Listen.. Can you hear the thunder of ghostly hooves? The Demon Huntsman has come to claim his prey. Who would dare go outdoors on All Souls’ Eve knowing he’s on the prowl?
From the Publisher
Now in paperback, a spooky and funny middle-grade thriller from the author of The Golden Compass.
The deft performances of a roster of very talented British actors, led by Thurley, revive for listeners Pullman’s diverting gothic thriller first published in Britain in 1982 (and in the U.S. In 1998). Set in a Swiss village in 1816, Pullman’s humorous, suspenseful tale of Karlstein’s evil plan to trade the young orphaned nieces in his care to save his own soul and his riches proves a thoroughly engaging listen, harnessing all the best elements of Radio Theater. In character as Hildi, the plucky maidservant at Castle Karlstein, Thurley serves as chief narrator, introducing the color, detail and relationships behind the scenes of all the intrigue. Action, adventure, laughs and the crisp vocal gymnastics here will keep listeners on the edge of their seats from one track to the next. Ages 8-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Originally published in Britain in 1982, Pullman’s light-hearted debut effort appears in the U.S. For the first time. A welcome diversion for fans impatiently awaiting the final installation of the trilogy begun with The Golden Compass, this novel–though lacking the more serious underpinnings of the author’s later books–showcases the boisterous narrative style that fans will recognize as an established element of Pullman’s repertoire. Set in a Swiss village in 1816, the story revolves around wicked Count Karlstein, his two wards–the English orphans Lucy and Charlotte–and the nasty bargain Karlstein has struck with Zamiel, the Demon Huntsman, a supernatural being who annually haunts the local woods on All Souls’ Eve. Pullman adds further zest to the mix with the appearance of characters like the orphans’ former schoolteacher, the indomitable Augusta Davenport (‘I was able to console myself with the reflection that an English gentlewoman can rise above any circumstances, given intelligence and a loaded pistol’), and the actor and sometime swindler known as Doctor Cadavarezzi (aka Signor Brilliantini), a mountebank as charming as he is sly. Briskly narrated in a variety of voices, including those of Lucy (influenced by such contemporary gothic novels as The Mysteries of Udolpho) and the bumbling, hilariously self-important police sergeant Snitsch, the plot undergoes a series of twists and turns too complicated–not to mention delightfully improbable–to delineate here. In an exuberant conclusion worthy of the best of comic operas, the orphans find a true protector, the evil Count is served his just deserts and the formidable Miss Davenport is reunited with her long-lost love. Dashing, sparkling and wildly over-the-top fun. Ages 8-13. (July)
Set in Switzerland in a time long ago, Hildi, maid at the castle of the evil Count, overhears a plot to sacrifice the Count’s two nieces to the demon huntsman in return for a rich and long life. As All Soul’s Eve approaches, Hildi wonders how can she protect them and who can she trust to help her. A gripping adventure, rich with fantasy and humor, this tale will be enjoyed by middle school readers. Parts of the story are told from the perspectives of the unique characters; each chapter is also embellished with their silhouettes.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Philip Pullman’s dark and humorous tale (Knopf, 1998) is set in 1816 in a small Swedish village named for its richest resident, Count Karlstein. Two young orphan girls, Charlotte and Lucy, must find a way to outwit the conniving and evil Count who is also their uncle. Hildi, a young girl who works as a maid in Castle Karlstein, overhears the Count discussing his deal with Zamiel, the Demon Huntsman, to sell the souls of