The Skull by Christian Darkin

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A & C Black, 2013. ISBN 9781408192979.
(Age: 11+)'Alfred turned slowly to face the center of the clearing. There was the prior's body, mud and blood soaking his clothes, he was lying bent over backwards, held up clear off the ground by a huge lump of rock. But it was not a rock. At the bottom of the mast stone, the shape of a vast empty eye-socket was visible above the mud. Higher up, the stone tapered to form a blunt snout, lined with curved serrated teeth. The massive mouth was frozen, gaping open and the whole skull was embedded in grey rock as though the earth had grown around it like flesh and muscle. The terrifying jaws formed deep crevice in the boulder on which the prior had landed, his fragile body impaled on its terrible sharp teeth.'
The Merchant family has encountered the same Megalosaurus skull throughout history and every time they have it changed their life.
The story starts 144 million years ago when a Megalosaurus dies then millions of years later (1176) Alfred Merchant discovers it next to the dead prior's body and as a punishment for suspected witchcraft has to build a tomb around the prior and the skull. The story follows the Merchant family from 1176-2201, where the Merchant family lives on Mars and has the skull with them and as each Merchant discovers it they reveal more and more about it.
The Skull is a thrilling, mischievious book that has a sort of back-to-the-future feel about and it gives you a look at history. After reading this book I wanted to find out more about my family's history. It made me feel like I had watched a whole family live out their lives.
Christian Darkin really captivates the reader and I think I will be reading more of his books. This book is perfect for people my age. I think that Christian Darkin did a great job.
Abbey Nicholls (Year 7 Student)