The Rook: A Novel

Hardcover | January 11, 2012

byDaniel O'Malley

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"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

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From the Publisher

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to de...

Dan O'Malley graduated from Michigan State University and earned a Master's Degree in medieval history from Ohio State University. He then returned to his childhoom home, Australia. He now works for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, writing press releases for government investigations of plane crashes and runaway boats.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 9.75 × 6.5 × 1.75 inPublished:January 11, 2012Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316098795

ISBN - 13:9780316098793

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Book that I Couldn't Stop Reading I keep asking myself- why did I not read this one sooner? Okay fine I have no one to blame but myself but seriously, I was missing out! (And so are you.) Before I say anything more let me thank my two amazing friends, Jess and Kim for gushing and telling me to read The Rook. Thank you guys for introducing me to another book I can obsess over (with you)! You both have the best taste!! The Rook was so much fun. It's a pretty big book but it's filled with an amazing mix of political thrills and unexpected humour. I read and laughed and laughed some more. Honestly I wasn't expecting it to be so funny but on more than one occasion I was just shaking with laughter. I read the whole book on a plane ride and it was all I did. I didn't get up to use the washroom, I didn't stop for a drink and I sure as hell didn't stop when there was turbulence. LOL. So what can I say about The Rook? Just two words: READ IT!!! Okay, maybe a few more words because this book deserves it. The story is told through alternating chapters in the present and letters explaining the past. They flowed together flawlessly as the past relates to the present in a way that will greatly expand your knowledge. Carefully we learn about each character and their unique abilities. Most were fascinating if not a bit creepy and completely lethal. Every member had a remarkable resume. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around how accomplished these people can be but they're also supernatural so it's no wonder they were recruited into The Checquy. This extraordinary organization. I was really blown away by its structure and reach. I loved learning its history and counterparts. The internal hierarchy and the problems stemming from that made for a most exciting action-packed guessing game! Myfanwy Thomas is absolutely wonderful. In. Every. Way. Waking up with no memory she basically learned about herself at the same time the reader does. I was thoroughly impressed with her quick reflex, inner wit and constant bravery. Nothing stopped her. She's a superhuman but she still had the same human emotions as us. She experienced sad moments, scary times but nothing stopped her from moving forward. I need more Myfanwy. Her awesomeness has no bound. Good thing Stiletto, the sequel, comes out in just a few months. Two months and six days but who's counting ;) That is the only good thing that came out of not reading The Rook sooner. Soooooo go READ IT!
Date published: 2016-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Rook Wow. This is really good. Well written with great twists and turns. When you think you have figured it out something happens and it changes again. Hard to put down. Loved it
Date published: 2015-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great world-building! I don’t think I’ve been this happy with a first-time author’s work since Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. The world-building is fantastic – a sort of Torchwood-like take on the fantastic, but with a mystery to solve at its heart. I sincerely hope that O’Malley returns to this world to give us more.
Date published: 2015-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such fun! I want more I was absolutely taken with this book. I fell in love with the main character and the crazy world the author created. I could not put the book down. The plot was fascinating and I loved the character development. It was also hilarious, I burst out laughing quite a few times. I can't wait to read more from this author. In the meantime, I know I will be reading this book again.
Date published: 2013-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Original and funny! If you like Charles Stross's Laundry series then you should love this. This is a spy thriller mystery with a heroine with a dry sense of humor.
Date published: 2013-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Debut My wife loved this, that is saying a lot as she never reads SF or Fantasy which this is a little bit of a cross. When I read it, thought I wouldn't like it just because she did, I thought it must not be as odd as I thought when I picked it up. Odder actually and I can hardly wait for the sequel!
Date published: 2013-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Rook It starts strong and continues that way all the way to the end. 4 out of 5
Date published: 2013-06-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Rook Decent first novel - a bit draggy in parts. Definite nod to Torchwood sans the Captain. Looking forward to the next book.
Date published: 2013-03-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Fun Debut Pros: amazing world-building, fast-paced, tightly plotted, interesting protagonist, subtle underlying humour / Cons: some situations are hard to believe given the circumstances / "Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine." / When Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in the rain, surrounded by bodies wearing latex gloves, she has no idea what her name is or how to pronounce it (it rhymes with Tiffany). The two letters in her coat pocket reveal both her identity and a choice: run or stay. A second attack convinces her that running away isn't an option so she decides to impersonate Thomas, a high ranking official in a secret British government organization (the Checquy) that deals with supernatural threats. Despite copious letters left by her 'predecessor' this is no easy task, made harder by the knowledge that one of her high ranking compatriots was behind the attacks on her and a traitor to the realm. / This is not The Bourne Identity for sf/urban fantasy fans. As a Rook, Myfanwy is in charge of the workings of the Checquy officers in Britain. She has meetings with various people and makes sure the realm is secure by covering things up and reporting them to the appropriate people. Her counterpart, Rook Gestalt, usually handles the field work side of things while she does the desk work. And she's very good at desk work. As the book progresses, the action picks up as Myfanwy is forced to attend to some of the field work, something her predecessor was ill suited for, but which the new Myfanwy is surprisingly adept at. / As a character Myfanwy is fascinating. She's learning about her former self while no longer being that person. She's more direct, more assertive and less willing to leave certain things to underlings. She's also more willing to use her own special abilities. You realize after a while that she's quite different from who she used to be, making it bizarre how few people comment on the change. It also makes for several ridiculous conversations where she's fishing for information she should already know. Sometimes this is commented on in the novel, a few times it is not. / The world-building is excellent. The author gives a lot of information via letters from Thomas, but they're written with dialogue and description, so the book never feels stilted. And while many of the letters are interspersed when specific information is needed, at times the letters are used to enhance the tension, by explaining a necessary side story while the main story builds up to an action sequence. The world of the Checquy is complex, with a school for children with special abilities, a complex hierarchy of the court and pawns, 'normals' who act as servants and compatriots but who can't rise to levels of power, an American office, etc. Learning about the world is almost as much fun as trying to figure out who the traitor is. / The author is aware of how ludicrous some of the powers and emergency situations are and often makes subtle jokes. When talking about Bath we learn, "According to Thomas the city had once been a veritable hotbed of manifestations, with every sorcerer, bunyip, golem, goblin, pict, pixie, demon, thylacine, gorgon, moron, cult, scum, mummy, rummy, groke, sphinx, minx, muse, flagellant, diva, reaver, weaver, reaper, scabbarder, scabmettler,... [the list continues for several lines] ogre, cat in shoes, dog in a hat, psychic and psychotic seemingly having decided that this was the hot spot to visit." The book is surprisingly fast paced given the partial narrative writing style. There's a fair amount of tension and enough action to keep things interesting. / If you like mysteries and intricate world-building, pick this up.
Date published: 2012-08-22

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Editorial Reviews

"O'Malley's narrative is peppered with sly humor, referential social commentary, and the ironic, double-layered self-awareness that will have genre fans believing Buffy the Vampire Slayer has joined Ghostbusters."-Kirkus