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Publisher's Summary

Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.

Arthur is safe, but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back, even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.

Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house, a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key, and discover his true fate.

Listen to the rest of the books in The Keys to the Kingdom series.
©2003 Garth Nix; (P)2003 Random House, Inc., Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"Exciting and suspenseful." (School Library Journal)
"Corduner's vocal flexibility is the key to this enjoyable audiobook." (AudioFile)

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Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

For 9-12 year olds, excellent

I bought this based on the rating and genre and didn't know that it was a children's book. I was a little disappointed that it was a kid's book, but it's excellent in its category and even a decent read for an adult. Some of the elements of the world he creates I thought were very interesting and vibrant. I wouldn't say it is as good a kid's book for adults as, say, the Harry Potter books, the Hobbit, the Earthsea trilogy, and Podkin of Mars, but I'm considering getting the next book in the series at some point.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Another Great Book by Nix

I bought this book based on my previous reads of the the excellent Sabriel/Abhorsen/Lirael books.(In fact if you like Nix's style but are put off by the 9-12 age of these books, proceed directly to Sabriel which I found to be a better book, if for no other reason than its more mature content.) But on to Mister Monday. I'll skip the summary as you can read that above. The first thing I liked about this book was Corduner's voice. The range of different characters portrayed and the deep throaty tone and timbre of his voice adds quite a lot to the atmosphere of the book. I also really enjoyed the originality of the setting. In a genre dominated by derivative rehashes, a truly original world is refreshing to see when it does come along.(Which isn't nearly as often as I'd like.) The world is for me the most compelling part of the book because of its originality and character. The story kept me listening although my fascination with the world Nix has created will make me buy the next book. I would have given the book 5 stars if it contained more adult themes and content. But all in all a completely entertaining, but light book. Highly recommended

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Katelyn
  • el mirage, AZ, USA
  • 05-16-09

Great series

This is one of the most interesting and creative series I have ever read. Only Garth Nix could come up with this universe. As always Allan Corduner does an excellent job narrating, he is always solid. If you are looking for a tolerably long series to keep you entertained for a week, this is it. The only problem is that the final book hasn't come out yet so you'll just have to wait with the rest of us!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I found this book because I was looking for other reads by Allan Corduner. He is a terrific narrator. I had been hoping to read this series at some point so I was pleased that I could listen to his performance of the book. He reads all the books in the series. I am looking forward to the next one.

You can read the plot summary above. The idea that a "will" can be fragmented into pieces of print or text was an imaginative and original idea.

This is also a very positive "adoption" story. Arthur is is adopted because his parents died in a pandemic. The loving devotion of his adoptive parents and his strong relationships with his siblings were a very happy aspect of the storyline.

Very entertaining listen. Would be good as a family listen on a car trip.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Derek
  • Scarsdale, NY, USA
  • 08-10-05

Average book

The thesis behind the book is extremely interesting and the other characters that inhabit the world, especially Leaf, are very vivid. However all that became overshadowed by the constant whining of the main character. Throughout the book all he does is complain. At first it is because he can't breathe then it is because he wants to go home NOW. I got images of a poor version of Veruca Salt (the first Willy Wonka film). Since it was the main character, it became so that I would fast forward through his diatribes to get back to the story. Even with this drawback, I still plan on getting the second book for the storyline. But if Arthur continues his nails on chalkboard complaining, I will stop at book 2.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Story


Really enjoyed the books as a teenager, still enjoy the books 10 years later

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great book, great series

this is the first book to my favorite book series ever. and I love it I highly recommend it if you like Supernatural, fantasy, heroism, and a main character that is trying to save the universe, but has no idea what he's doing. all in all it's a great series and I highly recommend it. Enjoy :-)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Garth Nix

Garth Nix is an amazing writer, and I love all of his books. I encourage everyone to read them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Krista
  • Austin, TX, USA
  • 06-12-07


The Keys to the Kingdom Series is truly captivating! I have listened to each installment multiple times. The books are wonderful and the narrator is absolutely perfect. His inflections really bring the characters to life. I highly recommend this book!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Temecula, CA, USA
  • 08-05-08

Alice in Wonderland 2000

The three stars goes to the narrator. He was outstanding. The British accent and vocalization was ideal for this book. Unfortunately, I didn't care for the story. While the quest of the story is well defined (get through the seven days of the week), the plot is quite hodge-podge. It is as if the main character was placed in a series of bizarro dilemmas which are far too outlandish for the imagination. Mr. Monday reminds me of a re-worked 21st century version of Alice in Wonderland--without the enchantment.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful