Skelton, Matthew 1971-
Skelton, Matthew 1971-
Born in 1971 in Southampton, England. Education: University of Alberta, B.A., M.A.; Somerville College, Oxford, D.Phil., 2000.
Writer, 2001—. Visiting lecturer, University of Mainz, Germany, 2001.
Endymion Spring (novel), Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Endymion Spring has been optioned for film by Warner Brothers.
Matthew Skelton's Endymion Spring has become a publishing sensation, compared by some reviewers to J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series. The novel, "which is being hailed as ‘The Da Vinci Code for kids,’" according to a writer for Teen Reads.com, "is a thrilling tale told from the perspective of two characters living six centuries apart who share one very mysterious secret." The novel, which had been pulled from a "slush pile" of unsolicited manuscripts by an agent, was purchased for more than six figures in 2004 by English publisher Puffin, the children's book imprint of Penguin Books. Warner Brothers purchased the film rights to the book for a similarly large amount. "I'm quite astounded still that this would happen," the author told Paula Simons, writing in the National Post. "It just seems so unreal to me. I was very afraid, because I thought kids might not like this book at all."
Endymion Spring tells the story of a powerful book that is rumored to contain all knowledge. It is discovered in Oxford University's famous Bodleian Library by Blake, the son of a visiting professor. The novel, however, details not only Blake's story, but also that of Endymion Spring, an apprentice to the fifteenth-century printer Johann Gutenberg. Endymion has to keep the book out of the hands of Gutenberg's patron, the evil Fust. Like Endymion, Blake also "finds himself prey to dark forces," declared Caroline Sanderson in the Bookseller, "who will stop at nothing to get their hands on The Last Book." "Allusions to legends and poetry," stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "mix with the appeal of a magical book that only answers questions in riddles." "Book lovers in particular," a Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded, "will savor its palpable whiff of musty shelves and dusty volumes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of Endymion Spring, p. 64.
Bookseller, July 29, 2005, "Endymion Spring Sells for Six-Figures," p. 15; November 18, 2005, Caroline Sanderson, "The Stuff of Dreams," p. 30.
Children's Bookwatch, October, 2006, "Knopf/Delacorte/Dell/Random House."
Guardian, March 25, 2006, Philip Ardagh, "Matthew Skelton's Bookish Historical Tale, Endymion Spring, Doesn't Quite Grab."
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Endymion Spring, p. 637.
National Post, February 21, 2006, Paula Simons, "Penniless Alberta Author Lands Fantasy Book Deal: Children's Novel Caused Bidding War among Publishers."
Publishers Weekly, July 17, 2006, review of Endymion Spring, p. 159.
School Library Journal, September, 2006, Tim Wadham, review of Endymion Spring, p. 218.
Closet Sci-Fi Geek,http://closetscifigeek.com/ (January 3, 2007), Mrs. Kirk, review of Endymion Spring.
Powells.com,http://www.powells.com/ (January 3, 2007), author interview.
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (January 3, 2007), "A Conversation with Matthew Skelton."
Renee's Book of the Day,http://www.reneesbookoftheday.com/ (January 3, 2007), review of Endymion Spring.
Teen Reads.comhttp://www.teenreads.com/ (November, 2006), author interview.