January/February 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“An exciting, adventurous mystery and a touching story about family, memory, and trust — it will take you on a wild ride through a bustling, strange city full of secrets and danger with an amazing main character you’ll love from the start.”
— Alissa Hugel, Folio Books, San Francisco, CA
An ancient myth looms over a powerful new friendship in this debut middle grade fantasy packed with Hugo Cabret charm.
The City is the only home that Ellie has ever known. She’s always been told that there is nothing to see beyond the shores of her small, salty island.
That is, until a mysterious boy washes in with the tide, trapped inside the belly of a whale.
The citizens of the City believe he’s ruled by the Enemy—the legendary god who drowned the whole world—come again to cause untold chaos. Only Ellie believes that the boy is innocent.
To save him, Ellie must prove that he’s not who they think he is—even if that means revealing her own dangerous secret.
Fans of Wildwood and The Mysterious Benedict Society will be enthralled by this inventive and adventurous take on a modern classic.
About the Author
Struan Murray is Scottish and grew up in Edinburgh, the youngest of a large, rowdy family of redheads. He has a PhD in genetics and is now a lecturer in biochemistry at the University of Oxford. Visit him online at www.struanmurray.com.
"Vivid characters, a breathtaking story, and the promise of a sequel all come together in this alluring middle-grade fantasy." — Booklist
"Murray expertly parses out pieces of world building alongside foreshadowing for his multiple story-shattering plot twists, making this one hard to put down." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Murray weaves an ambitious tale of paranoia, religious zealotry, and adventure. A strong sense of unexplored history combined with the dynamic characters and atmosphere offers potential for further exploration, and readers will enjoy Ellie’s struggle to protect her friends and home." — Publishers Weekly
"A psychologically intricate, steampunk-infused tale that will please adventure-lovers as well." — Horn Book Magazine
"The pace never slacks in this page-turning adventure, with well-crafted twists and secrets. Murray’s prose is descriptive and vivid; kids will think they are in Ellie’s workshop, piled high with crab catchers, broken machines, books, notes, and unidentified items."
— School Library Journal