The Game of Sunken Places
by M.T. Anderson
For their October vacation from school, Gregory and his best friend Brian accept an invitation to visit Gregorys strange, sort-of-adopted Uncle Max in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Together the boys ride a train from Boston into the middle of a spooky, magical, and dangerous Gothic adventure.
Maximilian Grendle lives in a huge mansion in a woods where the local people believe wicked things are going on. People have disappeared, and worse than disappeared...in spite of their warnings, Gregory and Brian accept Uncle Maxs brusque offer of a carriage ride to his secluded house, where he orders the boys modern clothes to be burned and has them dress up in knickerbockers, long socks, starched shirts, and tweed jackets. The whole house is like a bit of the 19th century that never moved forward in time. There is no one for the boys to confide in except a pretty and pleasant, but rather old-fashioned, girl cousin. And there is little for them to do except get in trouble.
Soon they get into far more trouble than they had bargained for. An ancient board game called The Game of Sunken Places beckons to them. More and more spaces appear on the board as they solve a series of riddles and face dangerous challenges together. The friendship between these two utterly different boys is put to the test as the game pits them against creatures from another world magical beings trolls, elves, ogres, ghosts, and some really weird and scary things for which there may not be a name. Their steps are dogged by an enemy with pointed ears and a deadly bag of tricks. And the boys gradually learn that the winner of the game will help determine which of two magical races finally wins an age-old war.
This is a thoroughly original, imaginative tale fraught with eerie atmosphere, tension, thrills, and mystery. Its main characters come alive with their individual charms and quirks, with totally believable dialogue set amidst an incredible adventure. The narrative bristles with surprise twists and awe-inducing imagery, mixing humor and sadness, horror and pure weirdness. Find this book if you are ready to discover all these things.
Here is one of my favorite bits, to tempt you...
The Day approaches when the Vast One shall be greater than He Who Found the Key. Then shall we all be left upon the Plain That Has No Name.
Gregory coaxed, Oh, come on...they could give the plain a name! Any old thing would do!
When the Time of Naming arrives, then shall the unnamed and unnamable be called by its True Name.
Ill bet it has a name, and you just cant remember it, you sly devil.
The Speculant swiveled around, his cape settling around him slowly. He grated, The Unnameable has no Name. Truth cannot be concealed behind Fiction. The Casket of Deliverance has found the Pearl of Wisdom lacking, and the Bone of No Sight shall, in the latter
Okay, said Gregory. You win.
Recommended Age: 13+
If you would like to contact Robbie, you may do so here.