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The Unwritten, Vol. 3: Dead Man's Knock
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The Unwritten, Vol. 3: Dead Man's Knock (The Unwritten #3)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  6,171 Ratings  ·  302 Reviews
The third volume of the critically acclaimed New York Times best selling new series from the Eisner-nominated creative team of Mike Carey and Peter Gross!

The fictional adventures of Tommy Taylor are the biggest publishing sensation of the still-young century. And now, years after the last volume, Tommy’s creator Wilson Taylor, long missing and believed dead, is unleashing
Paperback, Trade, 160 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Vertigo
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Jan 04, 2017 Anne rated it really liked it
One cool thing about this volume is that you get a few answers.


I mean, not all of the answers, but enough to make you want to keep going with this title. I had a few a few suspicions that it was nice to get confirmation on, and there were some things that I didn't see coming at all. Good stuff!


Like most everyone else, I was really impressed with the issue that was a Choose Your Own Adventure of Lizzie's origin story. I thought it was neat that you don't get a definitive answer, because it looks
December 2015: The Unwritten continues with a volume that makes the weird and fictional even more indistinguishable from reality.

Several things are happening all at once here. Tom, Lizzie and Savoy have reappeared in London after their jaunt in "Jud Suss", only three months have gone by in the real world for their mere hours spent in "Jud Suss". Tom is presumed dead in the fire at Donostia prison, and the world is abuzz with the imminent publication of the fourteenth and final Tommy Taylor nove
Tim The Enchanter
May 08, 2015 Tim The Enchanter rated it it was ok
I can't finish this. The series had promise and was quite ingenious in the way classic literature was incorporated into the story. Ultimately, the series suffered from schizophrenia and failed to be coherent. I could not follow the convoluted storyline and lost interest.
Feb 21, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics
I think I like the direction this seems to be going in now. Many of the plot threads from the previous volume have been wrapped up, or seem to have been wrapped up, with some new ones to keep momentum up. The Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style of Lizzie's origin was cool, clever, and a good reflection of what was going on in her own head. But I always did love Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. It was easy enough for me to explore every path, because there's a lot of overlapping. Trying to read it st ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Teresa rated it liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
Despite the Our Mutual Friend (one of my favorite books) connection, I didn't like this installment nearly as much as the first two. That's probably because I never cared for the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books (my youngest brother read some of them), which is the well-done 'gimmick' in the middle of this book. I didn't follow the directions, but read the pages straight through, just as I was instructed not to do, but doing otherwise would've driven me batty. There's also one big unanswered qu ...more
Scott (GrilledCheeseSamurai)
Apr 25, 2012 Scott (GrilledCheeseSamurai) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, vertigo

This 3rd volume is where the story really starts to take off! Don't get me wrong - the first two volumes were chock full of 'HELL YEAH,' but it's in this third arc where, as the reader, you discover that you have to be alert and pay attention to what's going on. This story is smart. You can't be dumb.

Also...CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!! What? Awesome! I loved how we finally got the goods on Lizzie Hexam and it was presented to us as a Which Way book. Lotta fun to read - but brutal on my physical T
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I preferred this to the last volume. I am still undecided whether I like this series as a whole. Good and bad. I love the literary nods and the concept of metafiction. How can I not as such a bibliophile? I find the imagination of this series infectious, but there is a lot of meanness with the storyline and the characters.

I feel a lot of sympathy for both Tom and Lizzie. They are both being manipulated by grand masters at the game. Lizzie is both better off in that she has more understanding of
Rebecca Jo
Apr 26, 2017 Rebecca Jo rated it really liked it
More 3.5 for me. The Lizzie chapter was really cool and creative.
Jul 10, 2011 Tara rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
The ingenuity and skill of this series continues to boggle my mind. Are you a reader? Read it. Read it. Read it.

a quote from the intro, by Steven Hall:

Most people don't have the first idea about the true power of stories. I'm sure you know this. I'm sure you do, because you're a reader - you're reading this book right now. You're bound to know a thing or two about it.

Maybe you're the woman on the train who doesn't ever let the raised eyebrows of grey-looking office workers put her off her comic
Jan 21, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
It starts out a confusing read - lots of secondary characters to keep track of/remember from the previous volumes, and sideways references to happenings/literary devices that I'm sure I'm not following. This series begs a re-read all at once.

I truly enjoyed the choose-your-own-adventure story in the middle. Not only does it give you a taste of where Lizzie's head must be, but also plays out her origin in a fun and Memento-like way. Re-reading the story non-linearly was an extra bonus, and the ta
Apr 16, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it
The whole Tom/Tommy Taylor story appears on the surface to be a riff off of J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. The whole story is much more than that, and writer Mike Carey (of the Felix Catsor novels) is beginning to tread deeper into the realm of metafiction. As in the impact of stories on our lives. We finally meet Wilson, Tom's father, and we do get some explanation as to why Tom and the Tommy Taylor books are important. While much is left unresolved this remains a fulfilling read.
Aug 14, 2012 Laurel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
So good! I wish more people read graphic novels - they're willing to experiment and expand the boundaries of fiction in such extraordinary ways. I can't wait o see where the story will travel to next!
Liz B
Mar 04, 2017 Liz B rated it really liked it
This is my favorite of the series so far, and while I was reading I revisited some scenes in vols. 1 & 2. Now that I understand what is going on (well, I understand it much more clearly, anyway), a few key scenes made a lot more sense.

This one was a solid 4.5 stars, and I'm really looking forward to reading volume 4. I'm taking a break from the series, though, with a light contemporary romance. It's great, but it's very, very dark.
Dec 31, 2016 Sookie rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2016
Volume 3 continues referencing literature and finally gives a tiny exposure to the unwritten.

This volume is stronger than the second with Tommy coming to terms with his legacy, importance of stories in our lives and slowly discovering the value of friendship.
This isn't Harry Potter for the adults. Its far darker, a lot messier and not as entertaining, unfortunately.
Alan Chen
Mar 15, 2016 Alan Chen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
This series is now officially brilliant! Tom is the son of Wilson Taylor the creator of the most famous fantasy series with over a billion readers. Tom is both his son and the main character. Now Tom is getting sucked into the story when he finds that he can do magic, his past is more mysterious than he thought and there's a mysterious cabal after him. Wilson wrote these stories because he wants to prevent the cabal from influencing the world through fiction. Tom has been groomed to be a jesus-l ...more
Emma Craven
Sep 06, 2014 Emma Craven rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars!

By far my favorite Unwritten volume. From the introduction to the last page I was very much attached to the story. Not as heart wrenching as the last one but still my sympathy was needed for Lizzie. I don't know what to think about Wilson and the path he has created for his "characters". Was what he did to Lizzie / for Lizzie the right decision? The "choose your own adventure" part was fantastic. What a great way to switch things up and get the reader even more involved in the story. I
Scott Lee
Jun 09, 2012 Scott Lee rated it it was amazing
Another fun volume, a lot of time spent on Lizzie Hexam/Jane Waxman, but never at the expense of the overall plotline. There is a choose your own adventure style issue which gives Lizzie's background and surprisingly it wasn't a mess. Perhaps I should have had more confidence in Carey and Gross, but I have to admit that I couldn't see how it would work without either offering almost no choices, or resulting in such widely divergent stories that it would be really annoying as a reader. Instead th ...more
Ryan Mishap
Jul 30, 2011 Ryan Mishap rated it it was amazing
Anybody on Goodreads obviously cares about stories, whether they provide an alternate world for your brain to reside in for awhile, tell you about a historical event or educate you about how to fix a toilet, illuminate people's experiences in beautiful, brutal, or uplifting ways, or just provide an hour or two of amusement. Stories matter, whether people get them from books or not, but reading and the writing of stories has its own power.

The Unwritten knows this deeply, this obvious truth that w
May 05, 2011 Bry rated it really liked it
This installment definitely stretched my mind a bit. A lot of questions are answered - sort of - but it done so cryptically I am still totally confused as to what is happening overall. I just had to put aside this confusion and keep reading. If I tried to figure it out to far I just got even more confused. So at this point I am going on faith that eventually I understand it all!

What made this volume insanely awesome though was that one chapter was a "pick your own story" scenario. At the end of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2011 Felix rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
This collection concentrates on the main plot around Tom(my) Taylor unfortunately without actually moving forward a lot. We do not learn anything new (at least nothing really important) about either Tom(my) Taylor's identity and past or the workings of the cabal. Yes, we do get to see some interesting rituals and we do learn something about Lizzie. But where the other collections featured outstanding single issue story-arcs that helped flesh-out the fictional universe, these are sadly missing he ...more
***Dave Hill
Apr 06, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it it was ok
Shelves: illustrated
Something happened with this series after the first dozen issues -- it went, somehow, from a fascinating exploration of the relationship between fiction and reality (personified by the Harry Pottereseque Tommy Taylor) and became just another weird, magical, deadly, but not wildly original Vertigo series.

It's not bad, mind you. Carey can definitley write, and Peter Gross does his usual fine workman's job on the art. But the story's gotten too busy, too many parties involved, too much bloody actio
Callie Rose Tyler
Jan 14, 2013 Callie Rose Tyler rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
I think this one might be the best so far, it had a nice even pace and was a lot less wordy than previous books. One of the issues is a 'choose your own ending'type of format that was entertaining but a little deceptive since there are really only 2 endings and one of them is ridiculously short and would leave the reader confused, I'm assuming the author expects that if you get the crappy short ending you go back. So really it's more of a choose the middle of the story, either way it was cool.

Jan 29, 2012 Craig rated it really liked it
I used to read this comic in single issues, but finally gave up around issue 11 or 12. Right about the time that things finally kicked into high gear and got interesting... Seriously, this is finally starting to come together and become quite the page-turner. The "choose-your-own-adventure" origin for Lizzie Hexam is something that must be seen to be believed--the complexity involved in putting something like that together for a monthly comic boggles my mind. And Tom finally gets to confront his ...more
[Name Redacted]
This volume is BRILLIANT! The fake "Tommy Taylor" novel which forms a major plot point now is as truly, deeply terrible as the characters say it is. In the actual story, it is said to include "charmless steals from Rowling, Gaiman, Wynne Jones and Uncle Tom Cobley"; the excerpts of the novel we are given contain HILARIOUSLY unsubtle references and tropes lifted from Moorcock, Pullman (also the name of a brutal, charmless character in the actual story!), Baum, and Tolkien! Even "Star Wars, Episod ...more
Jilly Gagnon
Oct 14, 2015 Jilly Gagnon rated it really liked it
I'm loving these books for their literary bent, their utterly unique storyline, and the way they keep throwing you off-kilter as you read.

Sometimes I think things get a little confused--there's a lot of fun experimental pages, but sometimes they make the story harder to understand--but I'd absolutely recommend this series to anyone. Totally unique among the graphic novels/comics that I've read, extremely ambitious, and unfailingly clever.

It's the kind of book that makes me think I should write
May 01, 2011 Trina rated it liked it
Surprises abound in the third installment of The Unwritten series. I did not enjoy this volume as much as I did the other two however it did do a great job of answering lingering questions of the previous books. It is a wonderful anchor Volume and explains the premise of the book nicely. I will continue on in this series because I am caught the love letter to literature motif.
May 23, 2011 Sonic rated it really liked it
We finally get a few answers as to what is going on in this life imitates art imitates life meets fact meets fiction with Christopher Robin meets Harry Potter with a hint of Bourne Supremacy thrown in.

Stories can be as real as the real, ... or maybe more so, ...

This series is pretty awesome so far!
Jun 14, 2012 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
I like this series better with every book.

I was also intrigued that one chapter in here is done in the choose-your-own-adventure style! Though that format only lasts a little ways through the chapter before it more or less reverts back to linear narrative form-- still I appreciate the experiment/breakage-away of format!

I'll have to look for The Unwritten 4 :)
Sep 19, 2016 Pturingan rated it really liked it
Interesting twists for the overall storyline and a cool concept for a single issue story. Let's hope they can maintain the level of quality while moving forward.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storyli
More about Mike Carey...

Other Books in the Series

The Unwritten (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 5: On to Genesis
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld
  • The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 10: War Stories

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“It's a sad fact that most people can't even spot a story when they see one. Most people don't know that stories aren't confined by the covers of books or by half-hour slots on TV. The world is made of stories. The world is driven by stories. When a sunburned-friend tells you about their holiday, it's not a straight list of everything that happened to them - it's a story, an anecdote with a plot, a beginning, a middle and an end. Each one of their holiday snaps is a story too. When you're making a decision, and you imagine the possible outcomes - what are you doing if not telling yourself a story? History is a story. Society is a story. Countries are stories. Your plans are stories. Your desires are stories. Your own memories are stories - narratives selected, trimmed and packaged by the hidden machinery in your mind. Human beings are story engines. We have to be - to understand stories is to understand the world.” 0 likes
“Without a story there is no meaning.
And the nature of the meaning depends on the nature of the story.
To understand this is to understand the true power of stories.
And so, to control the stories, to be the one doing the telling...
Well now, wouldn't that be quite a thing...?”
More quotes…