The Midnight Palace

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Midnight Palace

The book begins with a chase through the streets of Calcutta in May 1916. Lieutenant Peake pauses for breath outside the ruins of the Jheeter's Gate station knowing that he only has a few hours to live. Inside his overcoat he is sheltering two newborn babies - twins, a boy and a girl. Pursued by his would-be assassins, Peake runs at full tilt to the house of Aryami Bose, to whom he entrusts the children. In 1932 we meet the boy, Ben, and his group of friends the night before they are due to leave St Patricks orphanage. They have formed a secret club, The Chowbar Society, that meets each week at midnight in the old ruin they have christened The Midnight Palace. Their final meeting is due that evening but then Aryami Bose turns up at the orphanage with Sheere, Ben's sister, and tells them the story of the parents they never knew. Their father was an engineer and writer who died in tragic circumstances at the inauguration of Jheeter's Gate station. But as the novel unfolds, there is more to this story than meets the eye and they are lured by a shadowy figure from the past into a final showdown in the ruins. 3.2 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
The Midnight Palace

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Children's & Teenage
Format Hardcover
Pages 288
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication June 2011
ISBN 978-0297856450
Publisher W&N
 

The book begins with a chase through the streets of Calcutta in May 1916. Lieutenant Peake pauses for breath outside the ruins of the Jheeter's Gate station knowing that he only has a few hours to live. Inside his overcoat he is sheltering two newborn babies - twins, a boy and a girl. Pursued by his would-be assassins, Peake runs at full tilt to the house of Aryami Bose, to whom he entrusts the children. In 1932 we meet the boy, Ben, and his group of friends the night before they are due to leave St Patricks orphanage. They have formed a secret club, The Chowbar Society, that meets each week at midnight in the old ruin they have christened The Midnight Palace. Their final meeting is due that evening but then Aryami Bose turns up at the orphanage with Sheere, Ben's sister, and tells them the story of the parents they never knew. Their father was an engineer and writer who died in tragic circumstances at the inauguration of Jheeter's Gate station. But as the novel unfolds, there is more to this story than meets the eye and they are lured by a shadowy figure from the past into a final showdown in the ruins.

Read an extract from the book on the Guardian website

Reviews

The Guardian

Marcus Sedgwick

The Midnight Palace is an enjoyable novel, with a wonderfully sinister villain, plucky and resourceful heroes and some visually arresting imagery

22/07/2011

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The Daily Express

Jeffery Taylor

The uncharitable reader might be mistaken in assuming the Spanish-born Zafon’s research into Kolkata took place in the library’s map section, not the stinking streets themselves ... If this is a rite of passage, as says the blurb, for the young and the young at heart to enjoy as a family, well, give me Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons any time.

17/07/2011

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