Across the Wall : A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories, Paperback

Across the Wall : A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories Paperback

3 out of 5 (4 ratings)


Must-have short story collection by Garth Nix, containing thirteen stories all introduced by the author himself.

ACROSS THE WALL brings together an eclectic mix of Garth Nix's writing spanning several years.

The opening story is the 2005 World Book Day novella and Old Kingdom story NICHOLAS SAYRE AND THE CREATURE IN THE CASE, winner of two prestigious Aurealis Awards.

The rest of the collection includes two tales inspired by Arthurian legend, a war story, a western, a traditional tale with a twist and a hilarious choose-your-own-adventure spoof.

The volume is introduced by the author himself and, even better, so is each story - giving context, anecdotes and a generous dollop of Nix's own wry humour.

Plus! A final bonus section of frequently asked questions for which Garth Nix supplies vital answers.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9780007221462



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

An anthology of fantasy stories by Garth Nix, most well known for his Abhorsen Trilogy. There is quite a mixture of different stories included in the collection which includes a story set around the Abhorsen stories. Instead of reviewing all the stories I will just mention some of the ones that really stood out.Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the CaseA tale of Nicholas from the Abhorsen series who lives in Ancelstierre. His ambition is to return to the Old Kingdom and see Lirael. His uncle will help him if he answers some questions for the mysterious Department Thirteen. Dorrance runs the Department and is an eccentric who owns a strange free magic creature in a case form the Old Kingdom and Nicholas is convinced it is still alive.Lightening Bringer This was my favourite in the collection. It mixed controlling minds, seeing auras, lightening, sex and love. It reminded me of The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman which is another story I love.Down to Scum QuarterA fun "choose your own adventure" story that plays with Zoro and the Three Muskateers. Very silly but a lot of fun.Hearts DesireA re-telling of the Merlin/Nimue myth from Arthurian legends. To gain power one must catch a star and give up their heart's desire. Merlin caught his star years ago and knows his future and now it is the turn of Nimue.Hope ChestA fantasy Western tale about a baby girl who is found on a train with a note saying her name is Alice May Susan and she will bring good luck. She is adopted along with a mysterious trunk which none can open until she turns 16. What she finds inside helps her go after a dangerous cult leader called The Master.Three RosesA sad and poignant tale about a man who growa beautiful roses for the love of his dead wife.One thing I really enjoyed about this collection was the introduction to each story by Nix. They give you an idea of what the story is about and why he wrote it and what it was written for. I really look forward to reading more of his writing.

Review by

This is a collection of short stories by the author of the Abhorsen trilogy and the Keys to the Kingdom series for younger readers. Although the subtitle ("A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories) and cover design would indicate that this is being marketed to readers of the Abhorsen series only one of the short stories is set in the same world as the Abhorsen series and an Abhorsen only turns up on the last page of that story. Having said that, the Abhorsen story (The Creature in the Case) was pretty good as I expected. I enjoyed the breadth of the stories in this collection, there's one story set in Australia, one more science fictiony story, one with an old-fashioned Western style, some Arthurian retellings and one fantastic spoof of the "choose your own adventure" genre with a Three Musketeers theme. If you're only interested in the Abhorsen story then I think you can get hold of it separately but I think the other stories in this book are well worth a look and each has an introduction by Nix explaining why he originally wrote it which was very nice.

Review by

There can't be many children's fantasy authors who have remained untouched by the Arthurian legend:John Masefield, Alan Garner, Ursula LeGuin (she shows this awareness in her introduction to 'Tales from Earhsea'), Dian Wynne Jones, Joan Aiken and Philip Reeve are all writers who spring to mind as acknowledging the huge influence of the Matter of Britain. The Australian author Garth Nix is another who makes his debt clear.Nix is best known for his sequence of outstanding novels set largely in the Old Kingdom, across the Wall from Ancelstierre. This setting is deliberately reminiscent of Scotland, Hadrian's Wall and the North of England respectively, but there any resemblance ends, for these are tales of magic--Free Magic, Charter Magic, prophetic sight and the constant war with the Dead. 'Across the Wall' does include a novella related to these worlds, but the other twelve stores take different directions, some promising, others less so. Here I want to just mention two of them.Nix confesses that he "doesn't like the Arthurian mythos", believing that "there are already too many stories and books that have mined the canon" re-using the same stories "tih little or no variation of character, plot, theme or imagery". So when he does give in to requests to write Arthuriana we can and do expect something approaching at a tangent.'Under the Lake' and 'Heart's Desire' don't disappoint, taking an obtuse look at the Lady of the lake and at Merlin's infatuation with Nimue. Nix focuses on character motivation, so that the clichéd tales become reforged, shining with a strange familiarity while retaining a semblance of their traditional shapes. Worth reading for these two tales alone, 'Across the Wall' might well encourage you to search out his other electrifying novels if you haven't yet come across them.

Review by

Meh. I've already read the two good stories in this book (the title story and "Hope Chest") and the others are not very interesting. Plus his introductions to each story are self-congratulatory.<br/><br/>I love the Abhorsen books but the rest of his work is only moderate.

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