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For my fifteenth birthday, my grandfather let me dig my own grave. It was dawn when he woke me. He was standing over my bed with an oil lamp in one hand and a brand-new shovel in the other. I remember how bright its blade was in the darkness. I think he had been awake all night, going at it with his whetstone. ‘Happy birthday,’ he said. ‘Shall we get started?’ He laid the shovel next to me on the bed, then opened the door of the cottage and went out into the morning. I got up and dressed quickly. My shirt and trousers were still hanging above the washing tub, damp, because Pa – my grandfather, I mean – had insisted I make an effort to be clean for such an important day. I did not see the point of washing either my clothes or myself if I was just going to get covered in mud again, but I did as I was told. I put on my boots and second-best hat, since a crow had stolen my favourite some weeks earlier.

About the book

Ned works as a gravekeeper with his grandfather. Ned’s odd life is disrupted when graves are disturbed and an attractive young woman, Obedience Wellrest (Bede), starts visiting the cemetery.

A mystery of science and magic unravels – and no-one is quite as they seem …

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World Rights Available (excluding Film)


UK Audio (Ulverscroft)