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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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» See also 131 mentions

English (99)  German (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
odd story but kept my interest; great narrator ( )
  Claudia.Anderson | Feb 7, 2016 |
Very good book. Enjoyed this book even though i did skim some of the long winded letters to herself. Still very enjoyable. ( )
  nraichlin | Jan 26, 2016 |
If you are a fan of the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde and haven’t grown tired of them, this book is for you. For me, a little goes a long way and this book was about 100 pages too long. It was a dogpile of what could out-weird those books. At first I thought it was a YA novel because there is but the thinnest veneer of emotion and characterization. All of Myfanwy’s reactions are shallow, steadfastly positive and so “right ho”. I mean, your consciousness wakes up with no memory in a body that isn’t yours and it’s like whatever. Pretty soon through a few scenes and some f-bombs it was clear this isn’t a YA book. The writing is a bit simple though and there were a few questionable things in it like a large condor (aren’t they all?), getting corporate mail first thing in the morning and a brimming glass of brandy (what? who pours this much brandy?) And there are unanswered questions throughout...like who is this new consciousness and what happened to her old body? But that’s par for the course with this book. All answers won’t necessarily be revealed.

At the core it’s a doppelganger tale. Myfanwy’s new consciousness has to fake her way through a very difficult and mysterious job; that of Rook for the Checquy. The Checquy is a covert operation dedicated to saving Britain from supernatural villains. Think Men in Black by way of MI-5. In terms of world-building, it’s all pretty much done in real time and with letters written by the original Myfanwy who knew of her impending memory erasure and so wrote copious notes for whoever would take over (collated and indexed in a nice purple binder). You know, like you do. And so the info-dumps are very plausibly delivered, but that’s what they are.

Myfanwy (pronounced Miffany, like Tiffany, it’s Welsh, who knew?) is such a milquetoast that the plot can’t solely be about her and she needs to figure out who attacked her and why. Of course it goes much deeper and there is an obvious villain and an non-obvious one. The new Myfanwy has more spine and I liked her after a while. Not enough to scarf up the new book right when it comes out, but maybe eventually I’ll pick it up. ( )
  Bookmarque | Jan 25, 2016 |
This is the first book by an Australian author and a very readable book it is.
The heroine wakes up not knowing who she is or what she is. Her former self knew something bad was going to happen to her, so left a series of letters and notes to bring her new self up to speed if she decides to fill in her old life.
Part of a secret supernatural organisation based in London, Myfawny learns about this new world along with us and along with us tries to figure out who the traitor is. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
Excellent book! One of the longer books on my TBR, it flew by. I found myself thinking about this one when I wasn't reading it, getting up early to delve back into it, and wishing it were not over when I read the last chapter.

Fast-moving, entertaining and wholly consuming, I highly recommend this one. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (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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Epigraph
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.
Thus, while other members of the organization attain high positions through their remarkable accomplishments in the field, I became a member of the Court simply through my work in the bureaucracy.

Does that sound lame? I'm very, very good. There's not a formal timeline for ascending to the Court. In fact, most people never get in. I am the youngest person in the current Court. I got there after ten years of working in administration. The next-youngest got in after sixteen years of highly dangerous fieldwork. That's how good an administrator I am.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:17 -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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