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The Crowfield Curse Paperback – January 1, 2012

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Crowfield Curse
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; Reprint edition (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780545231039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545231039
  • ASIN: 0545231035
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Set in England in the winter of 1347, this suspenseful and spooky story will thrill readers who loved Joseph Delaney's "The Last Apprentice" series (HarperCollins). Fourteen-year-old William, whose family perished in a fire 18 months earlier, works as a servant at the local monastery in exchange for his room and board, meager as it is. While gathering firewood, he discovers a creature caught in a trap and saves its life. The hobgoblin tells him that he can only be seen by those with the Sight, a gift the boy did not know he possessed. As the hob recovers from his wounds, Will encounters a mystery that shakes him to his core. There is an angel secretly buried in the nearby woodlands, and a visitor to the abbey, a leper, is determined to find it. For reasons unclear to the boy, Mr. Bone insists that Will help accomplish this goal. With fascinating attention to detail and an edgy battle between evil and good, Walsh sweeps readers almost effortlessly into another time and place. By the close of the novel, they are hoping for more, and the ending suggests that more is to come. A time table of daily life in the abbey and a glossary of monastic terms are included.Kathy Kirchoefer, Prince Georges County Memorial Library System, New Carrollton, MD
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

William isn’t exactly happy with his life as a servant at Crowfield Abbey, but with his family dead in a fire, he knows he is lucky to have somewhere to lay his head. One day, as he is gathering wood in the forest, he comes upon a small creature caught in a trap. It’s a hob, and being able to see it is the first indication that things are about to mystically and magically change. Walsh’s debut, about a kind boy who becomes involved in a fey war, is straightforward enough, albeit dotted with evil curses, dead angels, and dark places. What sets this apart is how Walsh expertly mixes the fantastical with the humdrum necessities of medieval life. Readers will get a real sense of the backbreaking work required for existence (including one particularly eye-opening look at butchering a pig). A climactic scene does not disappoint, and those who may have guessed that Will’s adventures are just beginning won’t be let down. Grades 5-8. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Pat was born in Cobham,Kent,UK, and spent her early years in West Africa and Ireland, until her family eventually settled in Leicestershire. When she was nine years old, she decided she wanted to be an archaeologist in the mistaken belief that they spent their time digging up dinosaur bones. When she discovered what they actually did, and got over the disappointment of a life without dinosaurs,she never looked back. Pat went on her first dig at the age of twelve, and spent school holidays happily up to her ears in mud on sites in England and Scotland. Pat has spent most of her adult life working for archaeology units, and most recently worked as an archaeological illustrator for a commercial unit in Northamptonshire.

Pat's first book for children, The Crowfield Curse, was shorlisted for The Times/ Chicken House Prize, and for the Waterstone's Children's Prize. It was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Branford Boase award. The second book in the Crowfield series, The Crowfield Demon, was published in the UK 4th April 2011 and in the US in January 2012.

The Hob and the Deerman, the first in a new series (The Hob Tales) is now available on and


Brother Snail shares a little of his daily life in 'From the abbey to the Otherworld'.
You can find it here:

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
Fabulous writing, wonderful plot, terrific sense of wellbeing engendered at the end of the story.
As an adult I still enjoy a fresh creepy story from the YA genre from time to time ever since the last Harry Potter book ended.
Oh and does anybody know if the author is writing another one because It's SO GOOD there has to and should!
H. Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Crowfield Curse has already gotten attention from awards committees, and I can see why. It's the best depiction of a child's life in medieval Europe since Karen Cushman's books, as well as a powerful blending of historical fiction and fantasy.

The year is 1347, and 14-year-old William Paynel has lived at a poor abbey since his parents died, working odd jobs in return for scant room and board. What he doesn't know is that the abbey is keeping secrets--at least, not until Will ends up with a secret of his own. Will comes across a creature caught in a trap in the forest and frees it, then brings it to Brother Snail to heal. Only this isn't a fox or a squirrel; it's a hob, a creature of the fay. The hob, whom Brother Snail and Will call Brother Walter with gentle humor (since the fay cannot give their names), begins to trust his two rescuers and adapt to life at the abbey. Fortunately, none of the abbey's other inhabitants know he's there.

Walsh peoples her book with colorful and eerie characters, including an angry ex-soldier named Brother Martin who runs the kitchen and a canny woman from the village, Dame Alys, who goes about with a white crow on her shoulder. There is also a forbidding, haunted spot in the forest, Whistling Hollow.

As it turns out, the hob is only the first strange visitor to come to the abbey. Soon after his arrival, Master Bone and his odd servant arrive, paying handsomely for the privilege of rooms at the abbey. It seems there is something buried nearby, and the two have come looking for it.

The mystery deepens, with Will learning more than he ever thought he would about beings of darkness and light, about music and harm and healing of many kinds.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lindsey Miller on January 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
As I expected from the description, this turned out to be an interesting read. The placement of a fairy myth lore into a Christian context creates something different than the typical fairy fantasy. Also, understand that when I say fairy myth lore, I'm not necessarily referring to fairies specifically in the sense of little creatures with wings, but the fairy court, fay warriors and such.

In some ways it actually reminds me a lot of Tithe by Holly Black, but in my opinion is actually better because it's a lot less confusing and I'm not forced to employ so much willing suspension of disbelief in regards to character interaction. However, the main differences are the time periods and the target age group, plus Tithe is really a love story at it's core, whereas The Crowfield Curse is more of an adventure/mystery. Ultimately, it's a quick fun read, the ideas are somewhat original, and there's a nice little glossary of terms in the back to help grasp some of the jargon words related to the life in the Abbey to give a little education.

-Lindsey Miller, [...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SpirituallySpeaking on September 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been looking for a great fantasy/quest/mystery to fill the void left by the completion of the Harry Potter series. While The Crowfield Curse may not be great, it's definitely good. Although I'm an adult, I gravitate toward young adult fiction because regular adult fiction tends to be far to verbose and the authors get much too wrapped up in how fantastic their prose is instead of getting on with the story.

That's where this author shines. She give you the set up and immediately puts you into the action. In fact, there isn't a huge amout of discussion about Will, the principle character or any of the others for that fact. She gives you just enough and allows you to make up your own mind about the rest. Because of this, the book really clips along which makes it a fun and fast read.

The setting and set ups are unique and interesting. It's refreshing when you DON'T find a young adult fantasy these days that's about a young boy with magical powers who goes to study at a magical academy and is involved in a prophecy. Sound familiar? Luckily, this book is NOT a copy cat.

Walsh sets her story in a religious abbey/monastary, which carries its own element of spookiness, not to mention the enchanted wood that surrounds it. She fills the book with many interesting characters that are never clearly good or bad and keep you guessing.

There were certain references to religion and the Creator and I'm really curious to see where this "message" is going to go. I know where I'd like it to go, but that's not my business. I really liked the subtle combination of traditional dogma set against broader spritual philosophy and earthen magic. While the book didn't blow me away, it was certainly original enough and quite refreshing. Something about the characters, setting and set up kept hooking me in and I found myself getting more eager to finish it. That's a good sign for me and I hope it's a sign of more good things to come from Walsh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Once in a while, a book comes along that surprises you. I picked "The Crowfield Curse" up on a whim, being attracted to its stark cover-art and intriguing title, and it turns out to have been the best book-related choice I've made in months. A rich, unsettling atmosphere, imaginative use of old folktales and legends, a sweet, likeable protagonist, a fascinating central conceit - this book has it all.

After the death of his family in a fire, fourteen year old William Paynel goes to live at Crowfield Abbey. It's a hard life there, but Will knows that he's lucky to have daily meals and shelter; especially during the middle of winter in the year 1347. Surrounded by monks both strict and kindly, including hunchbacked Brother Snail and simple-minded Brother Peter, Will is more or less content with his lot in life.

But changes are on the horizon. The story begins when Will rescues a hob - that is, a strange fay-creature - from an iron trap and takes it back to Crowfield Abbey for healing, though he's careful to keep it a secret from the monks. He has heard several spooky stories about the dangers of the woods and knows that the monks would not look kindly on the presence of a fay in their domain, but the hob seems a benevolent creature who informs Will that he has the Sight.

Mysteries pile up upon mysteries. Two guests, Jacobus Bone and his manservant Shadlok have come to stay at the Abbey. It's a strange place to visit, but it soon becomes clear that they have a purpose in visiting the rundown old abbey in the middle of winter. They are looking for something, the secret of which has been guarded by the monks of Crowfield Abbey for generations, and Will might just be the key in finding it.
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