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The Murdstone Trilogy

Mal Peet
Publisher: David Fickling Books
6th November 2014


comes a genre-bending, fantastical black comedy


In his first novel for David Fickling Books, Mal Peet has turned his attention to Fantasy and produced a tragic-comic tour-de-force; a Faustian tale of greed, celebrity and dark forces told with his inimitable wit, irony and exquisite prose.

The Murdstone Trilogy is the story of Philip Murdstone, a once-acclaimed writer whose career is on the skids. He is bullied and beguiled by his glamorous and ruthless agent, Minerva Cinch, into attempting a Sword-and-Sorcery fantasy epic. Philip can’t do it – it’s a genre he despises. He takes to drink, and in a magickal condition is visited by Pocket Wellfair, a creature from another realm. Pocket can provide Philip with what he needs, but is he Philip’s saviour or his Mephistopheles?

A trilogy and not a trilogy, a fantasy and not a fantasy, The Murdstone Trilogy not only features the most memorable cast of characters you will ever meet, it’s also one of the funniest, cleverest, most entertaining stories you’ll read this year.

Mal Peet has won The Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Fiction Prize & the Branford Boase Award


‘Mal Peet is like a master couturier – he stitches words together into exquisitely cut sentences.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Remarkably skilled.’ The Sunday Times
‘A gifted author who deserves the widest audience.’ The Independent
‘A major author.’ The Times
‘Mal Peet writes with an exquisite but unobtrusive touch.’ Wall St Journal
‘It takes a disciplined author to hide secrets within secrets and to create puzzles, codes and metaphors that will prise them open. Mal Peet shows both restraint and daring.’ New York Times, on Tamar
‘Brilliant – witty, super-smart, heartbreakingly generous.’ Patrick Ness, on Life: An Exploded Diagram
‘Quality writing at this level defies an age-range.’ Daily Mail

Mal Peet grew up in a working-class council estate in Norfolk. He became a class traitor by passing ‘the Scholarship’ and going to the ‘posh’ Paston Grammar School, where the main subjects were Patriotism, Xenophobia, Humiliation and Latin. (These experiences are ‘very slightly’ caricatured in his widely-acclaimed novel Life: an Exploded Diagram, which Mal describes as ‘an ironic blend of Romeo and Juliet and Lady Chatterley’s Lover set against the 1962 Cuban missile crisis’.)

After graduating from the University of Warwick with a ‘mysteriously acquired’ MA, he taught for a few years then took a gap year. After that, he took fifteen more. During this lengthy interval he worked variously and completely unsuccessfully as a tarmac-layer, grape-picker, builder, plumber, cartoonist and salesman.

‘I spent the better part of 20 years learning how to write, followed by the worse part of 20 years avoiding doing it.’

In the nick of time – 3 days before his fortieth birthday – Mal married Elspeth Graham, and together they spent a decade writing for educational publishers. Then Mal’s debut novel, Keeper, won the Branford Boase Award; it’s the first of a trio of ‘Paul Faustino’ novels set in South America; the third of the sequence, Exposure, was awarded the Guardian Prize. Tamar, in which a teenager discovers some ugly truths about her grandfather’s activities in Holland during WWII, won the Carnegie Medal in 2005. Mal has also collected a number of American and European awards.

Mal and Elspeth live in Exmouth, Devon, which Mal describes as ‘a pleasant seaside town seasonally populated by some of Martin Amis’ more unsavoury characters’.