The Left-handed Booksellers of London

The Left-handed Booksellers of London

Book - 2020 | First edition
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn't get time to ask Frank any questions. He is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of Merlin, a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones). With the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), they are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world... in addition to running several bookshops. Merlin and his sister Vivien are on a quest to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As they tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, their quest overlaps with Susan's.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780062683250
Branch Call Number: TEEN FIC Nix
Characteristics: xiv, 393 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 11, 2021

Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father. It’s the year 1983 in London, England, and everything seems normal enough until she stumbles across a most peculiar murder―disentegration?―committed with nothing but a hatpin by a young man of the name ‘Merlin’. Merlin wears a glove on only his left hand, and proceeds to tell Susan of another world; one teeming with magic and monsters and booksellers of various handedness. Both worlds are starting to overlap, thus sparking an action-packed adventure full of both intrigue and the nostalgic writing style that always seems to whisper of times past and gone.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this story quite a bit. Susan and Merlin are captivating, complex characters, and Garth Nix is an exceedingly talented raconteur. The worldbuilding was intricately woven, and there were numerous references to other literary works, going along with the ‘bookseller’ aspect of the tale. The minute I began reading, I fell in love with the style of storytelling, and felt completely immersed in the world and characters. Some content warnings would be gore and violence, coarse language, and some sexual references.
An artfully written, immensely imaginative, and intricately constructed novel.
3.5/5 -@storygirl of the Hamilton Public Library’s Teen Review Board

FPL_ElizabethC Jan 20, 2021

Susan's unflappability proves invaluable as, on her first night in London, she becomes the target of ancient magic lurking just below the visible and joins forces with the booksellers (both left- and right-handed) who try to contain it. In addition to Nix’s large fan base and teen fantasy enthusiasts, this story is likely to appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.

Jan 10, 2021

This was a very enjoyable book, about a young girl trying to find her father, and finding much trouble and unexpected happenings along the way! It was action packed, full of fun, and contained very likeable characters. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Harry Potter or similar titles.

JessicaGma Jan 04, 2021

This was a really great read - a nice balance of world-building and solid characters in an action packed tale. What more could you want?? I love that it was set in 1983 so you have Sarah the punk and Merlin the glam rocker - there's not enough of this smart setting. It's a great cast and an epic story - wonderfully done!

DCLteens Sep 11, 2020

A Must-Read Young Adult staff pick 2020. The Old World and the New collide in the latest fantasy by the inimitable Garth Nix. Fabulous bookshops, magical beings, Merlin and more await in this tale set in alternate London. Both teen and adult audiences will love it!

Sep 03, 2020

This novel was thoroughly engaging. I was caught up in Susan's story from the first page I turned.

The mystery of Susan's father was interesting and then it got extremely interesting as we learned of her true heritage.
The booksellers was a fun touch and I would love to read more of their world.

Nix's writing was fluid and engaging and his knowledge of Britain helped flesh out the story. You picture the shops and the characters so clearly in your head.

I highly recommend this novel for anyone who wants to disappear into a whole new world.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at NWPL

To Top