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Ambergate Hardcover – February 7, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—A companion to Murkmere (Little, Brown, 2006), this gothic fantasy follows the story of Scuff, otherwise known as 102, an orphan who doesn't know if she ever had a real name. When soldiers come looking for her at the remote manor house where she works as a servant, the girl is certain it's for a crime she committed as a small child in the Capital. After escaping, she is aided by some and led astray by others until she finds herself mixed up in a plot to assassinate the son of the Lord Protector. The story is convoluted, with many characters floating in and out, and tends to bog down. Although the writing (particularly the dialect-spiced dialogue) is vivid, it is often difficult to understand the motivation driving many of the characters, including Scuff herself, who is blown by the winds of fate from one bad situation to another. Buy where Murkmere has been popular, but otherwise you can skip this rather turgid fantasy.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fans of Murkmere (2006) will enjoy this companion, which follows the orphan Scuff as she flees Murkmere after learning that soldiers of Protector's army are intent on hunting her down. Why the kitchen maid should merit such attention is the crux of the novel, though this element sometimes disappears as the tale twists through the marshes and dingy small towns and into the fear-ridden capital city. The novel can stand alone, though readers familiar with the previous book will have a better understanding of the religious and familial underpinnings that are so integral to the story. Elliott tries to do a bit too much here, this intensely detailed, haunting novel will draw in readers, as much with its romance as its mystery. A few of the characters are not well integrated into the whole, but the entire cast is exceptionally drawn, particularly Scuff; sometimes brave, often scared, always in trouble, she is a realistic heroine who will win readers' affection. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The story ended and I was sorry. The story ended and I remained motionless for a moment. Or was it an eternity? I could still hear the reverberation of that single gunshot; still feel the echo of muted footfalls; and, I could still feel the movement of the white swans’ wings overhead. I remained in the magic while the spell began to dissipate. The mystical was over, and I didn’t want it to be.
Patricia Elliott's novel "Ambergate" is a suspenseful tale of fascinating characters with the ability to capture you within moments. Growing up in Europe and the Far East, Elliott always had a creative spirit. She has spent her life around books, working in publishing, at bookstores, and finally as a college literature teacher. Her first novel "The Ice Boy" won many awards, followed closely by "Murkmere." The companion novel, "Ambergate" is full of potential.
The gothic mystery spins a tale of a young orphan without a name facing countless terrors. It is easy to fall in love with the characters Elliott weaves, as they become so complete in the imagination. The orphaned girl, living in a world we've never experienced before, is forced from the comfort of the place she has called home for so long. Facing the world alone, she is in constant terror of the soldiers from the capital finding her, as she committed a hideous crime in her past. Always in constant danger, she overcomes one obstacle after another.
The characters she encounters in her flight are unforgettable, as each is creatively portrayed. The tale dives into complexity as her journey moves on, but as detailed as the novel is, it is never anything but a pleasure to read. The storyline is always clear and never cluttered. Each sentence flows so perfectly, with simple, beautiful detail. Once Elliott's words have pulled you in, it is as though the world and characters she created are living and breathing. Close your eyes and you can hear the birds singing in the Wasteland, feel the sweep of swan feathers against your skin and smell the sweet fragrance of the wedding flowers...
"Ambergate" is a simply beautiful novel. Age is not a thing of concern once you have turned its first page, as it is perfect for anyone. "Ambergate" is an inspiring tale, filled with courageous characters that will touch any heart that dares to enter Elliott's world.
Book received free of charge.
Then Murkmere has some unexpected visitors from the Capital. The Lord Protector is seeking an orphan for reasons not entirely clear, though Scruff thinks it's herself. Anyone who has lived in a Home can be called back to work in return for the "debt" they owe the Home. However, children never receive wages; instead, all they get is pain and suffering through terrible living conditions and often at the hands of their supposed caregivers. The youngsters are branded with a number that identifies them and, in effect, stigmatizes them for life.
Desperate to save Murkmere and herself from danger, Scruff seeks Aggie's help in avoiding the police. Aggie hides the young maid in the Master's tower, but when the police return with some other unwanted guests, Scruff realizes she must leave Murkmere. In a harrowing escape, Scruff somehow ends up in the mysterious Wasteland, where she is cared for by a kindly gentleman named Gadd and his son Erland. Over time, Scruff develops a deep connection to Erland and eventually uncovers a strange secret, one that may include her own past.
There is another reason why Scruff is afraid of being captured: she committed a crime, though its nature isn't revealed until later in the novel. But the incident is innocent compared to the crimes of individuals with whom Scruff crosses paths throughout her journey. From the Eastern Edge to the streets of the Capital, old and new acquaintances, along with startling new revelations, make Scruff question everything as she tries to figure out who she really is and perhaps start a new life.
With complex, intriguing characters and suspense throughout, this sequel to Patricia Elliot's MURKMERE is a thrilling story that will surprise and satisfy readers.
--- Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle
government is chasing her isn't quite clear, but she knows they aren't after her to serve her tea and cookies oh, and it might have something to do with the terrible crime she committed a few years ago. With her number branded on her it isn't easy to hide. While Scuff is on the run it is revealed that the government seems to want her for other reasons including a strange prophecy. With its alluring mystery, bird-people and strange magic, this world will pull you in and leave you wanting more.