“In this rollicking black comedy, Mal Peet does not just have his cake and eat it: he scoffs the entire patisserie.”

Daily Mail


“In this rollicking black comedy, Mal Peet does not just have his cake and eat it: he scoffs the entire patisserie.”

Daily Mail

“Book shops and libraries may find it impossible to pigeon-hole this book into a category but one thing’s for sure, it’s an absolute triumph.”

Northern Echo

“Mal Peet, a top novelist for teenage audiences, has now written his first adult novel.

The Murdstone Trilogy takes a mocking swipe at writers still churning out sub-Tolkienesque fantasies, full  of high-sounding phrases but ultimately going nowhere.

Philip Murdstone is the story’s despairing novelist previously specialising in “sensitive” stories about problem children that no-one wanted to read. Led on by his rapacious agent, he finally tries his hand at fantasy writing but only succeeds after somehow conjuring up a thoroughly nasty dwarfish figure from the past.

He is named Pocket Wellfair, an inventively foul-mouthed character who writes most of Philip’s story for him but through malign reasons of his own. Literary and personal disaster soon loom. Read it whatever your age and find yourself laughing pretty well at every page – it really is that good.” 

The Independant

‘Peet crafts comic gold from his premise’


‘deliciously funny, and the story-within-a-story is a glorious send-up of the genre’.

Financial Times

“This may be Mal Peet’s first book for grownups, but it is an assured, even virtuoso, performance fully deserving that most prestigious of accolades – a rave review in the Guardian.”

The Guardian

“Peet is a master of comic set pieces…

This novel is huge fun.”

Daily Telegraph

The Murdstone Trilogy is right up there with Terry Pratchett and ‘The Princess Bride’ for fantasy comedy. The writing is sublime and the humour is lacerating. I loved every warped sentence.”

Eoin Colfer, bestselling author of Artemis Fowl

“The Murdstone Trilogy is just brilliant. Every moment he’s not spent writing comedy is a tragedy.”

Meg Rosoff

“An eccentric marvel of a book that continually surprises. Mal Peet is a great and daring writer.”

Matt Haig, bestselling author of The Humans

“It’s wonderful…might be my new favourite”

Simon Mayo

“Original, subversive, brilliant. It’s weird, it’s wonderful… it shouldn’t work, but it does, it gloriously does. I need a lie-down. I always do after I read Mal Peet.”

Tim Bowler

“I enjoyed this novel hugely. It had a fat, throbbing vein of dark hilarity running right through the middle, with skewered literary personages shrieking and wittering either side. It’s a complete nutty fantasy, and yet there’s enough weird truth in it to really worry any writer – oh, okay, any reader – who picks it up. If you’ve ever wondered what the heck writers do all day, The Murdstone Trilogy will give you a good idea!”

Margo Lanagan

“hysterically funny anti-fantasy”

Amanda Craig

“A refreshing and absorbing change of pace – 4-stars”


“One of the cleverest, funniest send-ups of the genre to have appeared since Philip Reeve’s Goblins

Literary Review

“Imagine John Updike meets George RR Martin!  MURDSTONE is the funniest and cleverest skewering of our business I have ever read. Mal Peet is a genius.”

Ileen Maisel 

“This isn’t just a book or a story, it’s a crazy triumph of inventiveness and flair.”

Paul Blezzard


“The novel was published for adults in the U.K., and it’s easy to see why: there isn’t a teenage character in sight, and the concerns—about career, reputation, parochialism, and looming bankruptcy—are all adult, too. Regardless, Peet’s book is enormous fun, especially for those familiar with the literary conventions it skewers, and it’s a brilliant valedictory for the author, who died in March.

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) *

“An award-winning author whose young-adult novels have gone out of fashion makes a Faustian bargain with a Hobbit-like creature in this broad, darkly hilarious sendup of high fantasy and publishing…Bitter and frothy as a pint of stout, this formula-thwarting satire will intoxicate fantasy fans with strong stomachs.

Kirkus Review

“Carnegie Medalist Peet (Tamar, 2007) has written a hilarious satire of the fantasy genre with alcohol-laced overtones of Terry Pratchett and William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Blending worlds, wit, and literary allusions with unique narrative voices, Peet’s take on fantasy and the writing process will attract adults and teens alike. Darkly comic and a joy to read.”

Booklist (starred review) *

“Peet lampoons the fantasy genre in this stand-alone novel. Sharply drawn characters propel the plot as it builds to an unexpected finish…This title is highly recommended to a select audience of mature readers interested in the darker comedies of life.”


“A deliriously freewheeling send-up of the publishing industry and the current sword-and-sorcery craze results. But there’s a vein of real feeling. “The world is the stories we tell of it,” one of the fantasy beings says to Philip. They should all be as lively and entertaining as this one.”

The Wall Street Journal

“This is one of the few fantasy send-ups that matches the genius of Diana Wynne Jones’s masterpiece Dark Lord of Derkholm and the hilarious companion, A Traveler’s Guide to Fantasy Land…Few adult fantasy readers are familiar with the late Carnegie Medal-winning YA author Peet (Tamar), but this work should gain him a mature audience. His clear appreciation and knowledge of the genre, plus adult language, make this clever story best for adults and those well versed in fantasy.”

Library Journal

The Murdstone Trilogy…is brilliant. Richly drawn characters ground the story, even at its wildest, and older teens steeped in the fantasy traditions of what Minerva describes as “Dwarves. Beards. Time and dimension shifts…. You know.” will revel in this wonderfully witty, upside-down take on the genre.”

Shelf Awareness (starred review) *

Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Blink & Caution and The Emperor of Any Place

The Murdstone Trilogy has just about every ingredient I try to avoid in my reading: magick with a K, sword slashing sorcerers, minions aplenty and dwarfs. So how can I love this book more than anything I’ve read in ages? Because when Mal Peet gets his hands on an idea he can out-plot the furthest-fetched of fantasizers, out-skewer the most sardonic of satirists, and just generally work his writerly magic, with a plain old C. And he does it all in one book instead of three. It’s a big-hearted romp of a rant. Read it. Even if you hate Tolkien. Even if you love Tolkien. It really is that brilliant.

Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Blink & Caution and The Emperor of Any Place

This book, released in the UK in 2014, will be relished by American readers whose taste for stunning verbal finesse outweighs any tendency to outrage over carnal humor, cultural indelicacies, or lack of respect for the fantasy genre as such, making it a meaty feast for knowing teens who can laugh at what they love and hoot at naughty jokes they aren’t supposed to admit are funny. An angry edge of authorial disgruntlement over the state of publishing only serves to sharpen the wit as Peet literally and figuratively scours the shire of the fantasy genre while reminding readers of what artful literary language should sound like.

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review) *