Summary from Amazon UK
Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that’s always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it’s too late?
Perfect for fans of J.K Rowling, Piers Torday and Michelle Paver.
Top 10 Random Things
By Abi Elphinstone
After dragons, I reckon facts are one of my favourite things in the world. Animal facts are especially good: turtles can breathe through their bottoms, a snail can sleep for three years, houseflies always hum in the key of F and cows moo in regional accents. So, when Carly asked me to give her my Top 10 Random Things about my latest book, The Shadow Keeper, my little heart went BOOM…
1. The Shadow Keeper was originally called Soul Splinter but my publishers thought it sounded too dark and too ‘high fantasy’. I came up with The Shadow Keeper instead and it’s the name of the next deadly witch doctor that my main character, Moll, and her Tribe, come up against.
2. I love Johnny Cash’s music so much that I borrowed a variation on a lyric from his song, Hurt, for Moll to use right at the end of the book: ‘I want to start again, a million miles from here.’
3. I introduce a few new characters in The Shadow Keeper and one of them is an Oracle Spirit sent from The Otherworld to help Moll and her Tribe fight back against the dark magic. The spirit has a magical weapon to fight the Shadowmasks and to research it I did an Anti-Gravity Yoga lesson where you’re strung up in a silk hammock and can flip into extraordinary shapes. It was ace.
4. In my first book, The Dreamsnatcher, there is an earthworm called Porridge The Second. I put him in as a joke so when I came to the second book I thought that no one would mind if I squashed him. How wrong I was. I was inundated with fan letters and emails from my editor asking me to bring back Porridge The Second. This was my editor’s feedback: “I really really (really!) don’t want Porridge to be squidged! Could he just be left behind because he refused to go to the sea? Or something – poor Porridge!” I made him live but I left him in the forest and in The Shadow Keeper, Sid gets a new pet: a crab called Hermit who is scared of absolutely everything, even his own pincers.
5. The first draft of The Shadow Keeper cover was bright purple. I hated it so much I nearly cried (like a bad hair cut but so so much worse) – and thankfully my publishers agreed to change the whole thing to silver foil, blues, greens and blacks.
6. The ending of The Shadow Keeper was the first thing that came to me. I could see Chapter 39 ‘Sky Battle’ so clearly it was like I was watching a film. And even though I was prepared for what would happen, I wrote that chapter with a big lump in my throat.
7. Before I write any book I read a fairytale. I find them the most powerful (and magical) form of storytelling and I often borrow motifs and then twist them into something new. I borrowed Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen to help me build a sinister weapon called the Soul Splinter in The Dreamsnatcher and in The Shadow Keeper I read Wild Swans to give me inspiration for Chapter 20, ‘Soles of Glass.’ In Wild Swans, a sister uses her bare hands to make shirts of nettles to free her brothers from a curse and in my book Gryff endures something similarly painful for the sake of the girl he swore to protect.
8. When I wrote about Moll and her Tribe tearing across the coast I had this song blaring in my head: Septimus by Ilan Eshkeri from the Stardust soundtrack (one of my favourite films).
9. There is some flying in this book – at the end – and before writing the last scenes I wanted to see what it would actually feel like to fly. So I threw myself off a mountain in Rio De Janeiro on a hang-glider and soared over the city and the sea. I felt like Peter Pan and it was glorious.
10. One of the new characters in The Shadow Keeper is called Smog Sprockett and I stole his name from a cocktail in Wilton’s Music Hall in the East End.
Instagram: @moontrugger www.abielphinstone.com