Cover for Orpheus Black showing two figures in an underground tunnel

Shortlisted for the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal

“The three creators take us back convincingly to a particular time and place, they find the portents of a worse time to come, and they take us beyond then and now to seek a more profound understanding of ourselves. They seek to say something about what is best and worst in us. I am reminded of two of my favourite films: Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), both of which, in their different ways, mix fantasy and reality to similar telling effect.”
– Books for Keeps

“Despite its complex crafting, the story never feels overwrought. It flows, grounded in character and the theme of preserving humanity from the machines of war. Even as Harry emerges from the abyss, a satisfying conclusion leads the reader from the darkness, delivering an emotional gut-punch that will provoke as much feeling as thought.”
– Starred review – Booklist

“This is a strange, hugely engrossing and original tale, investigating creativity, the machinery of war and the love that we have for those closest to us.”
– Literary Review

“a stunning work of art both strange and haunting.”
– The Scotsman

“This fascinating and engaging story, told through prose, poetry and stunning black and white illustrations, takes on a surreal, fantastical quality – you are never sure what is real and what is imaginary. A thought-provoking and striking experience!”


From left to right are the UK and US covers for the book.

Product Description

In this beautifully illustrated, literary tour-de-force, award-winning authors Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick and artist Alexis Deacon skilfully weave together a tapestry of voices to create a poignant, lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII. Strange and unsettling at times, but deeply moving, this exquisite book captures an intense connection between brothers propelled by an ancient mythical force.

Here’s a short video trailer:


And some spreads from the book (click for full-size images; may take some time to load on some servers):


Image of an eyeball with blue iris

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