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Publisher's Summary

In this spirited sequel to the acclaimed The Rook, Myfanwy Thomas returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic - and slimy - supernatural war.

When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers - and the bureaucratic finesse - to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries:

The Checquy - the centuries-old covert British organization that protects society from supernatural threats, and...

The Grafters - a centuries-old supernatural threat.

But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook and two women who absolutely hate each other can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war.

Stiletto is a novel of preternatural diplomacy, paranoia, and snide remarks from an author who "adroitly straddles the thin line between fantasy, thriller, and spoof" (Booklist).

©2016 Daniel O'Malley (P)2016 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Larry
  • groveport, OH, United States
  • 07-10-16

Grafters take center stage

I rank this as a 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5
In 2012, Daniel O’Malley published his debut novel “The Rook”. An instant best seller, it was nothing short of brilliant in its vision and execution and, in my opinion, the strongest and best debut of an author since Stephen King’s “Carrie”. In short, I LOVED IT! And I am not the only one with this opinion; look at the reviews on Audible or Goodreads and you will see overwhelming adoration of not only “The Rook” as a novel but the book’s protagonist, Myfawney Thomas.

2016 brings us the sequel: Stiletto. It took awhile to get to book form but, considering the tremendous height of the bar set by “The Rook”, “Stiletto” has some huge shoes to fill so I couldn’t begrudge the extra time. I had pre-ordered the audiobook a month or more in advance and stayed up late so I could download it as soon as it was available. Yep, I am a fanboy…

I was caught off-guard immediately when not only was the book narrated by Moira Quirk (as opposed to Susan Duerdan, who narrated “The Rook”), but the book is told in first person by a young Grafter woman, Odette, and a young Checquy woman, Pawn Clemens. You have to understand that Myfawney Thomas of “The Rook” inspires such feelings of loyalty (“love” wouldn’t be too strong a word also) that it is almost heresy to not have her at the forefront of its sequel. Not only is she not at the forefront, she is barely mentioned until the second half of “Stiletto”. I see it as a huge gamble by the author, but one that I believe payed off and will ultimately provide freedom to the author in future sequels. Other reviewers will probably not agree: they will say that while “Stiletto” is good, they couldn’t get into it because Myfawney wasn’t there. This is why I felt I needed to expound on Myfawney’s overwhelming influence on the success of “The Rook”: any sequel that didn’t continue with Myfawney’s first person narrative was going to be doomed to lukewarm reviews by a significant percentage of reviewers because of her absence alone, regardless of Stiletto’s plot or the author’s skill.

A brief synopsis: “Stiletto” picks up immediately following the events of “The Rook” with the proposed incorporation of the Grafters and a Grafter delegation is in London to hammer out the terms and conditions of the Grafters joining the Checquy. The Grafters are keeping secret (or trying to) the fact that they are being systematically hunted by an unknown group. Combine this with the inbred hatred the Grafters and the Checquy are taught to feel about each other from a early age and the tension is a powder keg with a lit fuse. Stiletto is told in the first person by Odette, a young Grafter woman and the Checquy guard who is assigned as her body guard, Pawn Clemens. Through their eyes, the listener/reader gets to experience the intense hatred and mistrust that each group has for the other and to contemplate what it might take to have the two groups become one without outright civil war.

Moira Quirk delivered an outstanding performance and narration. I had noticed immediately that she was not the same narrator who performed “The Rook”, but since “Stiletto” isn’t about Myfawney Thomas, it makes sense to have a different narrator and she demonstrated skill, talent, and a remarkable amount of distinct voices and accents for the myriad of characters contained in “Stiletto”.

Bottom Line: “Stiletto” is an excellent sequel to “The Rook” if the listener/reader is able to accept it on its own merit and a continuation of the Checquy's storyline. If the audience is looking for “a part two to The Rook”, he/she is going to be disappointed. At over 23 hrs of entertainment, “Stiletto” is a welcome addition to the mythos of the Checquy and will contribute significantly to its current and future success in both plotlines and fresh characters.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome!

I have been waiting anxiously for the sequel to The Rook for so long and it did not disappoint! Like the X-Files were blended up with the X-Men by Terry Pratchett. I always hate to leave the world of the Checquey. And, of course, Moira Quirk did an excellent job with the narration.

LOVED IT!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Howard
  • Cumberland, MD, United States
  • 06-24-16

The sequel to The Rook was worth the long wait.

This LONG awaited sequel to The Rook is a fun, intriguing and rich story with strong female characters. Stiletto picks up a short while after the end of The Rook with the bureaucratic nightmare of attempting to merge persons with supernatural abilities, the Checquy, and those who manufacture super humans, the Grafters. The merger is especially difficult because the Grafters invaded England territory centuries earlier and were believed to have been exterminated. The Checquy hate the Grafters for attacking England and their institutional memory has made them into boogeymen. The Graters hate the Checquy for executing them centuries earlier. To further complicate the issue, a splinter group of Grafters are committed to stopping the merger and exposing the secret Checquy and their bizarre abilities. There is some repetitiveness to Stiletto to provide backstory to those who have not read The Rook. Perhaps I would not have found it repetitive had I not just re-read The Rook days before Stiletto arrived. Nonetheless, Stiletto is an enjoyable read with a sense of humor and honor that is missing from many of today's novels.

Looking forward to the next Checquy story, The Rook television series, or anything else O'Malley chooses to write.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More complex than The Rook

Instead of telling the story from the point of view of one character, Daniel O'Malley treats us to the points of view of two. Neither of them, by the way, is Myfanwy Thomas. The characters start out kind of feeling like cardboard cutouts, but they really develop greatly throughout the story into people I really wanted to keep up with. Many of our old favorite characters appear throughout the book, some more than others. Overall, I found the book to be very rewarding.

Moira Quirk of obviously a very good narrator. But I found myself missing the old characters as related by Susan Duerden, especially Myfanwy. Ms. Quirk's representation of Myfanwy was much more pedestrian, as if she were a secondary character who didn't need much fleshing out. She also changed voices and accents for just about every other established character. I found myself regretting this throughout the book.

But overall, a great story and well worth the credit.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

not a sequel

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

if you're looking for the sequel to The Rook, this isn't it. it is interesting. and it is set in the same world, but Myfawny Thomas is virtually absent from the book. Daniel O'Malley's writing is wonderfully the same as ever but I just couldn't get into the story, even after several chapters. here's hoping the next one includes more of the characters we fell in love with the first time around.

Would you ever listen to anything by Daniel O'Malley again?

yup.

What does Moira Quirk bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

great narrator. voices are distinguishable, recognizable, and animated.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

probably not.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best new series

I almost didn’t buy this after reading all the whiny review, but I loved the first book so much I took a chance. Hello! It’s amazing! Those reviews that complained about the “history” interspersed with the action....did you not read the first book with the letters from Rook Thomas interspersed with action? It works! The “history” is all fantastical sequences that are just as riveting as the present. The subtle and unexpected humor, the clever and the absurd, and the complex and fascinating characters on both sides of the political spectrum are rich and rewarding, and I pray for the good health and continued inspiration of Mr O’Malley! Keep them coming, please! And keep Moira Quirk - she is beyond talented and her accents are superb and easy to distinguish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!!

I love the world and the characters the author has created. The narration is fantastic!! I couldn’t stop listening to this book. Didn’t want it to end!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant but different sequel to the Rook -

I had just re-listened to the Rook for the 3rd or 4th time because it's such a favorite- and then was thrilled to see a sequel - at last! I'm glad I listened to one right after the other because it kept the flavor of story alive with details I might otherwise have forgotten. I'm also glad I read the reviews of Stiletto first so I knew it wasn't told from the perspective of Myfanwy Thomas - and I adjusted my expectations accordingly. Stiletto introduces new characters who are every bit as enjoyable as Myfanwy- and the paranormal British Secret Service the Checquy continues to save the world from the weird. Myfanwy does become part of the story as the attempt to forge an alliance between the Grafters and the Checquy continues and the adventures are another wild ride every bit as enjoyable as the Rook. 5 stars all around!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic story and performance.

I believe I've found my new favorite reader. My previous favorites are amazing - I just didn't know how much better one could be at this. Moira Quirk is AMAZING.

The text is fantastic as well. The story is interesting, surprising, exciting, amusing and certianly hilarious at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A really great story, but bring back Myfawny!

What made the experience of listening to Stiletto the most enjoyable?

I echo the reviews of many others here on Audible. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the debut novel, The Rook, and fell in love with the character Myfawny Thomas. I liked everything about inhabiting Myfawny's world with the court, Ingrid, the odious Gestalt, and others. Initially I felt terrible disappointment when I realized that Myfawny is only tangentially present in the sequel, Stiletto. That said...

I'm now glad that I stuck in there and kept listening. I eventually more than warmed up to Odette and Felicity as heroines in their own rights. This is a terrific story, well written, well narrated, and certainly worth the credit. But I still really miss Myfwany and her PA, Ingrid. :( I have high hopes of a third installment told from Myfwany's perspective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful