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The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith
Review by Andrea Johnson
Eos Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061494161
Date: 01 September 2008 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

Mark is eleven years old, and can't believe his parents got a divorce. Beyond that, what's his mother doing getting married again so quickly to a complete stranger, and dragging Mark out to their new home in a seaside town where he has no friends, and doesn't know a soul? And it gets worse. Mark's Mom hasn't been feeling well lately. Some days she barely gets out of bed. And why does his stepfather have to be so overprotective of her? She's doing fine. She can go outside. She'll get better. Won't she?

After a chance meeting with the elderly tenant of the basement in the house, Mark is exposed to an especially odd kind of magic. There is a connection between the haunting action in the basement and what's happening above, but can Mark figure it out in time?

From official release/information:

Synopsis: A uniquely dark and elegant tale that illuminates the loneliness of childhood, the pain of loss and the power of imagination. It will charm and haunt its readers in equal measure. Eleven-year-old Mark is bored. He spends his days on the Brighton sea-front, practicing on his skate-board. His mother is too ill to leave the house, and his stepfather is determined that Mark shouldn't disturb her. So when the old lady who lives in the flat downstairs introduces him to rock cakes and offers to show him a secret, he's happy to indulge her. The old lady takes a large, old-fashioned key and leads Mark down a dusty corridor to a heavy door. Beyond the door is a world completely alien to Mark's understanding. For behind the old lady's tiny apartment, the house's original servants' quarters are still entirely intact, although derelict. Mark finds himself strangely drawn to this window onto the past, and when, the next time he visits, the old lady falls asleep, he steals the key and goes to visit the servants' quarters alone.And suddenly Mark's life takes a bizarre turn, as the past seems to collide with the present, dreams invade reality and truths become apparent to this hitherto unpercepting boy.

(Source: Eos)

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