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The Shadow Hunt Hardcover – June 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061116769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061116766
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,519,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–8—In this medieval fantasy, Wolf runs away from a monastery after years of mistreatment by his master, Brother Thomas. As he's fleeing across Welsh moors inhabited by ghosts and demons, he comes across a girl elfchild being chased by a pack of hunters' dogs. Wolf captures her and offers her to Lord Hugo, the head hunter. Lord Hugo is obsessed with the idea that his dead wife is actually alive and being held by the Demon Lord of the Underground, and he is convinced that the elfchild can lead him to her. He allows Wolf to accompany him home on the condition that Wolf make the mute elfchild speak. Nest, Lord Hugo's daughter, is soon to marry a man she's rarely seen but been betrothed to since she was five. To Wolf's horror, her fiancé arrives with Brother Thomas, who is furious to see him. In revenge, Wolf and Halewyn, a visiting jester, make a fool of the man, but Nest doesn't trust Halewyn. She suspects he's a demon in disguise, determined to lure her father underground in search of his dead wife. Can she and Wolf save Lord Hugo and the elfchild? This atmospheric story, set in a land inhabited by terrifying and benign magical creatures, combines fast-paced action with sensitive insights into the characters' inner fears and desires. Supernatural fantasy fans will enjoy this tale that effectively explores magic, mystery, and the struggle between good and evil.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Thirteen-year-old Wolf is running away from the abbey where he was raised when he unexpectedly meets renowned knight Sir Hugo. Together, they capture a mysterious elf-child and return to Hugo's castle, where Wolf will be allowed to stay—if he gets the elf-child to speak. There, Wolf meets Nest, Hugo's 13-year-old daughter, who is dreading her arranged marriage and has her own reasons for helping the outcast elf-child. As Wolf and Nest grow more attached to the elfin youngster, whom they name Elfgift, Hugo's motivations for prompting Elfgift's speech become increasingly clear and unsettling. The arrival of a strange traveling jester to the castle ultimately leads to consequences for all in a darkly dramatic, intense denouement above and below the shadowy, mystical moors of Devil's Edge. In this medieval fantasy, Langrish, author of the Troll Trilogy books, provides a vividly rendered, engrossing tale. Epic themes—good and evil, faith and doubt, sin and redemption—are made personal and poignant through the losses and longings of the notably well-drawn, dimensional main characters, who seek meaning in a chaotic world where all is not what it seems. The diverse supporting characters, both human and supernatural, as well as the richly descriptive prose and imagined settings further enhance this sometimes provocative, beautifully wrought British import that illustrates the power of compassion and storytelling, for characters and readers alike. Grades 6-9. --Shelle Rosenfeld

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nick Green on March 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Katherine Langrish writes a wildly original kind of fantasy - the kind in which you entirely forget that any of it is made up. As in West of the Moon (also known as the Troll trilogy), the world of The Shadow Hunt rests on the simple premise that ancient myths are true. By taking folklore at face value, it conjures a world in which people live side by side with ghosts, elves and hearth-hobs, (almost) without batting an eyelid.

Nor does this author do traditional heroes. Former crusader Sir Hugo, though not nearly as ruthless as the psychotic Harald in Troll Blood, is strongly hinted to be far from the perfect knight, with countless innocent deaths on his conscience. No, the `hero' here is actually Wolf, a 13-year-old boy who's extraordinary by his very ordinariness, and a lack of any obvious `heroic' traits - apart from the one that proves to be all that matters: a good heart.

There's also a terrific heroine in the form of Nest (`Don't call me Lady Agnes'), another wholly realistic teenager trapped in a world that has nothing to offer her. Living in dread of her imminent arranged marriage, she proves that a strong female character doesn't have to be a bow-wielding violent action heroine. In fact my favourite scene in the whole book is where Nest turns on her oppressors with a ferocious blast of medieval feminism that should have everyone, girl or boy, cheering.

The setting is just a dream - sometimes a fevered dream - an astonishingly vivid wild British landscape, in which the sound of a light wind might be the Devil's hunting horn, or a patter of stones the feet of spectral hounds on your scent. But if the aptly-titled The Shadow Hunt makes the supernatural almost commonplace, then the real mystery and magic comes from very human troubles and questions.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Lee on August 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a mother who screens everything her 11-year-old daughter reads, I tend to be bemused when I sometimes see Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" categorised under "Children's Literature." Monks in medieval times are not kid-friendly reading material, in my experience! Happily, Katherine Langraish proved me wrong with "The Shadow Hunt." Formerly published as "Death Edge" (I think) and, later, "Dark Angels" (See how dark those titles are! But Langrish is no John Connolly!), "The Shadow Hunt" is charming and irreverent in parts, very much like "The Troll Trilogy" series, also written by Langrish. I laughed out loud within the first few pages, and couldn't wait to let said daughter have a go at it. In her words:

"The book, 'The Shadow Hunt' by Katherine Langrish was awesomely good.

"When Wolf decides to run away from his monastery, he meets an elf child and takes her to Lord Hugo in hopes that her would be made the Lord's squire. There, Wolf must teach Elfgift (the elf child) to speak or else. However, Hugo's daughter, Nest, willingly helps Wolf and they all soon become the best of friends. That is, until Lord Godfrey, Nest's fiance, and Brother Thomas, the evil monk who had been Wolf's master till he ran away, show up for Nest's wedding. However, when Halewyn, a new jongleur, arrives, things take a turn for the worst. The White Lady, the resident ghost, is vanquished, along with the land's luck, and Hugo elfnapps Elfgift to give her to the Devil in exchange for his wife, and, in the end, two men die.

"I thought the book was great and I would recommend it to any middle-schooler. I would give it a toal of 21 stars: five stars just for the characters, five stars for the plot, five stars for the wording but three stars for the cover because it did not have Elfgift in it."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Celia Rees on September 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Katherine Langrish is that rare writer who can combine history and fantasy into a supremely credible, carefully crafted story, peopled by well rounded, believable characters that the reader can really care about. Her extensive knowledge and meticulous research are exceptional, and give The Shadow Hunt real depth, but she never allows this to get in the way of her story, which grips from the very first page. She takes the reader into a world significantly different from ours, to a time when fantasy and reality were thinly separated. Her attention to detail of place, weather and atmosphere makes sure that the world she creates is absolutely believable while remaining intriguingly different. Fantasy at its best.
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Format: Hardcover
I hadn't read any of Katherine Langrish's novels before and felt some trepidation as I'm often sceptical about fantasy novels. This, I thought, was outstanding as it kept such a beautifully judged balance between tangible reality and fantastical imaginings. Some of the atmospheric effects were breathtaking -- and wild nature IS breathtaking. There was also a kindliness and an individuality in the presentation of many of the characters, even minor characters like the old priest and his speechless wife, the man-at-arms scarred by his experience at the Crusades. Like other reviewers I also loved Elfgift and the Hob spirit. Shall certainly be reading more by this author. (And she's not just for children!)
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More About the Author

Katherine Langrish grew up in Yorkshire, England and has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. She graduated from London University with a degree in English, and worked in an assortment of odd jobs including waitressing, teaching riding, and several years as Information Officer for Lloyd's Register of Ships in London. This last was an entertaining post dealing with an assortment of the ship-crazed public, including a man who claimed he could see shipwrecks with his 'magic eye.'

Married with two daughters, Katherine moved to France with her family and became involved in a storytelling group providing weekly stories, drama and activities for children. And the storytelling continued when the family relocated again, this time to the small town of Corning in New York State.

Returning to England in 1999, Katherine began writing 'Troll Fell', a folklore-based fantasy novel for children set in the Viking age. It was sold at auction to HarperCollins for a six-figure sum and was followed by the sequels, 'Troll Mill' and 'Troll Blood'. The books follow the fortunes of young Peer Ulfsson and his friend Hilde in a richly-imagined Scandinavian world. Katherine says, 'I don't do heroes with swords, rings and other magical gadgets, so my characters have to work out their problems by their own efforts.' The final book in the series takes the pair across the Atlantic in a Viking ship to the coasts of 'Vinland' (Nova Scotia). As part of her research she spent time learning to sail a replica Viking ship on Roskilde fjord, Denmark. Katherine approaches her fantasies as 'history with the beliefs put back in' - incorporating the beliefs of people of the past who took for granted the existence of trolls, ghosts, and other spirits.

Her fourth book for HarperCollins is a medieval fantasy called 'The Shadow Hunt' (UK title 'Dark Angels') which has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Choice (Spring 2010), selected by Kirkus as one of the 2010 Best Books for Children, and nominated for the ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults 2011.

The three Troll titles will be republished in one volume in March 2011 under the title 'West of the Moon'. Katherine is currently working on a new dystopian fantasy. You can visit her website at www.katherinelangrish.com - and you can catch up with her at her weekly blog 'Seven Miles of Steel Thistles' (voted 4th of the United Kingdom's YA fantasy blogs) at www.steelthistles.blogspot.com

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