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The Death Collector (Department of Unclassified Artefacts #1)

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  796 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
What starts as an ordinary pick-pocketing incident in Victorian London unites three teens against a madman. Eddie is the pickpocket; George is an assistant at the British Museum; Elizabeth has a nose for trouble—and all of them are being hunted by Augustus Lorimore. Lorimore is a sinister factory owner, a villain bent on reanimating the dead, both humans and dinosaurs—and
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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What more can you ask for but Victorian England, steampunk dinosaurs, and a mad scientist? Maybe a little bit more of a coherent beginning and smoother initial introduction of characters? I chose to read this book because 1) I own and have read the second in this trilogy and 2) thought I should experience this series in its entirety, rather than simply diving in half way through.
Justin Richards has managed to scalp a gripping tale of intrigue and mystery while also failing at some of the most ba
There's one misstep in this book, and it happens fairly early on. I'll try to be vague to avoid spoilers. The identity of the Big Bad is kept secret from the characters, and presented as a secret to the readers, roughly 100 pages longer than it would take the vast majority of readers to figure it out themselves, and well after the characters should have done so for themselves. Those 100 pages have more than one incidence that made me cringe at how slow the characters apparently were. What's odd ...more
Tom Franklin
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was a strange book in several ways. First, the book, published by Scholastic, features Victorian-era characters in their late teens, making the target age something of a mystery. Second, the book had all the elements to make for a great story (steampunk-augmented-reanimated dinosaurs!) but it never quite came together for me.

The first chapter was one of the best, most engaging opening chapters I've read in a long while. Subtle, understated, with an amazing twist... and it ended up having pr
Becky H.
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Suzie and Martin
Shelves: 2010
What does an old diary, a walking dead man, a monster, a pickpocket, an actress and a museum employee that repairs clocks all have in common?
They are all involved in a mystery novel for young adults.
George a museum employee is on the search of who killed his co-worker over a bunch of old diaries that were donated to the British Museum. When his friend was killed the diaries were caught in a fire and all that is left of the last diary is a burnt scrap with a few words on it. So with this clue and
Karolinde (Kari)
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any one who likes a fun story with interesting twists.
Recommended to Karolinde (Kari) by: The cover!
This book has one of the best opening lines in the history of literature. I was hooked by the first period. This book has zombies, dinosaurs, pickpockets, a librarian/tinkerer, a beautiful and intelligent heroine, an evil villain, and brain dead crooks. While written for upper elementary/middle school, any one who enjoys a good story will love this book. Especially if you like tea after funerals.
Dayna Smith
Think Frankenstein meets Jurrasic Park in Victorian London. This was a very enjoyable story. It was a little slow in parts, but the suspense kept building and kept you reading. A clock maker, a minister's daughter, a pickpocket, and a strange Professor team up to stop an evil industrialist/scientist who wants to "rule the world" - hear evil insane laugh here. A fun way to spend an afternoon.
"Something is happening that may challenge our understanding of the scientific world. And, with your help, I mean to discover what." (Sir William Protheroe)

I last read The Death Collector about eight years ago. When I recently, saw it while I was organising my bookshelf this year, I couldn't remember what The Death Collector was about and how I felt towards it.

After a re-read, I now know that The Death Collector is a Steampunk novel set in the Victorian Era. There's museums, mysteries, danger
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun and entertaining story… but nothing special. It did definitely have the potential to be so though.

As is fairly clear from the cover, this is a steampunk book with dinosaurs in it. And that in itself could have been really good. However, there is left so much not explained or not fully explored about the sciency part, it fails to deliver. The reader finds out only about 50 pages from the end what the bad guy is up to, which immediately turns into a massive actions sequence, so ther
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now I will admit this is a book I didn't have a clue about (some would say that thats pretty normal for me). However I have read a number of books by Justin Richards and yet this title and the series it comes from totally escaped me. I must be slipping in old age!

Anyway I stumbled across this book while looking in a second hand shop for others by him - ironically the version I found is an advanced proof so does not look exactly the same as the ISBN version it is linked to.

So what did I think -
Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Sabrina Smith

The book begins with Albert coming home for tea and then taking the dog for a walk. The strange thing about this is that his funeral had been four days before, and he seemed to be a bit dead. From there the mystery deepens, complete with a street urchin who has a good heart, a young man who works the British museum, an aspiring actress, a diary, and much more set in the dark and gritty streets of Victorian London.

Part Frankenstein-esque horror, part Sherlock Holmes, Richards
Calvin Riquier
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Eddie, George, and Elizabeth are being hunted down by Augustus Lorimore. Lorimore owns a factory and owns the dead, both humans and dinosaurs. Every one of his terrible creatures is out on the street and can be following them around.They attempt to save London is their plan, or will they die trying. To see what happens next and if they save London read The Death Collector. This book reminded me of the The Dead book by Charlie Higson. Both books had some connection with the living dead.
I though
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
What's not to like about zombie dinosaurs roaming the streets of Victorian London? Dickensian pickpockets, automatons, and the British Museum too. Fun to start to a steampunk series.
Cassaundra Aunna
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Let me start this review by reminding you all that this is a YA/Middle Grade book. That being said, it was written so.

The book was pretty predictable in the beginning. I knew who the "bad guys" were before the characters in the book ever figured it out. Maybe a little bit before halfway through the book, things started getting better. The first half of the book was spent getting to know the characters and the story. All of the action starts happening after that.

The second half of the book was
Hmmm, I liked the story itself. Anytime dinosaurs are included it makes a story interesting and I enjoyed the time period as well. There was a lot of action too, which kept me reading so that I could find out what happens next. However, the science was pretty wacked out. I know it's scifi, but usually scifi is based on some form of real science. Without giving anything away, I couldn't understand how the "creature" worked. I know it was part dino bones, part steampunk tech, but how was it alive? ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sir William is one of the main characters. He is and older man not elderly. He was there since the beginning. He was a little creepy but then you start to understand why because of his "unknown" part of the museum.
Ione DeOllos
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book whether you are a teen reader or not. Great Read.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really have to stop reading shitty books.
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Nijah by: Nobody
It was one of the most awesome books I've ever read and I love it
An Odd1
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Four days after his own funeral, Albert Wilkes came home for tea" p 1 and to walk dog. Opening episode is hilarious and spooky 5*. First to find journals, Museum worker returns as corpse instead of obeying new master. Of course he will remember humanity and friends at crucial moment. But why does he crush (really) hope (view spoiler) before villain? Why bother with both slower battery and fast Frankenstein-like lightning zap to reanimate fossil?

Scary chases, otherw
Meira (readingbooksinisrael)
I didn't like this much and I think that it definitely has to do with some outside factors and that I would have liked this better under different circumstances, so I gave this four stars instead of five. But my recommendation is to read this on a stormy night.

Things I liked:
-The book was sufficiently horrifying. Victorian London smog and pea-soupers helped.
-The first sentence was great: "Four days after his own funeral, Albert Wilkes came home for tea."
-All the automata and machinery and how th
This is one of those books I picked up on the strength of its blurb, given that it sounded somewhat like the Montmorency series and various other young adult stuff set in Victorian times.

The whole story of The Death Collector focusses on the British Museum whose Department of Unclassified Artefacts is something like a Victorian X Files, whose job it is to investigate the unexplainable. George Archer has been working at the museum for some time and is about to be recruited into that other Departm
Juan Delgado
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it
The book was good but not so great that it would you wonder how is this possible. it all starts off by a man names Albert Wilkes who goes home to get some tea; however he died 4 days ago. then it begins with a guy named George who has been given a job at the highest most classified job there is in the museum. He's then attacked by assassins who work for Mr. lorimore to retrieve some artifacts that belonged to an 18 century scientist by the name of Glick. From there he meets up with a 14 year old ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this book. It was just not my cup of tea. And I feel like it wasn't very well-written at all. I'm not the biggest fan of mystery novels, but I have read several that I have loved and I have to say that this book did not leave me caring enough about what was going on to follow through. I was drawn to the book by the dinosaur on the cover and the mention of zombies on the back cover and I thought this book would be good fun. I was wrong. Scenes that should have been fraught with ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
It's been a while since I read this book and I cannot seem to remember much about it which goes to show that it probably wasn't much of anything. Maybe a light read to stop thinking for a little while.

Three different characters are thrown into an adventure due to a case of missing and switched wallets. George has just gotten promoted at the British Museum, had one of his coworkers die in his arms, and gotten his wallet stolen by a young pickpocket.
Elizabeth is a young woman whose father is a p
Narrated by Steven Pacey. From book jacket: The foggy streets of Victorian London are thick with thieves. But when Eddie Hopkins steals George Archer's wallet, he has no idea athat hie is entering a dark world of grave robbers, assassins, and zombies. Because George is no ordinary citizen. He is the newest member of the Dept. of Unclassified Artifacts at the British Museum, a department that investigates the bizarre and the unexplained. And in George's wallet is a clue to one of the biggest myst ...more
BCL Teen Librarians
Eddie just needed something to eat; that's why he picked George's pocket... okay, he also picked Elizabeth's father's pocket too. Whatever. But now there are zombies wandering the streets of London and a giant dinosaur is chasing Eddie, George, and Elizabeth through the sewers. How can a simple picketpocketing result in such an insane adventure?

This book was pretty good. It had a whole lot of adventure (and some crazy plot twists!), even if the main characters were a bit dull themselves. The evi
Krystl Louwagie
This book had zombies and dinosaurs, so I'm not sure how it managed to be so boring, but it was. It was predictable, which made it all seem like it was very slow moving, because I kept waiting for them to figure out what I already knew. Eddie (the young pick pocket-er) was the most entertaining character, but most of them were pretty flat and didn't really have interesting interactions/relationships with each other. There were a lot of things that should've made a interesting/good novel, but it ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Death Collector was a mystery novel about three characters, George, Eddie, and Liz trying to solve the mystery of a mysterious creature in London back in the 1800s. Throughout the book they are looking for clues and have to work together to figure out what is happening. This book was just ok because I have read many other Mystery books that I liked more. I would not say not to read it, but chances are I would not recommend this book to others who are looking to start reading mystery books. S ...more
Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I had a hard time finishing this one. I found that I had to read aloud the last chapter to my dogs just to get through it. It is a fine idea - a mash up of Victorian mystery and horror, but I felt it never settled into a groove. The characters never had a realistic reaction to the events, and that did take away from the suspense that the plot needed to build to be successful. This is a YA book geared more towards younger, middle school students with its simplicity. To be fair, I did read this wh ...more
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Justin Richards is a British writer. He has written many spin off novels based on the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, and he is Creative Director for the BBC Books range. He has also written for television, contributing to Five's soap opera Family Affairs. He is also the author of a series of crime novels for children about the Invisible Detective, and novels for older children. ...more
More about Justin Richards

Other books in the series

Department of Unclassified Artefacts (3 books)
  • The Parliament of Blood (Department of Unclassified Artefacts, #2)
  • The Chamber of Shadows (Department of Unclassified Artefacts, #3)

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“Four days after his own funeral, Albert Wilkes came home for Tea.” 5 likes
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