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The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
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The Rook (2012)

by Daniel O'Malley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Checquy Files (1)

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English (84)  German (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Myfanwy Thomas wakes up with no memory of who she is and a letter in her pocket instructing her to choose to take a bunch of money and run or stay put and try to take over the job she had before the attack of amnesia. The job? Administrator in a secret society that polices the supernatural population in Britain. She opts to stay put.

The resulting novel is humorous, inventive, and fast-paced, and focuses on Myfanwy's growth into a new person and the concept of memory just as much as on the plotty supernatural stuff. The story is also remarkable for focusing on multiple female characters and their interactions with one another, something that is often lacking in books of this genre.

Several members of my book club loved this, and a few of the women who usually don't like sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction said they enjoyed this much more than other things of this genre they've read. I feel like I should have enjoyed the book more than I did. I had nothing against it, no particular complaints, or bugaboos, or dislikes. I dunno. It just didn't roll my socks. ( )
  lycomayflower | May 8, 2015 |
Loved this book!! Myfanwy Thomas is a terrific heroine. At the start of the book she finds herself in the rain, with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her. She learns that her former self was meek and scared and not well respected. The new Myfanwy steps into that life and kicks ass. Wouldn't you love to just ignore what everyone thought of you yesterday and be the person you are today without worrying? I would and Myfanwy did and I am sad that my time with her is up. I will just have to read this book again soon to remind myself that you are who you are and not what people think of you. ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
There has been a lot of good talk in LT about this book, so I finally read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it too. A strong central female character and interesting plot. Set in UK and written by an Australian, there were a couple of points where characters say something that a Brit wouldn't say but they were minor and didn't distract from the enjoyment. I'll be reading the next book and that's a big recommendation. ( )
  infjsarah | Apr 25, 2015 |
This fantasy book was the best fantasy I’ve read since Harry Potter. It’s the kind of book that makes you sad because it ends. It’s the kind of book that keeps you up reading at night. The top secret agency is the type of place I could see Professor McGonagall working, except that once you are in the agency, you never leave and she doesn’t have a superpower necessary to work at the Agency. The book is aimed at adults but I can see young adults enjoying this book just as much as an adult. The concept of the Rook (one of the leaders of this British agency that fights the evil supernatural lurking in the world) losing her memory and having the foresight to write everything she knows for the clueless body that used to be her is at the center of this story. O’Malley may be working for the Australian government now writing press releases, but I’m waiting for the sequel to THE ROOK so please keep writing fiction, Mr. O’Malley. I’m not a James Bond fan, but this magical adventure into saving the world from evil is certainly James Bondish—Not that I think The Rook would fall for him. ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 14, 2015 |
One of the more imaginative books I've read in some time. Always like the plot that begins with someone loosing their memory. The Checquy and the Court with its structure of King, Queen and the rest of the chess pieces was brilliant. A thoroughly enjoyable read. ( )
  skraft001 | Apr 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
I became intrigued by Daniel O’Malley’s debut novel, The Rook, when Time book critic Lev Grossman raved, more than a month before the book’s release, that “this aging, jaded, attention-deficit-disordered critic was blown away.”

Indeed, The Rook is great, rattling fun, as if Neil Gaiman took Buffy the Vampire Slayer and crossed it with Torchwood.

It starts with a bang: Myfanwy Thomas awakens in a rainy London park, surrounded by a ring of dead bodies, all wearing latex gloves. She has no idea how she or the corpses got there. In fact, she doesn’t even know that she’s Myfanwy Thomas, because she is suffering from amnesia and remembers nothing about herself.

Myfanwy is a Rook, a junior-level member of the Court, an elite group of eight super-powered intelligence agents. The Court runs the Checquy Group, a British agency on Her Majesty’s Hyper-Secret Service, so powerful that it makes MI6 look lame. In fact, Myfanwy learns, “The Court answers to the highest individuals in the land only, and not always to them.”

Myfanwy discovers everything about herself from a dossier entrusted to her by “the original Myfanwy Thomas,” the person she was before she lost her memory. Her amnesia was no accident: One of her mysterious colleagues on the Court, she learns, is a traitor who wiped her memory and now wants her dead.

In the meantime, Myfanwy must step back into her own life and relearn everything about being Rook Thomas, all without anyone finding out what has happened to her. Her own life is anything but normal, because the Checquy Group is always on the lookout for monsters. One can never be too vigilant, since “Checquy statistics indicate that 15 percent of all men in hats are concealing horns.”

Thanks to the Checquy, Britons are blissfully unaware that supernatural forces constantly threaten the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. (The Checquy’s American counterpart is called the Croatoan, a little in-joke that is never explained but which students of American history will immediately get.) The worst of these threats to the U.K. are the Grafters, who come from Belgium, a mild-mannered nation that O’Malley manages to render extremely sinister.

Throughout a rip-roaring narrative, O’Malley off-handedly weaves deadpan humor. As a Rook, Myfanwy is more paper-pusher than field agent, and her job lacks glamour: “There’s a reason that there’s no TV show called CSI: Forensic Accounting.” She always gets stuck with tasks like “figuring out why the hell a two-door wardrobe in the spare room of a country house is considered to be a matter of national concern.”

But crises loom, duty calls, and Myfanwy soon finds herself using her own superpower to battle horrid Belgian monsters — at least whenever she isn’t “laboriously penning formal invitations to the members of the Court to come dine at the Rookery tonight before observing the unbelievably magical amazingness of the United Kingdom’s only oracular duck.

“Of course, I couched it all in slightly more impressive terms.”
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel O'Malleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duerden, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Het lichaam dat je draagt was ooit van mij.
Dedication
For my father, Bill O'Malley, who read to me at bedtime,
and my mother, Jeanne O'Malley, who read to me the rest of the time.
First words
Dear You,
The body you are wearing used to be mine.
She stood shivering in the rain, watching the words on the letter dissolve under the downpour.
Quotations
According to Thomas, the city had once been a veritable hotbed of manifestations, with every sorcerer, bunyip, golem, goblin, pict, pixie, demon, thylacine, gorgon, moron, cult, scum, mummy, rummy, groke, sphinx, minx, muse, flagellant, diva, reaver, weaver, reaper, scabbarder, scabmettler, dwarf, midget, little person, leprechaun, marshwiggle, totem, soothsayer, truthsayer, hatter, hattifattener, imp, panwere, mothman, shaman, flukeman, warlock, morlock, poltergeist, zeitgeist, elemental, banshee, manshee, lycanthrope, lichenthrope, sprite, wighte, aufwader, harpy, silkie, kelpie, klepto, specter, mutant, cyborg, blrog, troll ogre, cat in shoes, dog in a hat, psychic, and psychotic seemingly having decided that THIS was the hot spot to visit.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
"Dear You:
The body you are wearing used to be mine."


So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies — all wearing latex gloves. With no memory of who she is or how she got there, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and escape those who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in the Checquy, a secret government agency that protects the world against supernatural threats — from sentient fungus to stampeding ectoplasm — while keeping the populace in the dark. But now there is a mole on the inside, and this person wants Myfanwy dead.

In her quest to save herself and unmask the traitor, Myfanwy will encounter a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she could ever have imagined. And she must learn to harness her own rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability.

Suspenseful and hilarious — "Harry Potter meets Ghostbusters meets War of the WorldsThe Rook is an outrageously inventive debut novel for readers who like their espionage with a dollop of purple slime, or their supernatural thrillers with an agenda and a pencil skirt.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316098795, Hardcover)

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A high-ranking member of a secret organization that battles supernatural forces wakes up in a London park with no memory, no idea who she is, and with a letter that provides instructions to help her uncover a far-reaching conspiracy.

» see all 3 descriptions

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