Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Devil's Footsteps - E E Richardson

One in fire, two in blood,
Three in storm and four in flood,
Five in anger, six in hate,
Seven fear and evil eight.
Nine in sorrow, ten in pain,
Eleven death, twelve life again.
Thirteen steps to the Dark Man's door,
Won't be turning back no more.

It was supposed to be just a bit of fun, a local legend tells of the Devil's Footsteps: thirteen stepping stones in the woods – whichever one you stopped on whilst reciting the rhyme could predict how you would die. It seemed like a harmless game for kids – but Bryan knows differently. He knows the terrible truth. He saw the Dark Man take his older brother Adam five years ago. Although he's tried to tell himself, over and over again, that it was just his imagination, that the Devil's Footsteps are just a set of thirteen stepping stones, and that the Dark Man doesn't really exist, he knows he is lying to himself. He think it doesn't matter whether people believe in the local legend or not, Adam is missing anyway.

Then one day, Bryan is approached by another boy in the school library; Smokey thinks that he stepped around the corner of the railway station just in time to stop his little sister, Nina, from being taken by the Dark Man. They head to the local public library to see if they can find out anything about the town's history, and whilst they're at the library, Bryan notices an older boy, Jake, who is also researching local history; he has a long list of children who have disappeared in the town and a map marking the spots where they've disappeared. Between them they realise that someone or something is after the town's children and they decide that it's up to them to try to find out more, and if possible, stop it happening again.

E E Richardson's first book, The Devil's Footsteps is a supernatural thriller for young adults. It's a remarkably assured debut from a young writer (Richardson was 20 when he published it); gripping, alarming and almost impossible to put down, this book will haunt you after you read it.


Anonymous said...

What a great book! I recommened it.

Michele said...

As do I...

gabriel said...

I really love this book, but E. E. Richardson is a woman :)

Michele said...

I was unaware of that.