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The Merchant of Death

(Pendragon #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  49,091 ratings  ·  2,059 reviews
Librarian Note: Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here


BOBBY PENDRAGON is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby.

He is going to save the world.

And not just Earth as we know it. Bobby is slowly starting to realize that life in the cosmos isn't quite
Paperback, 375 pages
Published September 2002 by Aladdin Paperbacks
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Shawn Washington Yes! Once you start reading, you will be very intrigued and won't want to put it down. But keep in mind that once you read the 1st book you will want …moreYes! Once you start reading, you will be very intrigued and won't want to put it down. But keep in mind that once you read the 1st book you will want to read the other 9 books in the series. I love the plot of this book and the characters are so different so its fun to watch them all develop(less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Not even something as terrifyingly cuddly as a trio of skydiving "ninja" cats could have won me over to this story.
However, fans of this book/series can keep their dander down as this is not going to turn rant as I have no reason or desire to bash this tale. My angries were not provoked. The writing is fine, the main character is fairly engaging, there’s a decent back-story and nicely drawn diabolical villain.

My less than lofty rating is more a recognition that this sub-genre of light, YA,
Tina ➹ Woman, Life, Freedom
Complete 5 Golden Stars
to infinity of the stars & beyond!


the gateway to Halla,
everything that has been, is & will ever be,
the harmony,
10 territories,
first station,
the adventure has just begun.

"first, general view to the whole series & fangiriling"

one of the BEST series I've ever read. I re-read & re-read them again & again.... I was very lucky my friend recommended it to me.
I'll always be grateful that I was a 90's kid so I could be in the generation who knows Bobby P
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1), D.J. MacHale
The Merchant of Death is the first book in the Pendragon series by D. J. MacHale. It follows the adventures of Bobby Pendragon as he travels to Denduron. The story starts with Bobby Pendragon, a normal fourteen-year-old boy, preparing to leave his home to play in the state basketball semi-finals, but before he leaves, Courtney Chetwynde, a popular girl at his school, comes to his house and admits her feelings toward him. While they are kissing Bo
Ariana Deralte
Apr 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
I wanted to enjoy this book because then I'd have several more good books to read after this one, but I was ultimately disappointed. I found the first person, diary pov grating and impossible to get into. The writing also came off as either uninspired or overly wordy when MacHale realized he needed a bit more exposition. Though actually, it was a lot of exposition since everything kept being repeated several times. On top of that, a lot of things happened in the plot just for the sake of the plo ...more
This was one of my very favorite books in elementary school, so I thought I'd go back and re-read it to see how it holds up. And... well, it's not as good as I remembered. I can't pretend I didn't enjoy it, but a big portion of that enjoyment came from the nostalgia value. There isn't all that much to recommend the book apart from that. I have lots and lots of thoughts on this book, and I don't feel like fleshing out a proper review, so here's a pro and con list.


- The characterization is mo
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favorites, fantasy
Somehow, I missed any amount of hype surrounding Pendragon all my years growing up and I have never been more upset. I didn’t know what to think when I picked the book up because I’d heard very very little about the actual storyline aside from little bits and pieces from my boyfriend.

This series is one of my boyfriend’s absolute favorites and he’s been wanting me to read it for a while, so he handed it to me last week and told me to read it. My reading time has been awful lately so when I finall
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The beginning book that hooked me on its fast paced, plot twisting, and at times adrenaline pumping series.

This book really cannot be denied. D.J. MacHale, who has created many other favorites for Y.A. has now beautifully written a creative and entertaining book. The story is of youbg Bobby Pendragon, a life of a normal 14 year old, which takes a dramatic turn as he is introduced to a universe that is all so unreal; yet completely in danger. His Uncle Press, who interrupts his great life at th
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Pendragon Series is my favorite book series of all time, probably because it's one of the first book series I've read, it's extremely long which I love in books, and also I've read it over a couple of years. I started reading in 6th grade and finally finished the last book in 9th grade. I FREAKING LOVE THIS SERIES! I recommend it to everyone! The characters are so lovable and you become really attachted to them. The relationships made between them are wonderful and the action and suspense ju ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fantasy
Bobby Pendragon is a traveler. Frankly I think if I had a name like "Pendragon" by the time I was a young teen I'd have looked it up and cool. But apparently being a typical 21st century "youth" our hero doesn't really care about much outside of school sports of course.

I give this a 3 star rating as it has moments of..."humm, that was interesting". It's a pretty good idea though executed with some odd logic holes and for a very young audience.

I've noted before that "YA" books can be m
Jul 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
Within the first two chapters, there is a description of the main character's first open mouth kiss, a swear word, and talk of "making out". I don't like YA books that ask the YA to grow up too fast. I may have pushed through the book if the plot had been remotely original, but it wasn't (ordinary boy sucked into a wormhole to rescue a planet that's being dominated by an evil warlord). If this is your type of genre, go read "A Wrinkle in Time", "The Book of Three" or "The Dark is Rising". They a ...more
Halley Hopson
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-rereads
Reread 2016


One of my favorite series from middle school/early high school! Still loving it just as much as I did the first time. Press is still my favorite.

I just love the premise of this series so much. The idea of there being ten territories that exist in Halla throughout different points in both time and space that you can travel to through Flumes, ugh yes, sign me up.

Saint Dane is such a fantastic villain as well. I can't wait to get to last couple of books seeing as I only read t
Apr 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: high-fantasy
I remember reading this series in my middle and high school years and thoroughly enjoying them. I still liked this introduction and it definitely holds up! I remember loving the villain and the very creative way the story was told. Mark and Courtney were the Ron and Hermione for Bobby. This was not the best of the series, however the story does get more complex and interesting. Some of the later books were amazing, although I don't think I loved the ending too much. But re-reading it might chang ...more
Pranta Ghosh Dastider
Feb 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Fantastico! Excellento! Awesomeo!

Gald to discover this one finally.
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading the first book in this series and I am excited to have 7 more to plough through! I realize that few can come close to the genius of J.K Rowling, but I had hoped that this series would. While I am thoroughly enjoying reading them (I just started the second book,) the set-up is far too obvious. I appreciate when an author tries to take the format of a book into a direction that has not been done before, but with the journal format of the book, I feel like he is constantly t ...more
Jul 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I am a big fan of young adult fantasy fiction and I was looking forward to a new series to get lost in... In an effort to connect with the "kids" of today, the dialogue is wordy, cheesy and too focused on surface observations. It needs a filter. The story had some interesting components but I couldn't get past the back and forth style between the journal entries of the main character, Bobby Pendragon, and the reactions of his friends, Mark and Courtney. Repetit ...more
Asia Campbell
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Such a good book, everyone should read it.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
in Pendragon the main character is mark because in the first chapter he writes a journal diary of himself of meeting Courtney about tennis practice. also Mark saw Uncle Press and Mark was talking to him Courtney was in the doorway where she could finish talking to Mark but Mark told her to go home but Courtney said she wanted to finish talking to her but then Uncle Press told her to go home and so Courtney went with a little anger hoping that she would never finish talking to Mark. the main conf ...more
Kathleen Villanueva
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Pendragon: The Merchant of Death by D.J. Mchale is an adventurous fantasy book filled with hilarious modern, real-life references. This book contains many lovable characters but the main character is Bobby Pendragon, a fourteen-year-old boy who is also a Traveler. As a Traveler, his duty in life is to save territories from the destruction of their existence. In this book, he is in the territory of Denduron, which is on the verge of a destructive civil war. With his Uncle Press, his partner Loor ...more
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The homeless guy jumped and got hit by a train. In the “Merchant Of Death” by D.J. McHale there were many different things that kept me interested in the book.

One thing that made me enjoy this book was that this book’s cover was kind of cool looking. The cover had a boy in a tunnel with a light shining through the door. Another reason I liked this book was because the personalities of the characters were defined they each had a different one. Like how Loor thinks bobby is unworthy to be a Trave
Charissa Pacheco
Mar 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: don-t-repeat
The book was already just "ok" to begin with but when we got to the "bad guys," the author was lazy and used fat to make them unsympathetic. Other than the warriors, they were all fat because they are lazy and eat all the time. And the queen, OMG, she is SO hideously FAT. She's ALWAYS eating and has sausage toes and a doughy face and is a big, FAT crybaby. She's too FAT and stupid to realize how horrible she is. Did I mention she is disgustingly FAT? Seriously, he goes on and on about how fat sh ...more
Apr 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Well, this book was an interesting enough read that I finished it, but I doubt I'll be checking out any more in the series. Not a bad story, but parts of it felt very cliched and I was a little annoyed by the tone - it seemed to be trying too hard to be cool and current (for teens). Other than that there wasn't really anything wrong with it, it just wasn't as compelling as some of the other great young adult fantasy series that are out there. ...more
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Timelord Iain
Too predictable on re-read to truly enjoy the nostalgia...
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I wish I remembered how many books in this series had already been published when I started reading; I can only recall waiting for the release of the later titles. (The pub dates listed on Goodreads are a little unusual, actually.) This series is distinctive to me for two reasons: because it was one of the first series I read together with friends, before I’d ever heard of formal book clubs - and because of book seven, The Quillan Games. More on the latter when I get there.

This is an intro nove
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
I read this whole series as a young adult as it was released. I just finished rereading it as an adult and was impressed that it held up in many ways. It definitely was a nostalgic read for me and I probably enjoyed it more because of that. However I do feel like it is a strong story with likeable characters and an interesting plot. It is written for a younger audience but does a pretty good job of tackling some heavier issues (class conflict, death, the morality of using powerful/nuclear weapon ...more
This series.  Just...this series.

I don't even know what I can say to do justice to my feelings for it.  I first read The Merchant of Death in fifth grade.  I can't quantify the impact it, and the other nine books, have had on me since then.  It's an absolute masterpiece of character development and complex plotting.  It shows the good guys losing to the bad guys.  It shows kids growing up to become adults in a believable way.  It shows that everyone, even the best protagonist and evilest villain
Karin Garcia
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Probably would have enjoyed it more at a different age. Also, I thought it was going to be a take on Arthur legend (which is why I read it), and it wasn't at all haha. Fun concept though, I guess. ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
3.5 ⭐

The thing that brought me back to myself was a strange sensation. I stood at the mouth of the tunnel and felt a tingling throughout my body. It wasn't horrible, just strange. The tingling grew stronger, and I felt an odd but unmistakable tug. I didn't realise it at first, but it soon dawned on me that I was being pulled into the tunnel!

This is the point. This is where my life changed. What happened next turned everything I had ever known, everything I had ever believed in, everything I h
May 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult

The Merchant of Death is the story of Bobby Pendragon, a normal fourteen year old boy who is going to save the world... yeah, nothing out of the ordinary so far I know, your basic fantasy story... Bobby doesn't know it until his Uncle Press takes him through the gates of an alternative world called Denduron, preventing Bobby from attending a basketball game... the basketball game and a certain Courtney Chedwynde are pretty much all that are on Bobby's mind.

Imagine his surprise when he learns th
Still such a great series. Very detailed time travelling adventure! Let’s see if I can keep rereading the series?
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D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies.

He was raised in Greenwich, CT and graduated from Greenwich High School. While in school, he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm, engraving sports trophies and washing dishes in a between playing football and running track. D.J. then attended N

Other books in the series

Pendragon (10 books)
  • The Lost City of Faar (Pendragon, #2)
  • The Never War (Pendragon, #3)
  • The Reality Bug (Pendragon, #4)
  • Black Water (Pendragon, #5)
  • The Rivers of Zadaa (Pendragon, #6)
  • The Quillan Games (Pendragon, #7)
  • The Pilgrims of Rayne (Pendragon, #8)
  • Raven Rise (Pendragon, #9)
  • The Soldiers of Halla (Pendragon, #10)

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