Title: The Rook || Author: Danielle O’Malley  || Nederlandse Titel: De Dame || Audiobook Narrator:  Susan Duerden|| Genre:  Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal || Publisher: Little, Brown and Company|| Year of publication: 2012 || No. of pages: 496|| Available at , Bookdepository and

Myfanwy Thomas awakens in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, she must trust the instructions left by her former self in order to survive. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization, and this person wants her dead.

Dear You, the body you are wearing used to be mine.

This is the most interesting whodunit with the most epic opening line that I’ve read to date. As soon as I read the synopsis I knew that this would be my cup of tea. Mainly because I suffer from a humongous lack of imagination and am therefore susceptible to every wacky concept that I am introduced to. Turns out The Rook wasn’t just okay … it was a freaking fantastic ride.

The Rook is a fabulous read for several reasons:

  • There are many books that utilize the amnesia trope but I suspect none apply it as ingeniously as The Rook. While you (the reader) navigate the world of the Chequy through ”the new” Myfanwy Thomas’ eyes. You have access to just enough information to make sense of what is going on. The letters the ”original” Myfanwy left for her successor help you and the protagonist piece together what really happened.
  • The letters are extremely witty and the most inventive plot device/ info dump ever. They don’t just inform you on Rook Thomas’ day-to-day, they also introduce supporting characters, add to the worldbuilding and get you better acquainted with the Myfanwy that has been erased. However the main purpose of the letters is to aide our main protagonist in the investigation of finding who is responsible for the loss of her memory and who is going to try again!!
  • Daniel O Malley manages to make a world full of agents with special abilities, supernatural manifestations and a secret service tasked to hide all the aforementioned from the unwitting populace feel remarkably real. Mostly because the information on anything out of the ordinary reads very matter of factly.
  • The exquisite turn of phrase adds to the Secret Service James Bond feel and will totally expand your vocabulary. I am particularly sensitive to this because English is not my native language. Reading the Rook felt like the most entertaining way to elevate my English from first certificate to almost proficiency level.

I’m not bipolar, I’ve just had a bipolar life foisted upon me

The number of pages might seem daunting at first, but by the end it will feel like far too few. You’ll simply want more of whatever The Rook is. Instead of shambling from chapter to chapter you’ll speed through almost 500 pages cause like the protagonist you’ll want to know who got her into this predicament.

What is so remarkable about this book?

This book is the X-men meets Men in Black mixed with a pinch of James Bond and a touch of very dry British humor … and surprisingly this blend totally works!!

Verdict = ☆☆☆☆

Frankly, I just want more of wherever this came from and it seems that my wish is granted in the form of a book to TV series adaptation.

The upcoming tv series will premiere on 30th of June on Starz and if you live in the Netherlands the premiere-date is the 1st of July on Ziggo.

While the book is humorous and quirky at times, the series is most certainly a supernatural spy story and seems to deviate from the plot of the book. I can tell from watching the trailer that my reading experience will probably differ a great deal from the viewing experience. Don’t get me wrong I am really looking forward to the TV series, but I wouldn’t mind if it doesn’t live up to my expectations. My reading experience was simply that gratifying.

☆ = bad | ☆☆ = okay-ish | ☆☆☆ = fun | ☆☆☆☆ = amazing | ☆☆☆☆☆ = exceptional


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