Start reading The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Book 1) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration
The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking, Book 1 Narrated by Nick Podehl $13.99 $3.49
Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Ness
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (403 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $9.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $10.99
Kindle Price: $6.60
You Save: $4.39 (40%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.49 when you buy the Kindle book.

A Court of Thorns and Roses
"A Court of Thorns and Roses"
Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down! Learn more | See more from Sarah J. Maas
Download the PDF of the reader's guide to The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Book Description

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. Includes “The New World,” a short story by Patrick Ness.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Todd Hewitt lives in a world in which all women are dead, and the thoughts of men and animals are constantly audible as Noise. Graphically represented by a set of scratchy fonts and sentence fragments that run into and over each other, Noise is an oppressive chaos of words, images, and sounds that makes human company exhausting and no thought truly private. The history of these peculiar circumstances unfolds over the course of the novel, but Ness's basic world-building is so immediately successful that readers, too, will be shocked when Todd and his dog, Manchee, first notice a silence in the Noise. Realizing that he must keep the silence secret from the town leaders, he runs away, and his terrified flight with an army in pursuit makes up the backbone of the plot. The emotional, physical, and intellectual drama is well crafted and relentless. Todd, who narrates in a vulnerable and stylized voice, is a sympathetic character who nevertheless makes a few wrenching mistakes. Manchee and Aaron, a zealot preacher, function both as characters and as symbols. Tension, suspense, and the regular bombardment of Noise are palpable throughout, mitigated by occasional moments of welcome humor. The cliff-hanger ending is unexpected and unsatisfying, but the book is still a pleasure for sophisticated readers comfortable with the length and the bleak, literary tone.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Chased by a madman preacher and possibly the rest of his townsfolk as well, young Todd Hewitt flees his settlement on a planet where war with the natives has killed all the women and infected the men with a germ that broadcasts their thoughts aloud for all to hear. This cacophanous thought-cloud is known as Noise and is rendered with startling effectiveness on the page. The first of many secrets is revealed when Todd discovers an unsettling hole in the Noise, and quickly realizes that he lives in a much different world than the one he thought he did. Some of the central conceits of the drama can be hard to swallow, but the pure inventiveness and excitement of the telling more than make up for it. Narrated in a sort of pidgin English with crack dramatic and comic timing by Todd and featuring one of the finest talking-dog characters anywhere, this troubling, unforgettable opener to the Chaos Walking trilogy is a penetrating look at the ways in which we reveal ourselves to one another, and what it takes to be a man in a society gone horribly wrong. The cliffhanger ending is as effective as a shot to the gut. Grades 8-12. --Ian Chipman

Product Details

  • File Size: 1715 KB
  • Print Length: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (October 18, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0044UHVR2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,626 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
139 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let this one go... January 12, 2010
...or you'll have missed out on a brilliant book. I won't regale you with plot details (you can find them elsewhere easily enough and I'd hate to spoil this for you), I'll just tell you why I loved it.

A few months ago, I was complaining to a friend that there was nothing really original coming out these days in the areas of speculative fiction, particularly when it comes to the YA end of the spectrum. It all seems to be vampires this, werewolves that, discovering latent magical powers here, falling in angsty love with someone with magical powers there... My friend listened patiently and then recommended that I read the 'The Knife of Never Letting Go'. Friends are great.

I chewed through this book in a few sessions. I wouldn't have put it down if everyday life hadn't so rudely interrupted. It made me laugh, cry and cheer. Then I gave it to my partner who is not a keen fiction reader and he loved it as well.

Before Patrick Ness started punching out punchy fiction, he was (and still is) a journalist. It shows. Not a word is wasted in this book, the prose is always expertly crafted and never dithering waffle. The post-apocalyptic dystopian world is unique and wonderfully built, even though we only get to see it through the eyes of Todd, our illiterate protagonist. Ness evokes a rare and pure honesty in Todd's voice that immediately sweeps us up in the action and continues to hurtle us through the story until we slam into the brick wall of an ending.

'The Knife of Never Letting Go' is a masterpiece in itself, but thank the Muses that Chaos Walking is going to be a trilogy.

My 'Where It's At' rating: 4.8/5

@@@@ Plot
@@@@@ Pace
@@@@@ World
@@@@@ Characters
@@@@@ Style
Was this review helpful to you?
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too January 6, 2009
On a far-flung world newly settled by humanity, twelve-year-old Todd Hewitt of Prentisstown is a boy on the brink of becoming a man.

When settlers came to this world, they found it already inhabited by aliens known as the Spackle, and a war was waged against them to colonize the planet. Now, almost twenty years after the first settlers landed, the world is low-tech but free of the "spacks." However, they left behind them the "Noise germ," a chemical contaminant that causes all the men who come in contact with it to broadcast their thoughts for everyone's hearing--and kills all the infected women.

On the eve of his thirteenth birthday, Todd has never seen a woman. He was the last child born in the settlement before his mother succumbed to the Noise germ and died, and now he's the only boy left in the village of Prentisstown, all the others having turned thirteen and been proclaimed men. Now, with Todd's birthday approaching, the entire town is anxious, and Todd can hear it.

The men of the town are keeping something from him; although they can hear each other think, it's possible to learn techniques that allow one to control the information that others can hear. Ben and Cillian, his adoptive guardians and old friends of his parents, are both worried for him, though Todd doesn't know why.

And then, with less than a month to go until Todd's thirteenth birthday, he stumbles across a secret that no boy is meant to know and all men have been forced to forget, a secret about the history of his world and the lies he's been told. Todd has no choice but to escape from the town he's called his home and the people who have been his parents, on the run from something more terrible than the alien Spackle, and more familiar.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
72 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If it weren't for the ending, I'd rank it higher October 24, 2008
Todd lives in Prentisstown, a dystopian nightmare where all women are dead and everyone can hear each other's thoughts (known as noise). As the only "boy", the youngest in the restless and violent town, Todd's only real companion is his (talking) dog, Manchee. When he discovers a girl in the swamp one day, his caretakers tell him he's in danger and he has to make a run for it.

As thus begins book one of the Chaos Walking trilogy. It's best to go into the book knowing only as much as Todd knows (which is surprisingly little considering no one's thoughts are private), so I won't go into spoilers here. Suffice to say that leaving Prentisstown considerably expands Todd's worldview and understanding. Todd is an intriguing character, a real innocent, with a voice that matches his lack of education.

The ideas here are very creative, especially in regards to the noise. It's interesting to see what animals have to say (not much of interest actually) and how differently the various settlements Todd encounters on his journey have dealt with the problem of broadcasting their every thought.

I cruised through this thinking the whole time that it's an A-/B+ book - until I hit the ending. The narrative is dark, but the ending is even darker and though it works on an intellectual level, it's an emotional sucker punch - a cliffhanger that makes you think the book must be missing some pages.
Was this review helpful to you?
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this Book as Good as the Hype?? October 30, 2009
"The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say. About anything."

Todd Hewitt is a twelve-year-old boy living in Prentisstown in the New World. The New World is a another planet that was settled years ago by people who wanted a simpler way of life. But when they reached the New World, they encountered an alien race known as the Spackle. And there was war. A war in which a germ was released that caused the "noise". This germ not only killed all the women in the New World, but most of the men. Only the men of Prentisstown are left. And they have the "Noise" disease. They can hear each others thoughts, or noise as its called. And although this sounds pretty cool in theory, being able to read eveyone's thoughts makes for a big jumbled mess most of the time. So many thoughts coming at you in all directions is enough to drive a person crazy. But this is the only world Todd has ever known.

Both his mother and father died during the war. Todd lives with friends of his mother's, Ben and Cillian, and his dog, Manchee. Prentisstown is the only settlement left from when the settlers arrived on the New World. But just 30 days before Todd's 13th birthday (the one that means he's a "Man"), something happens on his walk through the swamp. Something that causes him to go on the run from everyone and everything he has ever known. And, boy is his world turned upside down!

That's about all I can say about this book without giving away any part of the plot. And I think going in blind is the best possible way to read this book. Now...on to what *I* thought of it:

I had to give myself a day or two's time to let the story sink in before I could write this review.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
With a very original concept, dynamic characters, and tons of suspense Patrick Ness really gets this one just right. I'd recommend this to any young adult reader and many adults.
Published 4 days ago by flipydog7
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book and trilogy
I love this book and trilogy. It truly is amazing book to read, it's full of action, and it is heart stopping!! A must read!!!!!!!!!!!!
Published 5 days ago by saso
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark but intriguing.
Dark but intriguing. I'm not sure what are group this is pitched at but it's got some pretty dark themes. The mystery of what happened in the past is carefully teased throughout.
Published 5 days ago by Steve James
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling novel
This novel is a teen science fiction novel about a boy named Todd and his dog named Manchee. In the town of Prentisstown where he lives there is a disease. Read more
Published 17 days ago by kaylee
5.0 out of 5 stars Mars vs Venus amped
I really love the themes played in this's like the old man trying to understand women conundrum taken to the while next level. It's Sci Fi but very character driven. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I felt as beaten up as Todd by the end of the book....
Wow. I can't believe I actually finished this book. I put it down time and again, vowing to never pick it up. And then I did and soldiered on.

My problem with the book? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barb Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars One of new favorite book series!!
One of the best books I've read in a loooong time! Stayed up til 4am to finish it! The tone is dark, the plot gripping, and the fact that the main characters only being 12/13 years... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cassidy Ostergren
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
The Knife of Never Letting Go is about a boy named Todd Hewitt, who will soon be a man. Todd lives in a world, New World, where all men can hear the noise of other men, which is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Krystianna Straley
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to New World, land of hope.
I'm not sure how I feel about this book, but I reckon if I waited until tomorrow to review it I would maybe give it 4 stars. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! I am not much of a reader... like at all, but I loved...
Very good book! My Advanced English teacher recommended this book for me and it was riveting, suspenseful, and made me stay up late at night. I for one am also not a book reader. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nathan Erickson
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

As a child
I was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. My father was a drill sergeant in the US Army, but much nicer than that makes him seem. I only stayed at Fort Belvoir for the first four months of my life and have never even been back to the East Coast of America. We moved to Hawaii, where I lived until I was almost six. I went to kindergarten there, and we used to have field trips down to Waikiki Beach. I once picked up a living sea urchin and got about a hundred needle pricks in the palm of my hand. I made up stories all the time as a kid, though I was usually too embarrassed to show them to anybody.

As an adult
I've only ever really wanted to be a writer. I studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and when I graduated, I got a job as a corporate writer at a cable company in Los Angeles, writing manuals and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival. I got my first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on my first novel, The Crash of Hennington, when I moved to London in 1999. I've lived here ever since. I taught Creative Writing at Oxford University for three years, usually to students older than I was.

As an artist
So far, I've published two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I Know Nothing, a title which seemed funny at the time but less so 10,000 mentions later... Here's a helpful hint if you want to be a writer: When I'm working on a first draft, all I write is 1000 words a day, which isn't that much (I started out with 300, then moved up to 500, now I can do 1000 easy). And if I write my 1000 words, I'm done for the day, even if it only took an hour (it usually takes more, of course, but not always). Novels are anywhere from 60,000 words on up, so it's possible that just sixty days later you might have a whole first draft. The Knife of Never Letting Go is 112,900 words and took about seven months to get a good first draft. Lots of rewrites followed. That's the fun part, where the book really starts to come together just exactly how you see it, the part where you feel like a real writer.

Things you didn't know about Patrick Ness
1. I have a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. I have run two marathons.
3. I am a certified scuba diver.
4. I wrote a radio comedy about vampires.
5. I have never been to New York City but...
6. I have been to Sydney, Auckland and Tokyo.
7. I was accepted into film school but turned it down to study writing.
8. I was a goth as a teenager (well, as much of a goth as you could be in Tacoma, Washington and still have to go to church every Sunday).
9. I am no longer a goth.
10. Under no circumstances will I eat onions.


Patrick Ness is the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Book One of the trilogy, won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. The Ask and The Answer, the second book in the trilogy won the Costa Children's Book Award 2009. The third book, Monsters of Men, is released in September 2010.

He has also written a novel (The Crash of Hennington) and a short story collection (Topics About Which I Know Nothing) for adults, has taught Creative Writing at Oxford University, and is a literary critic for the Guardian. Born in Virginia, he lives in London.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category