________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 37. . . .May 27, 2016


The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim.

Shane Peacock.
Toronto, ON: Tundra, 2016.
339 pp., hardcover & ebook, $21.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-698-9 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-700-9 (ebook).

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Laura Dunford.

*** /4



It is an eerie scene. With all their lanterns brought to bear, they can see that the catacomb is about a dozen feet by a little more, with a grisly table at its center and tools lying about, some on it, some on the ground.

“There’s dried blood here,” says Lear, as they shine a lantern directly on the table’s surface. “This looks like a human fingernail, a whole one, and … part of a nose.”

“Why-what do you think happened in this room?” asks Edgar.

“I don’t know, but whoever – or whatever – was here has been here more than once.” Lear is pointing at the ground where footprints, large and clearly evident, mark the floor as if whoever came to this chamber carried grime on his footwear; some of the dirt is dry while other clumps are still damp. Someone has recently been inside this sealed room in this forbidding cellar and has been coming back and forth for a while. But how could that be? Did a phantom walk through the wall or squeeze through that tiny hole? All five hunters are quiet, but they are all thinking the same thing.

The creature came here.


Growing up in the late 19th century England, Edgar Brim has spent his childhood locked in fear of the monsters he sees and the terrifying stories his father reads. After his only parent dies under mysterious circumstances, Edgar is shipped off to a boarding school hidden away in the desolate moors of Scotland. There he must learn to overcome his fears and harness his abilities for his own purpose and, eventually, join forces with his friends and grim professor. Because, as it turns out, the monsters his father read about are real.

     The setting of Peacock’s newest novel, the first in a new trilogy, is what really makes it work, and work well. The College on the Moors, set in foggy isolation with its silent servants and looming headmaster, pays tribute to the genre’s iconic isolated mansions and their devious masters. The time period places Edgar’s adventure within the prime age of Gothic fiction, and the climax of the novel is entwined with the publication of Stoker’s Dracula, some would argue, the pinnacle work of the genre. The book also references other great authors and their novels, such as Wilkie Collins, R.L. Stevenson, and Mary Shelly, hopefully inspiring ambitious readers to pick up a classic.

     Overall, The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim is a thrilling story that includes fantastic gruesome imagery, moments of unexpected humour, and plenty of surprises.


Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia and is currently pursuing her post-graduate certificate in Publishing at the Centennial Story Arts Centre.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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