortlock is an interesting story of illusions and dark magic. It has a stunning story line and well described situations. The story is in the perspective of the third person, and although the book can confuse, it will not disappoint creative mind
Demi cacing-cacing yang menjadi teman tidurku,
Tanah dingin yang menjadi selimutku,
Dan ketika badai menerpa,
Tubuhku tergelak dan tidur."

Siapa pun akan merinding ketakutan jika berbicara soal kematian! Sedikit yang menyadari bahwa setiap hari ulang tahun yang kita lewati berarti kian mendekatkan kita akan kematian. Jika bisa, banyak yang ingin lolos dari kematian. Itu sebabnya manusia terus berusaha menemukan kekuatan untuk bertarung melawan kematian. Aneka legenda seputar itu juga berkembang, mul
I loved this book! It was beautifully written! The characters were great and I just couldn't put it down. It was so interesting and the ending was simply stunning and so unexpected. I can't find anything bad to say about this book. I really loved it.

Its about 2 twins, a girl called Josie and a boy called Alfie who were seperated and raised by different people. Josie's guardian, the great magician Cardamom leaves her a note when he dies since her life will be in danger. He is a good character bu
Alexandra (AlexEatsBooks)
Though just 13 years old - Josie and Alfie go through hell and back, caught up in the whirlwind of their guardians past of darkness and power.

I had a lot of fun reading this. Josie is bright and snappy, while Alfie is calm and reasoning - together they make a great team.
Horribly gruesome at times as the Aunts are just down right creepy - the bad guys (while somewhat predictable) are nasty - but I would've liked to have seen more from them.

The title refers to one of the explorers in the prologue
Skye Walker
Slow starting, emotional progress, thrilling climax and touching ending. These are the feeling when I reading this book. Not bad, just had to break through the slow start of the story and the later part is where I started to chase chapters after chapters.
Ursula Clancy
Little confusing at times but really good. Gripping and intense, would recommend to anyone who likes 'low horror'
Harjot Samra
it was ok. i liked the way the secrets and family truths are revealed. the birds womens were so scary that when i slept after reading this book,a couple minutes after,i woke up screaming-i had to hange bedrooms. i have never slept in that bedroom ever was not what i expected but it was worth it. it had a circle of adventures but it was unfortunately not my time. i was expecting a bit of magic and something modern like a teenagers adventure gone wrong. i have hated ravens ever since. i l ...more
Karen Laing
Loved it. This guy rocks.
A bit freaky but overall not too bad.
Yram Yoj
Dec 01, 2014 Yram Yoj marked it as to-read
wala -,-
A totally stunning debut novel.
Three explorers discover an exotic flower and let loose a curse.
Many years later, orphans Josie and Alfie find themselves fleeing for their lives as terrifying events overtake them. To save themselves - from suspicious relatives, dangerous strangers and supernatural flocks of birds - they must confront the secrets of their past.
A wonderful book. Riveting read,full of suspense, excitement and gore from page one. Maybe not for the slightly squeamish reader. Defini
Amber Ashton
nice easy book to read around Halloween, though aimed at a younger audience it still kept me entertained all the way through. The ending however was a bit predictable however and though the name of the book you dont get to learn much about mortlock to be able to relate to him, meaning the final destiny that he has doesn't really have much effect or emotion to it. I liked the emotions that are seen through the 2 main characters and the shocking of some of the fates are also well described but not ...more
Safiyya K
This book was pure genius. I do love the pace of the book. The events seem to speeding so far ahead, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, the only problem I have is that it was almost as though the answer was right in front of them all this time, but they decided to go a completely different way, then, in the end, come back the way they came to find out it was literally right next door. Very strange, but effective, technique used by Jon Mayhew. However, the plot = GENIUS!
Samantha-Ellen Bound
As a story of adventure and terror, Mortlock ultimately succeeds. It feels and reads like what it should – a tale of gothic horror. Atmosphere pervades the big set-pieces, like the dank city streets when Josie and Alfie get chased by ghuls; the soggy, swampy marshlands home to Lorenzo’s circus; or the interior of the crow-infested Lord Corvis’ mansion. Darkly entertaining and great fun.

Full review at:
A great middle-grade read, nothing too heavy but some great fantasy elements.
Bungle Midnight Reads

So!!!!!!! Alot of the Waterstone's readers really liked this book but I didn't think it was that great! I loved loved loved Alfie and I loved the wickedness of the aunts but that was about it!
The 'battle' at the end was a little limp and disappointing!! It doesn't matter who Mortlock turns out to be the end battle should have been soooooooo much better!
The Victorian streets are rife with knife throwers, evil old ladies, a deadly circus and so much more. A really chilling but edgy tale for kids of all ages to step back in time with (and adults too). Pretend you're twelve and read it under the quilt cover with a torch. Perfect.
Damn fine debut, a mixture of historical accuracy with almost snifforama and lovely intersperced folkiness, and a damn fine narrative with humour,pace and mystery.I was there on day one and still am! This won Sefton super Reads deserverdly and Jon is destined for great things
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I live on the Wirral Peninsula with my wife and four children. We have a whole menagerie of dogs and cats and chickens and tortoises. My house overlooks the forbidding marshes of the Dee Estuary which is great for wildlife, spooky mists and wet feet.

I love writing but also enjoy running and playing the mandolin. Running is great because it keeps me fit and I can eat as many chips as I like without
More about Jon Mayhew...

Other Books in the Series

The Mortlock Books (3 books)
  • The Demon Collector
  • The Bonehill Curse
The Demon Collector The Bonehill Curse The Eye of Neptune Deathmire The Wrath of the Lizard Lord

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