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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. I ate four of Pa’s oatcakes and

About the book

A mesmerising Gothic mystery from Costa Award-shortlisted author Nicholas Bowling. 

‘Nicholas Bowling is a thrilling writer’ THE TELEGRAPH

To the horror of young gravedigger, Ned, bodysnatchers have been visiting his churchyard in the dead of night. Until now, he’d been daydreaming about another visitor – daughter of the manor, Obedience Wellrest.

But sixteen-year-old Obedience has troubles of her own: her loving but overbearing father, and his wish to see her married to a rich man of science, Phineas Mordaunt.

When Mordaunt starts to poke his nose into her family history – in particular, the ruinous research of late Uncle Herbert – Obedience enters into a dangerous game with Death, and Ned might be the only person who can save her …

  • A mesmerising tale of magic, death and science, wrapped up in a delicious Gothic mystery
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell meets Dangerous Remedy – for young adult readers
  • From highly acclaimed Costa Award-shortlisted author, Nicholas Bowling 

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