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Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom: The Body Thief by Stephen M. Giles

Age: 10+ (my guess)
Publication Date: August 2010
Tags: mystery, adventure, family secrets
Pages: 240
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: received an ARC from the publisher

My Rating: 5 / 5 Star

(from publisher's website)
And you thought your family was strange.
I am dying. . . I might get the chance to know you before death takes me...I would like you to be my guest at Sommerset. . .I have enclosed a check for $ 10,000. . . Should you accept my offer...
Uncle Silas has always been greedy, evil, insulting, and extremely rich! But a dying uncle with a vast fortune is definitely one worth getting to know. Even if it means spending 2 months on his secluded island home with a houseful of suspicious servants and a hungry pet crocodile.
But what is Uncle Silas really up to? Will Adele, Milo, and Isabella outlive Uncle Silas to inherit his money? And just who is that mysterious "guest" in his basement? Is it worth the money (or their lives) to stick around and find out?

My Review:
Silas Winterbottom is a truly despicable character. Rich, shellfish and downright evil. When he invites his nephew and 2 nieces to stay with him at Sommerset, his secluded island mansion, I knew he was up to no good. What follows is a highly enjoyable tale. The characters were so well developed and the plot twists kept me very well entertained. For a middle grade read, this one has become one of my favorites. Definitely something I'll keep around and recommend to my daughter as soon as she's old enough to read it :)

I really loved hating Silas. He's methodical and calculating. And cunning. I was pretty sure I knew what he was up to but I was very happy to find out I hadn't quite figured it all out.

On the other side of the playing field we have Adele, Milo and Isabella. Each with their own reasons for coming to Sommerset. Each with their own feelings about dear, old, sick Uncle Silas. For a relatively short book, I think the author did a wonderful job giving these three characters the depth they deserved. Without a strong understanding on who these 3 children where, the book wouldn't have really worked. Just as I grew to hate Silas, I grew to love Adele, Milo and Isabella.

Reminded Me Of: A Secret Garden -- more so in setting then anything else. A creepy old mansion with hidden secrets. There's even a hidden, mysterious garden....but you'll have to read the book for yourself to find out exactly how mysterious this garden becomes.

Who Would Enjoy It: Middle grade readers for sure - both boys and girls. Older readers too. The story is anything but boring or predictable. This is the type of book I would have loved to have had to read in school. I could easily see it on a recommend class reading list in the future.

Linkage Love:
Author's Website

*Stephen M.Giles hails from Sydney Australia and The Death of Silas Winterbottom is his first book.
*In Australia, the book was published under the title "Silas and the Winterbottoms"


  1. Just dropping by to tell you I have given you One Lovely Blog Award

  2. Aw, sounds like such a great read! I don't read middle grade, but I'd seriously consider picking this book up if I saw it. I love the mystery and secretive aspect!


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