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The Dark Portal

(The Deptford Mice #1)

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,139 ratings  ·  108 reviews
In the British tradition of Redwall comes this first novel of a trilogy that is sure to capture fans both young and old. In the sewers of Deptford, there lurks a dark presence that fills the tunnels with fear. The rats worship it in the blackness and name it "Jupiter, Lord of All." Into this twilight realm wanders a small and frightened mouse-the unwitting trigger of a cha ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Chronicle Books (first published 1989)
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Patricia Robinson I first read it when I was 11, so I would say about that age and above. Note that there are some particularly frightening and violent scenes…moreI first read it when I was 11, so I would say about that age and above. Note that there are some particularly frightening and violent scenes throughout this series (there are characters who get peeled - that is, skinned alive - and at one point during a fight a rat snaps another rat's head off, causing blood to spill everywhere).(less)

Community Reviews

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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,139 ratings  ·  108 reviews


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Matthew Hodge
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was one of my all-time favourite books as a kid and I've had a blast re-reading it to my daughter. It tells the tale of a group of anthropomorphic mice living in an empty house in Deptford. (The fact that it's such a particular suburb - not just a random house in London somewhere - is one of the things I've always liked about this book.)

The mice live a relatively happy life, except for the fact that down in the cellar is the Grille - an old piece of ironwork that leads into the sewers. And
...more
Redfox5
I brought this book, when I was a kid from either Blackbush or Brooklands market (both now long gone). I tried so many times to read it. I would get a couple of chapters in, lose interest and then come back to it a year or so later. I think I once read it all the way through but the only thing I can remember from the book is that there were evil rats in the sewer.

Reading this as an adult was easier and I didn't lose interest, although the story is not that exciting and is fairly simplistic.

The
...more
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I had to DNF this one. It's boring, and the plot is trite, and the pacing is weird. I didn't care about any of the characters, so after I stuck with it through 100 pages, I called it quits.

The writing is really condescending, and points out the obvious over and over. In the beginning, the setting is described as a society of mice who are afraid of the sewers below their community because the evil rats live in the sewers and they eat any poor mice who go wandering down there.
Then a mouse named
...more
Qt
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
An interesting, unique, and original book.
L.H. Johnson
I'm on a bit of a Robin Jarvis kick at the moment, and it was when I reread 'The Dark Portal' (the first in the Deptford Mice series) that I came to realise something.

I think that Jarvis taught me the concept of story, in a way. I think he taught me the concept of telling a single story within a greater whole. I am a fan of him, avowedly so, and love his work from the Whitby series to the Deptford books; from Aufwader to Green Mouse and everything in between.

His books are big books. They are un
...more
James Benham
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, animals, adventure
Don't let the fact that this story is about a community of mice trick you into thinking this is a sunny, lovely adventure. It is dark, gritty and gruesome (at least one character meets their grisly end being skinned). This means it may not be suitable for a lot of children, however, it is not so bad that I wouldn't recommend it to some proficient, well-read upper KS2 children. The tension is palpable throughout with Jarvis doing an excellent job of keeping you on edge and fearing for the young m ...more
Hannah Polley

Ever since there were mice in my uni house, I have been absolutely terrified of them and also rats by extension. So I felt very uncomfortable reading this book.

This book tells the story of mice that live in an abandoned house but they keep being lured into the sewer where the evil rats are. However, the rats are controlled by a magical dark force, which actually turns out to be a cat.

This book has an odd and surprising mix of humour and gruesomeness but it just wasn't really for me.

It ends on a
...more
Victoria Clifford
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: No humans are present in the telling of this story.
Jupiter lives in the sewers and is lord over the rats. When a mouse from the Skirtings loses her mouse brass while looking for her missing father in the sewer she consults Madame Akkikuyu, a fortune teller, and Audrey ends up on an adventure in the sewers, herself. Now join the forces of a city mouse, country mouse, a seafaring mouse and the bats to try to find her. And what of Jupiter? May be too intense for real young children but
...more
Starslug
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Dark Portal is an enjoyable mixture of cutesy mice, bloody death, and black magic. All in all, a unique mixture that combines to give this book a certain deliciously dark character.

The horror in this book is a little stronger and far more grisly than I expected: perhaps if I'd chosen the edition with the realistic rat's face, rather than the cutesy-poo anthropomorphic mice on the cover, then I would have been better prepared. What other book about talking animals would include demonaic rat g
...more
Pickle Farmer
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: re-read
I forgot how dark these books are!! "The Crystal Prison" remains my favorite. During this reread I got annoyed at how dumb the mice were, running around the sewers. I guess the point was that the sewers had this "dark magical" pull on them that made them make bad decisions. But yeah, all the parts about the rats skinning mice and summoning dark gods are still deliciously horrifying. And I forgot how much I like Madame Akkikuyu (the Moroccan rat wannabe prophet) and the oracular bats as character ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
twee

I did not enjoy it.

Library copy
Jemima Pett
In 1989 there probably wasn't as much anti-anthropomorphism as there was a decade later.  This book seems to have gone in and out of fashion, but still came through ranked as a good spooky tale for children.

I'm not so sure of that.  It starts well, with a scary event happening to Arthur Brown, a respectable mouse drawn into the sewers below Deptford for reasons I've forgotten.  He fails to return and most of his family give him up as lost. Nobody should venture beyond The Grille into the sewers.
...more
Lou
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
(view spoiler) ...more
Rochelle Baldwin
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow, my oldest nephew let me borrow this book a long time ago. I never had or took the chance to read it, but then he suggested we read it out loud together since he was rereading his older books. I would not suggest this book to younger audiences since there is a lot or really scary nightmare inducing stuff for the young, but this book was incredible in plot and delivery.
Vivian
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty close to being a perfect read in the traditions of Watership Down or the Redwall series. Just the right amount of violence to make it chilling but with the addition of honor and loyalty to bring out the cheers for the heroine and heroes. The character development was a little uneven in places but I did not see it as a major distraction. Looking for the next in the series!
Arska-täti
Hiiri-isä eksyy rautaristikon tuolle puolen ja joutuu rottien vangiksi. Häntä pelastamaan lähtevät tytär Audrey ja vieras kaupunkilaishiiri Piccadilly.

Mukaansatempaava fantasiatarina pienestä hiirestä. Tarina pitää otteessaan loppuun asti.
Astrid
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
it's jesus, except green and a mouse
more seriously, this was a huge deal to me as a kid. I don't remember much kid's horror out there but this is a good one! the illustrations are still creepy, and the visceral descriptions of some scary scenes really works well. I cried at two different points!
Raul R
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was okay. It was long and too easy to read. It wasn't a bad book, but it could've been better. It's not a scary book. It's more of a neutral story. The story was kind of hard to follow because of how many characters there were and it's third-person omniscient point of view.
Quinn
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
3.5 stars

Oh sweet Jesus Christ... This book is macabre plus plus. Jeebus. I'm quite sure this is the only YA book that I've consistently have muttered, "oh, what the fuck!".

(view spoiler)
Thistle
Mar 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
I love talking animal stories. This one, about a bunch of mice that fight against a bunch of bad guy rats, should have been a perfect for for me. However, all the characters had very strong accents and they were all written out. I do not enjoy that. DNF
Natasha the Bilbliophile
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, it's a kid's story. It's ok though. I'll be reading the next one....
Emilou
Jan 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book, but right from the start I was disinterested. I kept reading to see if it got any better, but I quit more than halfway through. It just didn't catch my interest.
Kieran Banister
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A childhood favourite and the pinnacle of the Redwall diegesis.
Barb
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea. Never got really "into" it
Yue Lee
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is very unique. It has a very interesting background. The story lines is that the mice are the good animal, that is getting harass by the evil rats. I like how it started because the main mice named Albert was traveling and their was a lot of actions going on. I also like that the title of the book go very will with the story lines. I didn't like how the book end it so fast.

Pwilliamson
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Have read complete series brilliant
Katie
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read the Deptford Histories Trilogy when I was ten and loved them, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover the first book in the Deptford Mice Trilogy was just as enjoyable now that I'm a bit older. The characters were well created and individual, the story moved along at the perfect pace and it was exciting to read. The pictures from the author really brought the story alive and I found myself looking forward to the next one eagerly.

The thing that I remember most about these books tho
...more
Mari-Elaine
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read the whole 3 book trilogy to my children when they were about 7 & 8, they loved it, in fact, we all did. So instead of reading in their bedrooms I would read downstairs to all the family including Dad. It became a family ritual. The characters were so well described that I was able to give them different voices. I had to read ahead a bit so as not to leave the story at a particularly exciting part.
The eccentric character of Madam Akkikuyu is indelibly fixed in our minds to this day so
...more
Chris
Mar 07, 2014 rated it liked it
When I was a child I did not read much, my brother was a different kettle of fish and read quite alot (although these days the roles are reversed) I mention this because I remember him reading this one what must be 15 years ago so when I stumbled across it by accident I decided to give it a try.

I was anxious that perhaps this would read lke a childrens book (a reasonable assumption) however I am pleased to report that although it is clearly aimed at young people it is certainly a book that can b
...more
Paula
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great Young adult anthropomorphic adventure story appropriate for all ages. Its a little tough to put my finger on exactly why I enjoyed the book so much, apart from the authors skill to appeal to all audinces. It reminds me a little of the Secret of Nimh- a favorite from my own childhood, and even a bit of Harry Potter feel in the set up and adventures. It flows smoothly and quickly with a little bit for everyone.


I commend the author for writing a children's adventure appropriate for all age
...more
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Robin Jarvis (born May 8, 1963) is a British children's novelist, who writes fantasy novels, often about anthropomorphic rodents and small mammals – especially mice – and Tudor times. A lot of his works are based in London, in and around Deptford and Greenwich where he used to live, or in Whitby.

His first novel – The Dark Portal, featuring the popular Deptford Mice – was the runner up for the Smar
...more

Other books in the series

The Deptford Mice (3 books)
  • The Crystal Prison (The Deptford Mice, #2)
  • The Final Reckoning (The Deptford Mice, #3)
“I am Audrey Brown," she shouted proudly, "and I know nothing of spells, or dark magic: I place myself in the protection of the Green Mouse! Whatever you do to me I know that I shall be received by Him.” 0 likes
“She had delicate features - almost elfin. If you could imagine a fairy mouse that would be Audrey, although she would not have thanked you for remarking upon it.” 0 likes
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