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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)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2291066,475 (4.13)134
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» See also 134 mentions

English (103)  German (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Wow. Fantastic. The author sucks you in immediately and keeps you hooked till the very end. Highly recommend. ( )
  mashiaraqcs | Mar 29, 2016 |
Myfanwy has a problem, a big one. She has no memory of who she is, but she does have a series of letters telling what her life has been like. She is a Rook, works in a secret organization that protects the world from supernatural beings, and seems to be constantly in danger herself. An intriguing tale, if a bit confusing at times, all eventually will be made clear. Well, mostly. Suspense abounds with humor sprinkled in; it’s a delightfully entertaining tale. ( )
  Maydacat | Mar 27, 2016 |
What an amazing read! The X-files meets Harry Potter meets Doctor Who. Hilarious in parts, scary in others, with an extremely likeable protagonist. Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a park in the middle of a circle of dead bodies with no memories but a couple of letters from the personality wh previously inhabited her body. It turns out she's a high-ranking operative in a government organisation called the Checquy, which has existed since the Middle Ages to combat paranormal manifestations around the world. Myanwy has to bluff her way through re-learning her role, while simultaneously hunting a traitor in the ranks who wants her dead and an incursion from an evil enemy from the Continent. It's a roller-coaster of wacky supernatural absurdity, maybe loses its way a bit at the end, but just a great, fun read. There's a sequel already out and I cant wait to see what's in store for Myfanwy. ( )
  drmaf | Mar 16, 2016 |
Clearly I wasn't paying attention when I read the description of this book - it wasn't even in the ballpark of what I was anticipating. BUT, having said that, I loved it - funny, quirky, a little edge of your seat-ish in parts, and with a strong female lead character (or two) - all good! 4 stars because....well... it's not an epic literary masterpiece that will resonate with me for ages... but it was a great summer read. ( )
  AmyCahillane | Feb 24, 2016 |
Um, this book is pretty much the X-Men.
Children with super-powers are recruited, brought to a secret training school, and brought up to be members of a secret spy agency; part of the British Government.

Now, this thing is, if I just read that, I probably wouldn't have bothered to read this book at all. I'm not a big fan of superheroes. However, I really, really enjoyed the book.

Yes, it's a little gimmicky, but I also thought it was very clever, fast-paced and fun.

Myfanwy (Miffany, she doesn't use the Welsh pronunciation of her name)regains consciousness in a field, surrounded by dead bodies, with no memory of who she is. However, information has been left her by "herself" - a woman who knew she was going to lose her memory, who happened to be highly placed in this super-mutant spy agency. Although brilliant, the former Myfanwy was painfully shy and timid. For some reason, the 'new' Myfanwy is bold and assertive - and resourceful enough to make a go of trying to learn about her superpowers and to take her place in the organization without anyone discovering her amnesia. While she's at it, she also has to figure out who the traitor in the organization was who attacked her - and is probably still out to get her.
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (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.)
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References to this work on external resources.

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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