A stunning debut perfect for fans of Patrick Ness and Neil Gaiman!
The Danék is a wild, treacherous river, and the Fobisher family has tended it for generations—clearing it of ice and weed, making sure boats can get through, and fishing corpses from its bleak depths. Wulliam’s father, the current Riverkeep, is proud of this work. Wull dreads it. And in one week, when he comes of age, he will have to take over.
Then the unthinkable happens. While recovering a drowned man, Wull’s father is pulled under—and when he emerges, he is no longer himself. A dark spirit possesses him, devouring him from the inside. In an instant, Wull is Riverkeep. And he must care for his father, too.
When he hears that a cure for his father lurks in the belly of a great sea-dwelling beast known as the mormorach, he embarks on an epic journey down the river that his family has so long protected—but never explored. Along the way, he faces death in any number of ways, meets people and creatures touched by magic and madness and alchemy, and finds courage he never knew he possessed.
Martin Stewart's debut novel is an astonishing blend of the literary, the comedic, and the emotionally resonant. In a sentence, it's The Wizard of Oz as told by Patrick Ness. It marks the beginning of a remarkable career.
About the Author
Martin Stewart has previously worked as a recycling technician, university lecturer, barman, golf caddy, and English teacher. A native of Glasgow, where he still lives, he enjoys buying books to feed his to-be-read pile, and combining the city’s urban splendor with walks on the beaches of Scotland’s west coast. Riverkeep is his first novel.
- A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year 2016
- A Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Flying Start
- A BCCB 2016 Blue Ribbons pick
“[Stewart’s] descriptions of Wull’s world gripped in winter are brutal and beautiful, his monsters are terrifyingly plausible, and there are striking moments.” —The New York Times Book Review
★ "Stewart shows a dab hand at crafting memorable characters and thoroughly frightening opponents for them to face . . . A rich debut: Huck Finn meets Moby-Dick." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ "Filled with wild adventure and hilarious dialogue . . . this vivid, engrossing fantasy will delight readers." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "There isn’t a single forgettable person, monster, or creature in the whole adventure; it’s impossible to not be deeply invested in all of their successes. This is a rare work that feels like a sophisticated, gritty folktale, full of impossibilities and dramatic tension, and it is both hilarious and tragic in equal measure." —BCCB, starred review
"A unique and distinctive fantasy world, ably conveyed through very readable dialect and buoyed by near-constant action . . . [a] riveting read." —Booklist
"With a humorous, light touch and an excellent feel for dialogue, Stewart has created a first-rate fantasy. . . Excellently written." —School Library Journal
"Woven of threads and snippets of fantasy and myth, Riverkeep presents something entirely unique and innovative. The constant interjection of humor forms an odd juxtaposition with the seriousness of Wull’s quest. Add to that black humor, weird characters and graphic violence, and it is compelling in the same quirky way that Monty Python is. The narrative is both harsh and beautiful." —VOYA
"The fast-paced action is compelling. Students who appreciate well written horror fiction will thoroughly enjoy this novel. This gripping supernatural tale includes adventure, monsters, love and loss, and thought-provoking issues." —School Library Connection
"Martin Stewart's atmospheric debut blends fantasy and horror into a rollicking Scottish adventure about fathers and sons, monsters and magic, and the choices that make us human . . . A dark delight, Stewart's riverboat ride should impress teen horror fans and anyone seeking a YA novel with no romance but plenty of heart." —Shelf Awareness