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Download The Twyning Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Twyning, by Terence Blacker Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Terence Blacker Narrator: Michael Page, Nico Evers-Swindell Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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This is the story of Efren, a young ratling born into the Court of Tasting, in the rat kingdom below the streets, and Dogboy, a thirteen-year-old boy abandoned and living wild.

The kingdom is in turmoil after the death of the old king, murdered by a human scientist, Dr. Henry Ross-Gibbon. Ross-Gibbon is obsessed by the annihilation of all rats and uses Dogboy to help him catch his samples. In this time of uncertainty and outright war against the world above, a new regime emerges from the courts of Spies and Translators. But Efren’s fate does not rest with the relative safety of the world below, for the world above is about to make a decisive and devastating attack on the kingdom, leaving Efren exiled, the citizens scattered, the Twyning dead. And there cannot be a kingdom without a rat to rule.

Hurt and alone, Efren escapes to the world above, where he finds shelter with Dogboy and Caz, a runaway eleven-year-old girl. And between these unlikely allies a spark is ignited—first of communication, then of hope.

This tumultuous story of creatures caught up in a pitiless war transcends the barriers between animals and humans.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In this painful but mesmerizing tale, Blacker introduces a society of rats living in the sewers of Victorian London; his successful merger of sentience with the realities of rodent behavior is reminiscent of the rabbits of Richard Adams’ classic Watership Down…Well-wrought characters (both human and rat), a compelling presentation of difficult moral questions, and a devastating portrayal of society’s dark underbelly make this novel hard to forget.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Both characters are relatable, and readers will cheer for them as they find strength and grow in their adventures. For a book with a dire and at times bloody premise, the overall mood of hope and friendship will sustain readers long after they finish.”

    School Library Journal

  • “A meaningful story, both in the human world and in Blacker’s impressively comprehensive rat society, of the creeping dangers of mass hysteria and the power of bravery and compassion.”


  • “Rats and humans declare war on one another in this gory study in hidden fears and shifting loyalties.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Victorian London, rats, abandoned children, and survival come together in The Twyning…Efren and Dogboy, along with Dogboy’s friend Caz and her pet rat Malaika, embark on an adventure that requires friendship, trust, loyalty, and courage. Each chapter is told from either the point of view of Dogboy or Efren. The reader is met with the human world above ground and the rat world below ground. Whether human or rat, issues of power, abuse of power, and fear, as well as love, loyalty, and friendship, abound. Great detail is given about the rat kingdom and how the rats communicate and live, making the kingdom come alive for the reader. There are some rather violent scenes with the rats and dog fights which will appeal to some readers, but could be upsetting to others. This is a book that both middle school girls and boys should find interesting.”


  • “A pair of narrators tackle Blacker’s tale of two young street urchins who are trying to save a struggling rat community from annihilation by a mad scientist. Michael Page’s brassy voice is endearingly rat-like, and his precision and insight are well suited to the animals’ vivid dialogue and thoughts. Nico Evers-Swindell balances childlike intonation and swarthy stubbornness for his human characterizations, and his generous empathy comes in handy for the young protagonists. The story alternates chapters between the human and rat protagonists, and the use of two narrators helps to maintain clarity in the overlapping narratives. All of Blacker’s protagonists share a combination of trepidation, determination, and hope in frightening times, and both narrators deliver this blend with acuity.”


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