The Masters Book by Philip Coleman
Publish Date: March 15th 2013
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Genre: Part Thriller / Part Paperchase (ages 12 and up)
Source: Received via the Author
In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 24. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at
Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?
5 out of 5 Goodreads Stars
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! I connected with the characters and I was kept guessing right until the end.
The Master’s Book opens with Sean, the main character, moving to a new house with his family in Brussels. His mother is sceptical seeing as someone died there fairly recently. I know I would be!
Sean meets a girl at school, Stephanie, and they become friends and she later helps him find out who took the manuscript. There is a lot of action in this book, people are killed, and Sean and Stephanie where almost kidnapped. There was never a dull moment reading The Master’s Book.
The whole idea was very clever. Mary the Duchess of Burgundy was a nice twist, along with trying to find out who this manuscript belonged too and why it was in their house to begin with.
Sean was a bit bratty toward his sister, but I guess that’s just him being a teenager 😛
Like famous five but with only three of them, no dog, and Wikipedia. Hmm. Okaaay?
Overall, this is a book recommended for ages 12 and up, but anyone who enjoys a good thriller should defiantly pick up this book!
Interview with Philip:
1. What inspired you to write The Masters Book?
I lived in Brussels for 3 years when my children were growing up and I wanted to re-capture that very exciting time through the eyes of a young teenager. Hence the origin of the hero and narrator, Sean. My children, in the European school had many stunningly beautiful mixed race classmates and these were the inspiration for Stephanie, the heroine.
2. How often do you write?
When I have a project ongoing I try to do a bit every day, although family and work commitments often get away. I’m just back from a big 3-week meeting and haven’t written anything now for nearly a month.
3. Have you always enjoyed writing?
I wrote in my teens and then I often dreamed about taking it up again but didn’t do so until I was in my late forties, when I was inspired after reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I do enjoy it when I get a rhythm and a flow going but it can be frustrating when you get “stuck”.
4. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what?
Sometimes I do – mostly quiet classical music, such as solo piano pieces, chamber music or Baroque music. Easy listening, such as Pink Partini, is also good. Wagner is out, even though I am a fan!
5. How long did it take to write The Masters Book?
The initial draft took about three months, due to a bereavement that interrupted the writing. After that, revisions and total reqrite took place on and off over several years.
6. What kind of books do you like to read?
Almost everything! I’m a bit too cynical for some romantic novels but other than that I read all kinds of fiction including literary, crime and young adult. I also like reading non-fiction, especially history.
7. If the Masters Book was made into a film, who would you cast as the main characters?
That’s a tricky one, since the leads are teenagers so they would probably be début actors. There are lots of talented Irish actors in their early teens who could play the part of Sean. Perhaps Quvenzhané Wallis could play Stephanie, when she’s older. I amiagined Isabelle, another lead character, as looking like Julia Roberts so there’s one part taken care of.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there?
Don’t give up! But at the same time don’t labour too long over a project that isn’t getting the reception you want because you risk demotivation. If you write for young adults, as I do, well-meaning people will try to encourage you be reminding you of JK Rowling’s story but that is so exceptional that you have to put it out of your mind.
9. Would you like to say anything to your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I nejoyed writing it. I’d love you to write to me and tell me what you thought, even if it’s not what you think I want to hear. And I have a (little) surprise for those who do write to me!
Philip Coleman has lived and worked as a biologist in four countries, including a sojourn in Brussels that inspired this story. Currently he lives in France and works for a conservation NGO based in Switzerland. Apart from writing, his hobbies are reading (fiction and history), painting, cinema, cooking and enjoying Alpine scenery. He has a grown-up son and daughter (and no, their names aren’t Sean and Maeve!).