Twelve Nights

Author(s): Andrew Zurcher

Senior Fiction

Twelve Nights is the perfect fantasy novel for fans of the magical worlds of Philip Pullman and Terry Pratchett.
********** Kay felt everything change in the room around her. Everything.
Kay's father is working late- as usual. Fed up, her mother bundles Kay and her sister into the car, and drives to his Cambridge college to collect him.
But, the staff say nobody by his name has ever worked there.
When they return home, Kay discovers a card left on her pillow:
Will O. de Wisp, Gent. F.H.S.P. and Phillip R. T. Gibbet, Gent. F.H.S.P. K.Bith. REMOVALS.
That night, Kay is woken by voices at her window: the voices of Will and Phillip, the Removers. But they are not human. And Kay shouldn't be able to see them. Except she can...
********** Andrew Zurcher has created a world as captivating as Lyra's Oxford and Alice's Wonderland. Join Kay and the Removers on their incredible journey.

Lucy's Review:

It's Christmas Eve and Kay's archaeologist father hasn't come home. When Kay, her mother, and younger sister Ell go to look for him at the university, no-one seems to know who he is and a strange woman has taken over his office. When they return home there is a card on Kay's bed:

Will O. de Wisp, Gent. F.H.S.W.P.


Phillip R. T. Gibbet, Gent. F.H.S.W.P.


And then in the middle of the night, there are voices out on the roof ... voices Kay shouldn't be able to hear ...

If you're expecting a face-paced twisty turny race to find Kay's father, you will (like many readers) be disappointed. I also expected this type of story and was initially thrown. What Andrew Zurcher gives us in Twelve Nights is an beautiful, poetic, brainstretching, allegorical story about storytelling reminiscent of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials and full of Greek, Egyptian and Northern European mythology. But it is slow...and the level of abstraction, the sentence structure, and the vocabulary means this is definitely not a book everyone will enjoy. In fact, it's a book many will never finish if goodreads is anything to go by.

If you loved Philip Pullman and get a kick out of Shakespeare, Greek mythology, and epic poetry of the 16th Century, you'll love this. If however, you found Alice in Wonderland confusing and a little boring, this is probably not for you. This could be read by a very smart 10-year-old but I actually think it is going to appeal most to adults who love children's all of us here!

PS. You can find a glossary by Andrew Zurcher here and his references to Aristotle, Ovid, Homer, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and dialectical synthesis give you an idea of what to expect in this book.


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Reviewers online about this book are polarised - some hated it, some loved it. I'm one of the latter! I found the magic in this book quite beautiful, with a combination of old myths and of movement. There's lots of adventure. The key character makes mistakes (like all of us do in life) and others are confusing (don't we all know people like that?!), and it all heads for the deadline of twelve nights. A great read.

- Kathleen, @ Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop. 2018.

General Fields

  • : 9780141385556
  • : Penguin Books
  • : Puffin
  • : 0.309
  • : October 2018
  • : ---length:- '7.75'width:- '5'units:- Inches
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Andrew Zurcher
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 823.92
  • : very good
  • : 448