The Left Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Authorised to kill… and sell books

A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world.
From the best-selling master of fantasy Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones) are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin and Vivien must find out as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

This is the first Garth Nix novel I have read – well, listened to as I had borrowed the audiobook via BorrowBox from my local library.

Books about books (and bookshops/booksellers) draw me in which is why I chose this book – the title was enough to get me clicking on the ‘borrow’ button!

I knew before I began listening that I was not the intended audience for this fantasy novel and it is definitely meant for younger readers/listeners. However, I found myself immersed in the fantastic story with engaging characters.

I was gripped with the fast pace of the story and enjoyed the alternate London and being in this fantasy world for a couple of days.

I listened to the audiobook across two days (11 hrs 16 mins) and enjoyed the drama brought to the story by Marisa Calin. I would read/listen to another book by this author/narrator.

Thank you to BorrowBox for providing this mobile app which allows so many more people to experience these audiobooks than would otherwise.

You can contact Garth Nix through his website at and on social media:

One response to “The Left Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix”

  1. Love the book title, you just want to find out more.


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