Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

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

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Murkmere Paperback – January 3, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$4.50 $0.14

50% off featured books
Select books are up to 50% off for a limited time. Learn More
Available from these sellers.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–A gothic novel set in a magical Britain. Aggie is a village teen who has gotten a position as a companion to Leah, a ward of the Master of Murkmere Hall. But, as she enters the estate, there are several bad portents from the Birds, which the people believe are divine beings. Once there, Aggie finds herself caught in an insular world of deceit, decay, and forbidden knowledge. Leah is a person whose mood varies from day to day. Their complicated and realistic relationship serves as an anchor for the novel, allowing readers to immerse themselves in this world. As Aggie continues to work in the manor, she realizes that everything she has been brought up to believe about books and religion may not be true. Her teacher aunt is involved in national politics, her suitor is not the slow village boy she thought him to be, and the suave man who hired her may be at the heart of the evil that surrounds her. This engaging, well-paced story is filled with believable characters who behave in a convincing manner. There is plenty of suspense, and readers will not be able to put the book down until they discover the fate of Leah and Aggie.–Tasha Saecker, Menasha Public Library, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. An outpost of the Ministration, a corrupt government that enforces a harsh avian-based theology to control its people, Murkmere manor is located on its country's bleak Eastern Edge. The manor presides over a dank and misted realm populated by oppressed villagers. Aggie, a young woman from the nearby village, is made to serve the manor as companion to its crippled master's ward, an ethereal young woman named Leah. While serving Leah, Aggie must learn to navigate Murkmere's halls, power structures, and menacing denizens--most notably Silas Seed, its perversely pious and slyly violent steward. When Leah finds a filthy, reeking swan skin in the swamps and keeps it as a prized possession, Aggie is forced to examine her own deeply held religious beliefs to determine whether this is an act of blasphemy or something else entirely. This moody and detail-rich story effectively combines elements of fantasy, religion, and politics. Most characters are not quite given their due, remaining stock and hard to reach, but the threatening atmosphere, eerie gothic-like setting, and suspenseful story arc will appeal to sophisticated fantasy readers. Holly Koelling
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (January 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316010448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316010443
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,430,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bluestalking Reader VINE VOICE on February 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is an example of how intelligent young adult fantasy can be, and should be a benchmark by which others in the genre are judged. It is completely intoxicating, and engaging to the point you let dinner burn on the stove as you can't bear to put it down! It is, as the saying goes, a "thumping good read."

Borrowing from the gothic tradition of literature, _Murkmere_ is a great brooding, dark sort of book. It's dark in the way _Wuthering Heights_ is, with the setting being as much a dominating force as any of the characters. It also reminds me of the wonderful Gormenghast series of books, to the extent I wonder if Elliott wasn't influenced by them. The imagery is just gorgeous, and allows even this jaded adult reader to completely lose all sense of the outside world while reading it.

The characters are brilliantly drawn and sympathetic from the start, and the use of myth and legend is done with just the right touch. Elliott writes with such a graceful flair, and never falls into the trap of being self-conscious. You can tell she believes in what she's writing, which makes the magic of it all absolutely take flight.

I read a fair amount in this area of fiction, and aside from the Harry Potter books and a few other gems I haven't found anything at all that's as completely consuming as this book. I can only hope Ms. Elliott keeps writing, and the more prolific she is the better! A brilliant book. If there were a higher than 5 star rating I would give it!
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was winter in the fenland when I first walked through the gates at Murkmere Hall, and immediately lost myself within the captivating atmospheric ether of my surroundings.

This first person narrative is haunting and surrounds British folklore superstition. In particular, the Devine Beings: Birds of Light (robin, wren, swallow, martin, lark) versus Birds of Night (crow, raven, jackdaw, magpie, owl).

Summoned to be a companion to the heir apparent of the manor, young Agnes Cotter finds there is more within the dark dankness that surrounds her than meets the eye. Leah, the master’s ward, to whom Agnes is companion, wants nothing to do with Agnes. In fact, she wants only to be in the mere with her swans.

History draped in the myth of the Avia, Murkmere is a captivating read. I was drawn to all the characters through the skillful manipulation of words by this author. I enjoyed it all, the storyline; the descriptive passages; the characters; the folklore, everything enthralled me.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Clouds hang low in the sky where I live. They seem to touch the flat brown fields around our village, and to shadow the broad backs of the horses pulling the plow.

From the opening sentence I was trapped in the dark, oppressing world Patricia Elliot so convincingly creates in Murkmere.

This is a world where the search for knowledge is severely punished and birds are worshiped as gods; their wishes, mysteriously translated by an inbreeding elite called the Ministration, used to submit the people. High above them, in the distant capital, the Lord Protector, divinely bound with the Eagle, the supreme of all Gods, rules uncontested.

Yet not everyone is content. Forbidden books are still read in hiding and the peasants, pushed to their limits by a brutal militia, are flirting with rebellion. But nothing threatens the established order more than the rumors about the avia. The avia, the legend claims, are the descendents of those who long ago dared to challenge the gods by flying. In punishment, they were forced to be trapped between two forms, bird and human, for ever.

Far from the capital, at the edge of the civilized world, lies Murkmere, a rural state that has been deteriorating since its Master became crippled in an accident following the death of his beloved wife in childbirth.

As the book begins Aggie, a girl from the nearby village, is called to the manor in Murkmere to be the companion of Leah, the Master's ward, a wild girl of fifteen, he plans to make his heir on her sixteenth birthday.

Like in so many classics of the gothic genre--the tale of a young girl coming to a decrepit old manor--the girl is the narrator of the story. But in this case, the choice of Aggie as the narrator is, in my opinion, a big mistake.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after I found out it was the official non-official first book before "Ambergate". It's a great read. Paperback. It did take awhile for delivery but arrived on time and in great condition.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Patricia Elliot makes a compelling YA fantasy out of old-fashioned elements: an old, decrepit mansion in the North Country with a crippled master and many mysteries, a petulant heiress to be brought out of her shell, and a good-hearted servant-girl protagonist. The quasi-18th century feel evokes the marvelous YA novels of Joan Aiken, to whom Elliot is a worthy successor.

But while the building blocks are almost Victorian, the putting-together has the sensibilities of modern fantasy as well. The setting is remsniscient of Cromwellian England, with the populace ruled by religious superstition and a harsh Ministration. The mysterious figures Aggie finds at _Murkmere_ are not merely hiding missing children or grieving widowers, but, shape-shifters and heterodoxy. Persecution, censorship, and religious dogmatism are all taken on as the plot moves toward more than just a story of frienship gained and trust won. In spite of its heroine Aggie's journey from obedient believer in authority to revolutionary, _Murkmere_ never comes close to didacticism or allegory. Aggie's personal journey is gradual and entirely her own: she does not immediately abandon the worldview she has been raised with. Elliot's treatment of religion is one of the high points of her world-building here. She creates an interesting set of doctrines, myths, and superstitions which for her world to interpret that approximate the function of the early-modern Church without being merely an imitation of Christianity. The very fact that this can be described as "a YA fantasy with themes of heterodoxy versus orthodoxy" would make it worthy of multiple stars.

Attention to character is what really distinguishes _Murkmere_ from the standard run of YA fantasy.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews