The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick, read by Derek Jacobi

Rating 9.0/10

A timeless tale told by an ageless actor.

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The Book of Dead Days audio-book coverThe days between 27 December and New Year’s Eve are dead days – days when spirits roam and magic shifts restlessly just beneath the surface of our everyday lives. There is a man, Valerian, whose time is running out, who must pay the price for the pact he made with evil so many years ago. His servant is Boy, a child with no name and no past; a child he treats with contempt, but who serves his master well and finds solace in the company of his only friend, Willow. Unknown to any of them, it is Boy who holds the key to their destiny.

Set in dark threatening cities and the frozen countryside in a distant time and place of the author’s making, ‘The Book of Dead Days’ conjures a spell-binding story of sorcery and desperate magic as Valerian, Boy and Willow battle to stop time and cling to life. Beautifully evoked, dramatic and emotionally powerful.

Derek Jacobi is wonderful narrator and already well-known in fantasy circles for his wonderful readings of JRR Tolkien‘s Farmer Giles of Ham, CS Lewis‘s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Kenneth Grahame‘s The Wind in the Willows to name but three.

In Marcus Sedgwick’s marvelously dark and atmospheric tale he has a story worthy of his talents. The major strength of this recording is in the way that Jacobi manages to bring this enduring tale to life – the sinister old European city setting is terrifically realistic and the magnificent characters make this an enchanting audio experience. You can almost smell the open sewers of the city.

From a book that is skilfully written comes an audio-book that is expertly read. The Book of Dead Days audio-book is a real must for those looking for a timeless tale told by an ageless actor.

Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent in 1968 and is an acclaimed children’s author and illustrator.

Sedgwick is renowned for the dark-themes that he incorporates into his young-adult novels. His first book Floodland was published in 2000, winning the Branford Boase Book Award for best debut children’s novel.

“I remember consciously thinking before I wrote it that the city was going to be a character, a gift for the gothic. It’s really beautiful, but rotting to pieces at the same time. The 18th century was when it was considered at its most beautiful but also at its most debauched.” Marcus Sedgwick: Venice and The Kiss of Death.

Sir Derek George Jacobi CBE is an English actor and film director, knighted in 1994 for his services to theatre. Like Laurence Olivier, he bears the distinction of holding two knighthoods, Danish and British. He is regarded to have one of the most outstanding speaking voices ever, with studied tonality and an exceptional elocution in drama.

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