The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral

Robert Westall, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $13 (97p) ISBN 978-0-374-37263-7
Chilly, concise and utterly spooky, this novel is among the late British author's best works. A first-person narrative--liberally larded with bits of Northern English slang--propels the story at a headlong pace, at the same time incorporating intriguing hints of musty medieval history. Not long after he takes on the job of restoring the southwest tower of Muncaster Cathedral, steeplejack Joe Clarke senses--in the very stonework itself--a sinister force that seems to emanate from one particularly foul-looking gargoyle. Joe's suspicions are confirmed when his young son, Kevin, sleepwalks to the tower, spouts archaic Latin and, with much tooth-baring, fights all efforts to remove him. Though Joe eventually succeeds in rescuing his ``lad,'' the entity in the tower finds easier prey in another little boy, discovered dead, having either fallen or jumped from the spire. With the help of a curmudgeonly detective-sergeant and the trendy but essentially good Reverend Morris, Joe searches through the cathedral's history for the knowledge that will enable him to destroy the bloodthirsty gargoyle's power. The tower's secret is indeed a whopper, fittingly capping the unrelenting suspense that precedes its revelation. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-1-56054-766-2
Paperback - 97 pages - 978-0-374-47119-4
Hardcover - 156 pages - 978-0-670-84093-9
Paperback - 140 pages - 978-1-943910-19-9
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