Matthew Skelton was born in England and grew up in Canada. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature from Oxford University. Endymion Spring is his first novel.
Gr 4-7-In 1452, a young printer's devil toils for his master, Herr Gutenberg, who is in the process of printing a Bible. On a suitably dark and cold night, sinister Johann Fust arrives at Gutenberg's shop with a mysterious wooden chest decorated with dragons and serpents' heads. In a parallel story set at Saint James College in Oxford in the present day, Blake, a professor's son, discovers a wordless book with the title Endymion Spring, which was the printer's devil's name. The present-day narrative and the story of Endymion Spring cleverly intertwine as Blake discovers that the book is the key to all of the world's knowledge. As Endymion lies hidden in Gutenberg's shop one night, Fust opens the wooden chest and, because of what Endymion learns, he is forced to flee. In an incredibly effective action scene, he eludes capture. Back in the present, Blake and his sister, Duck, find themselves pursued by a mysterious "Person in Shadow" and discover, as it leads them into the depths of the Bodleian Library, that Endymion Spring's book has a mind of its own. Even if the promise of the clearly intriguing premise is not quite fulfilled, this book is certain to reach an audience looking for a page-turner, and it just might motivate readers to explore the true facts behind the fiction.-Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
An enchanted blank book-one that reveals its secrets, but "only for those with eyes to see them"-lies at the center of Skelton's ambitious first novel, which unfolds through two alternating narratives. The first, set in the present, follows young Blake, whose mother is a visiting academic at Oxford. One day he runs his finger across the spines of some books in the Bodleian Library, and one volume "[strikes] him back." The book's title, "Endymion Spring," begins to appear before his eyes, and he opens the cover only to find the contents blank-save for a riddle-like poem. The second thread of the tale, set in 15th-century Germany, is narrated by Endymion Spring, a boy serving as apprentice to the great Gutenberg, who is hard at work on his printing press. Gutenberg, eager for money to fund his Bible-printing project, strikes a deal with the "ruthless" Fust, who travels with a locked chest, adorned with gruesome imagery. Its hidden treasure represents a mystery with ties to both Blake's blank book and to Eden. With it, Fust seeks to create a book that will contain "all the secrets of the universe." Skelton's fiction breathes excitement into real history, as he exploits the fact that Johann Fust, Gutenberg's real-life patron, has been identified with Faust (as explained to Blake by a professor and to readers in an endnote). Riddles galore, a great cliffhanger and a film deal with Warner Bros. should generate plenty of excitement for this literary thriller; book lovers in particular will savor its palpable whiff of musty shelves and dusty volumes. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Wonderfully engaging, even addictive."-Kirkus Reviews,
"Riddles galore, [and] a great cliffhanger should generate plenty of excitement for this literary thriller."-Publishers Weekly, Starred