The Book of Lost Things: A Novel
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'Once upon a time, there was a boy who lost his mother ...' As twelve-year-old David takes refuge from his grief in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother, he finds the real world and the fantasy world begin to blend. That is when bad things start to happen. That is when the Crooked Man comes. And David is violently propelled into a land populated by heroes, wolves and monsters in his quest to find the legendary Book of Lost Things.
suitable site for an air-raid shelter, if they decided it should ever become necessary, but so far he had managed only to pile sandbags and sheets of corrugated iron in the garden shed, much to the annoyance of Mr. Briggs, who now had to navigate his way around them every time he wanted to reach his tools. The sunken garden became David’s own place outside the house, especially when he wanted to get away from the whispering of the books or from Rose’s well-intentioned but unwelcome intrusions
thorns, which every year became higher, and at last grew close up around the castle and all over it, so that there was nothing of it to be seen, not even the flag upon the roof. But the story of the beautiful sleeping “Briar-rose,” for so the princess was named, went about the country, so that from time to time kings’ sons came and tried to get through the thorny hedge into the castle. But they found it impossible, for the thorns held fast together, as if they had hands, and the youths were
by-your-leave. She devoured an entire loaf of bread, and half a block of very smelly cheese. She drank tankard after tankard of the ale the dwarfs brewed in their shed, and polished it all off with two chunks of fruitcake baked by Brother Number One, although she complained when a raisin chipped one of her teeth. “I told you it was a bit dry,” whispered Brother Number Two to Brother Number One. Brother Number One just scowled. Once there was nothing left to eat, Snow White staggered from the
suns, hung from his saddle. He pulled his horse up when he was alongside David and looked down at the boy. He reminded David of the Woodsman, because there was something similar about the horseman’s face. Like the Woodsman, he looked both serious and kind. “And where are you going, young man?” he asked David. “I’m going to see the king,” said David. “The king?” The horseman did not look very impressed. “What use would the king be to anyone?” “I’m trying to return home. I was told that the
it fell to the ground as its belly began to swell. David could see movement inside. A shape pressed itself against the Beast’s skin from within. She. The Crooked Man had said the Beast was a female. “It’s giving birth!” shouted David. “You have to kill it now!” It was too late. The Beast’s belly split open with a great ripping sound, and her offspring began to pour out, miniatures of herself, each as big as David, their eyes clouded and unseeing but their jaws gaping and hungry for food. Some