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The Rook

(The Checquy Files #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  50,964 ratings  ·  6,811 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, 496 pages
Published January 11th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
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Julianz Halfway down the first page of the book:
"I don't embrace the traditional Welsh pronunciation (...) Thus, Miff-un-ee. Simple. In fact, now that I think…more
Halfway down the first page of the book:
"I don't embrace the traditional Welsh pronunciation (...) Thus, Miff-un-ee. Simple. In fact, now that I think about it, it rhymes with Tiffany".(less)
Ian Only broad structural similarities - supernatural stuff and secret government agencies. I've read all the Laundry novels and think The Rook scratches …moreOnly broad structural similarities - supernatural stuff and secret government agencies. I've read all the Laundry novels and think The Rook scratches a different itch.(less)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  50,964 ratings  ·  6,811 reviews

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Emily May
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal-uf, 2016
“Yes, Minister, it turns out that there was a mysterious force that caused that plane to crash. We call it gravity.”

I can't believe no one has recommended - or even mentioned - this book to me before! It's a creative, complex urban fantasy with an hilarious and likable protagonist, monsters, and an intriguing mystery.

The Rook grabbed me immediately. Myfanwy Thomas awakes surrounded by bodies with no recollection of who she is or what she's doing there. All she has is a letter in her pocket;
Khanh, first of her name, mother of 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 e
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Audio re/read so I can carry on with the next book. There are too many next books I need to get read!

I freaking loved this book!

I can't believe this was the author's first book =) It's got all kinds of cray, some ewww, some funny parts. Well, I almost peed my pants at times but I digress.

Myfanwy Thomas, known as Rook Thomas, wakes up not knowing who she is. There are dead bodies all around. There is a note in her pocket and lots of instructions and letters through-out the book. Rook Thomas has
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like all those movies I mentioned
Finally! First great read of the year. 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
mark monday
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: secret-histories
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 the jacket
Amy Warrick
Feb 24, 2012 rated it did not like it

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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
$2.99 Kindle sale, July 14, 2019. Loved it! Review posted at

As Daniel O’Malley’s 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 m
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
● Epistolary Buddy Read courtesy of the BBB masochists ●

DNF at 62%.

Introducing...the Be Happy Little Barnacles for this Shall not Be a Pit-Stop Requiring Review Review (BHLBftSnBaPSRRR™)! Because I don't have time to write yet another Oh Bloody Hell this Review is so Long I Might Have Great Grandchildren by the Time I Finish Reading it Review (OBHtRisLIMHGGbtTIFRiR™)! And because I've wasted enough time on this book as it is! So let's do this! Let's

Warning: yes, the crap shall be cut in this
Robin (Bridge Four)
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sale Alert: Oct 13, 2019 Kindle Deal for $3.99

You’ve woken up and are surrounded by a handful of dead people wearing gloves and have no idea who you are or how you got there. But luckily there is a note and with this note and a few others you learn about a world you had no idea even existed.
Dear You,
The odds of your reading this are slim to none. Who would choose uncertainty and vaguely worded warnings over a new life of wealth and luxury? I can only assume that you were put under a massive
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book, 2017
I can’t believe this book has been under the radar for so long. Why haven’t more people read this duology? It’s a crying shame!

It starts off with a bang with the first line in the book. A fantastic way to start in my opinion.

"Dear You,
The body you are wearing used to be mine."

Myfanwy Thomas wakes up surrounded by dead people that are wearing rubber gloves and has no idea who she is. The lucky thing about the plot is you’ll find out who she is, who she works for (a paranormal MI5) and why this
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, thriller
“‘You,’ he said. ‘Your memories will be taken. They’ll be licked out of you, everything that makes you who you are. Gone forever. You’ll flee to a park, and there, in the rain, someone new will open the eyes that used to be yours.’ He spoke in a voice that cracked, and I stared at him in horror. “‘They’ll open your eyes, your black eyes, and see corpses all around them. Corpses wearing gloves.’”

 photo The Rook_zpsugmrp5lc.jpg

It is always unsettling when one receives portends of doom and gloom, but to have them related to
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star, year-2017
“Rook Thomas, you look different somehow."
"Well, I recently got the shit kicked out of me," she said.
"Ah, that would be it then.”

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Mary has found an Urban Fantasy book that she actually enjoyed!

Seriously though, this is a great book. And a debut, nonetheless!

Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas wakes up in the middle of the street, surrounded by dead bodies, all of which are wearing latex gloves. But the person looking out from behind Myfanwy's eyes has no memory of being Myfanwy T
4.5 stars. What was THAT?! High speed, high octane..a brilliant urban fantasy of a different ilk. I was going to try and explain the story but there are so many great summaries of it already. So, just go and read this! Skilful blend of Sci Fi, urban fantasy and the paranormal, the chatty relaxed style of this book will carry you along effortlessly. And it's funny. What more do you need? ...more
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it

Weaving together a paranormal urban fantasy with clear references to X-Men, The Atrocity Archives, MIB, Lovecraft and Theodore Sturgeon author Daniel O’ Mallley takes us on a fun-ride concerning a secret English governmental group that has been around for centuries and protects the realm from all kinds of boogeymen.

The title comes from the Chess inspired hierarchical leadership cell called “The Court”. Protagonist Myfanwy Thomas is a supernaturally powerful, but administratively gifted membe
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with the Urban Fantasy enthusiast at BB&B!!!

“I’m not bipolar, I’ve just had a bipolar life foisted upon me.”

This was very surprising and a bit unusual UF read. M. Thomas is a supernatural secret agent for a Paranormal agency in the British government. She wakes up and has no memory of who she is and what is her life. Luckily, once she puts her hands in her pockets, she finds letters obviously addressed to her. Every letter gives her a clue and she mostly blindly stumb
Maggie Stiefvater
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended, adult
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.
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
Oh The Rook, you genre defying timesink...I have a feeling this is going to be a difficult review. Not because I didn't like the book (spoiler alert...I did), and not because I had issues with it (I had some of those too), but primarily because it's just so hard to pin down. It's a book that fits into a bunch of genres, and handles most of them quite well, but it definitely suffers from occasional pacing issues and a large focus on exposition/info-dump segments.

As usual, this is as spoiler-free
Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph)

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.
Jul 05, 2019 marked it as abandoned
Writing GIF - Writing GIFs

Dear You,
I cannot abide books where strong and powerful female characters are portrayed as either mega bitches or fluff-headed bumbling idiots who need a man to rescue them, no matter their super powers or high positions. This book has female characters in powerful positions who can kick all sorts of ass.... but..... yeh, they still need a man to come save them!

Our main character, who despite having a powerful position and possessing supernatural powers that inflict fear in most people, comes ac
Lois Bujold
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  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
A woman wakes up in a London park, surrounded by dead people all wearing latex gloves … and with no idea who she is or how she got there. A letter in her coat pocket informs her that she is in danger, and offers her two choices: start a new anonymous life, or step into the letter-writer’s highly unorthodox life and try to figure out what happened, and why.
Sounds good, right? An urban fantasy mystery-thriller about X-Men-type superheroes taking down truly frightening supernatural baddies … how c
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Rook was a novel that had been sitting on my shelf for years, lying forgotten in spite of the repeated calls from my friends urging me to pick it up and read it. It finally took the arrival of a review copy of Stiletto to spur me into action, because nothing lights a fire under my butt quite like the news of an impending sequel. And in reading The Rook, I learned a couple of important lessons: first, I should always
Jun 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"The body you are wearing used to be mine."

After thinking about it for a while I will increase my rating to 5 stars. Other similar books I have given 5 stars to also had their little flaws!

Imagine that you have lost your memory and only have the keys to two lockers. One contains all the information about your life, your supernatural abilities and instructions on how to work undercover in your own job as an agent at a secret organisation that battles supernatural forces, to find out which of
Deborah Harkness
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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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

Other books in the series

The Checquy Files (3 books)
  • Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2)
  • Take Flight (The Checquy Files, #3)

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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!” 139 likes
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