cover image Heap House

Heap House

Edward Carey. Overlook, $16.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4683-0953-9

Set in 1875, Carey’s delightful variation on Mervyn Peake’s classic Gormenghast books features young Clod Iremonger, sickly scion of an eccentric family that has grown rich off of the trash heaps of London. Heap House itself is a mad conglomeration of building fragments attached willy-nilly to the original mansion located amid dangerous, ever-shifting Heaps. All Iremongers possess birth objects, such as a sink plug or a mustache cup, which they must never lose on pain of death or transformation; Clod is considered odd even by his relatives because he can hear each birth object speak its name. When orphan Lucy Pennant comes to Heap House as a servant, things become even stranger for Clod and his fellow Iremongers. Birth objects and other bits of the house grow restless, moving about on their own, and Clod finds himself falling in love. Full of strange magic, sly humor, and odd, melancholy characters, this trilogy opener, peppered with portraits illustrated by Carey in a style reminiscent of Peake’s own, should appeal to ambitious readers seeking richly imagined and more-than-a-little-sinister fantasy. Ages 10–up. Agent: Isobel Dixon, Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. (Oct.)