Young Clod Iremonger and his eccentric family, the “kings of mildew, moguls of mold,†? made their fortune from this collected detritus. The Iremongers are an odd old family, each the owner of the birth object they must keep with them at all times. Clod is perhaps the oddest of all—his gift and his curse is that he can hear all of the objects of Heap House whispering. Â Yes, a storm is brewing over Heap House and the house’s many objects are showing strange signs of life. Clod is on the cusp of being “trousered†? and married off (unhappily) to his cousin Pinalippy when he meets the plucky orphan servant Lucy Pennant, with whose help he begins to uncover the dark secrets of his family’s empire. Â The first installment of the Iremonger Trilogy, Heap House introduces readers to a gloriously imagined dark world whose inhabitants come alive on the page—and in Edward Carey’s fantastical illustrations. Heap House is a book that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl and Mervyn Peake, young and old alike. Mystery, romance, and the perils of the Heaps await!
Set in 1875, Carey's delightful variation on Mervyn Peake's classic Gormenghast books features young Clod Iremonger, sickly scion of an eccentric family that has grown rich off of the trash heaps of London. Heap House itself is a mad conglomeration of building fragments attached willy-nilly to the original mansion located amid dangerous, ever-shifting Heaps. All Iremongers possess birth objects, such as a sink plug or a mustache cup, which they must never lose on pain of death or transformation; Clod is considered odd even by his relatives because he can hear each birth object speak its name. When orphan Lucy Pennant comes to Heap House as a servant, things become even stranger for Clod and his fellow Iremongers. Birth objects and other bits of the house grow restless, moving about on their own, and Clod finds himself falling in love. Full of strange magic, sly humor, and odd, melancholy characters, this trilogy opener, peppered with portraits illustrated by Carey in a style reminiscent of Peake's own, should appeal to ambitious readers seeking richly imagined and more-than-a-little-sinister fantasy. Ages 10 up.