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Lych Way (The Undertaken Trilogy) Hardcover – February 25, 2014

10 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Undertaken Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Silas returns from Arvale, unaware that he has unleased an ancient and tormented spirit. The Lichport Undertaker must summon the power within himself, and be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice, in order to preserve all that he loves.

About the Author

Ari Berk is the author of the Undertaken trilogy and Nightsong, illustrated by Loren Long. He works in a library filled to the ceiling with thousands of arcane books and more than a few wondrous artifacts. When not writing, he moonlights as professor of mythology and folklore at Central Michigan University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and son. Visit him at

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: The Undertaken Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416991190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416991199
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Please visit Ari Berk on the web at:

Ari Berk is an award-winning writer, folklorist, poet, visual artist, and scholar of literature, iconography, and comparative myth. Deeply dedicated to interdisciplinary writing, teaching, and research, Dr. Berk holds degrees in Ancient History (B.A.), American Indian Studies (M.A.), and Comparative Literature and Culture (Ph.D.). The former student of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday, he has studied at Oxford and traveled widely, making friends in many parts of the world.

By day, he is professor of English at Central Michigan University, teaching courses in mythology, folklore, American Indian studies, and medieval literature, as well as sitting on the board of directors of the Mythic Imagination Institute.

But by night, locked away within a high tower, Ari works tirelessly on his numerous writing projects surrounded by thousands of books and curious artifacts of ages past. To date, he has written the following books which you are most welcome to investigate further:

DEATH WATCH [Book one of The Undertaken Trilogy]

They say the dead should rest in peace. Not all the dead agree.

One night, Silas Umber's father Amos never comes home from work. Devastated, Silas struggles to understand what could make an ordinary mortician disappear from the face of the earth. But he's about to learn that Amos was no mere mortician: he was the Undertaker of Lichport, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands and Mist Homes, those states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town and necropolis where they all were born, and move in with Amos's brother, Charles, the town's former funeral photographer.

Even while Silas eagerly explores his father's town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber's ornate, museum-like house--something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father's disappearance. Determined to find his father, Silas's search leads him to his father's old office, where he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead.

With the Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport's secret history--and discovers that he has inadvertently taken on his father's mantle as Lichport's Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father, no matter the cost.


THE SECRET HISTORIES(tm) Series (Templar UK/Candlewick US) - For thousands of years The Order of the Golden Quills have chronicled and collected knowledge and wisdom of The Huldur or Secret Folk, those races spoken of in legend, about whom little is now known. The Secret Histories(tm) books reveal the wonders and mysteries in the landscapes around us all the time -- the places whose stories are forgotten, or are still waiting to be discovered -- the places where Secret Folk still reside, waiting to shake hands with us again. The first two volumes are:
The Order of the Golden Quills presents its first volume of study on the mighty Giants. In this tome we discover the life of these titans and the work they have undertaken to shape our world. Explore their secrets, witness their fun... and their fury, and learn where to seek out the noble Great Folk... for they might be nearer than you think.
**Winner if the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) 2009 Notable Award.
**Winner of the Parent's Choice 2008 Recommended Award
A fascinating compendium investigating the undersea world of the merfolk exploring: oceanic magic, merfolk language and customs, underwater villages, historical evidence of merfolk and their unfortunate capture, maps of the oceanic zones and their various inhabitants, perilous creatures of the sea and how to avoid them, and remarkable revelations about merfolk/human relations.


COYOTE SPEAKS - WONDERS OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN WORLD (Abrams, 2008) - Myths, legends and wonder tales from the ancient Native American world to the present. Beautifully illustrated with masterworks of Native American art. Written with Carolyn Dunn (Creek/Cherokee).


HOW TO BE A VIKING (Templar UK 2008) -- The account of Ari the Learned, a 12th century Icelandic scholar, written for young and aspiring Vikings to help them navigate the perils and adventures of the Norse world. Lessons include translating and reading runes, skaldic speaking, calendar customs, and safely traversing the nine worlds while avoiding trolls, dragons, and giants!


LADY COTTINGTON'S PRESSED FAIRY LETTERS (Abrams 2005) - The recently discovered book of Lady Angelica Cottington's fairy correspondence. Includes letters from such worthies as J.M. Barrie, Rasputin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Wendy Darling, Oscar Wilde, Annie Oakley and others. Illustrated by Brian Froud.


GOBLINS! (Abrams 2004) - Berk and Froud once again join forces, lifting the moldy latch and opening the door to the world of GOBLINS! Containing Messrs. Berk and Froud's curious experiments and first hand knowledge, this is the single greatest source of information regarding the Goblins' horrible habits, awful art, sticky tricks, bizarre customs, and crude culture (illustrated by Brian Froud).


THE RUNES OF ELFLAND (Abrams 2003) - A single word can be a world and every letter a land. The word "rune," long ago, could be a letter, a word, an epic, or a spell. Through this book's charms (poems), tellings (stories), gifts (ponderings), and lavish illustrations (by Brian Froud) we learn that the right words can still open a door into Elfland, into wonder, and that storied landscapes are all around us, even now, waiting to be discovered.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Stefani on March 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Over the last few days I have spent many a joyous hour curled over the pages of Ari Berk’s latest creation, Lych Way. The book is well worth the read. My stomach tightened deliciously at the rich and often dark atmosphere as I was acutely drawn back into the world of Silas Umber - the Undertaker of Lichport. Then there were times that a lupus haze engulfed my imagination as I became fascinated by the rites of death and the grave from other cultures. In short, as always, Ari Berk’s writing is spellbinding.

I do not want to give away any juicy secrets from the book, so all I’ll say is that for anyone who has been awaiting the final installment of the Undertaker trilogy I promise you it is well worth the wait. I, for one, felt as if no time had passed between the closing of Mistle Child and the opening of Lych Way. Within three pages I was consumed by the story and I forgot anything that may have happened in between. Mr. Berk does a wonderful job at providing entertainment while also exploring the delicate dialogues that surround the nature of death, self-discovery, and the sacrifices that breathe life into the world. The Undertaker trilogy presents young readers with a hero who grows and matures with them and, therefore, a safe and exciting means to explore complicated ideas. But, the books are not just for young adults; the characters are woven together splendidly, as the faults and heroics of each person winds throughout the book(s). There is also a wide breadth of delightful detail pertaining to death lore and myth which are more than capable of keeping anyone entertained.

The rich and intricate tapestry of folklore, adventure, and just the right thread of spine tingling terror that began in Death watch is bound and brought together in a satisfying end to the tale of the Undertaker in the opening of Lych Way. Read it. Enjoy it. I know I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charles on May 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A spectacular conclusion to a splendid trilogy. I hope that the dead don't stay in the ground long and that there will be more adventures with Silas Umber in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.Taylor on May 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is not one sense that is not engaged in a book written by Ari Berk. You will smell the bogs and feel the cold, and sympathize with the walking dead. Lych Way is the third book in the Undertaken series, which began with "Death Watch" and followed by "Mistle Child". He tells the story of Silas Umber who takes over his father's occupation of walking stranded spirits back to the beyond. All of this of course happens in a town where death is a way of life, a town that is the center of a Lych Way, a crossroads for spirits. The locals depend on Silas to handle the job. This is rich, eery and unsettling writing, written by a man whose many interests come to bear on a hell of a good story. Book one is a must do if you haven't read it, while book two feels more like a book that gets us to book three. Lych Way is worth the time, which by the way may be your first lesson in Time as an illusion; a day can pass reading this book that you swore was only two hours long. J. Taylor,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Berman on June 29, 2015
Format: Paperback
And so, the trilogy ends as it began--brilliantly. The story in this volume follows traditional rules of structure, something that many writers ignore because they don't want to work that hard, and it wove two tales of redemption--Silas and Dolores--as deftly as the Moirae craft their tapestry. Without spoiling anything, I will say that the ending was quiet, something I had not expected but which made complete sense.

All three books were well worth the time spent reading them, even when I couldn't turn out the lights for several evenings, because Dr. Berk is a master storyteller. His attention to detail shows his reverence and deep understanding of mythology and history. In the end, we have not only been given the gift of a wonderful story, but he has gently taught us to become better readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Benson on June 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A wondrous and thought-provoking conclusion to an excellent trilogy.
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