Four Weeks to Go & Where To Get Hold of The Dark Portal

This is an accurate portrayal of everyone who has joined the  (Re)Read trying to get the rest of their friends and acquaintances on board too!

Yes! We’re just short of four weeks to go till we start reading! It’s been exciting to see a few people sign up to follow the blog and hopefully we’ll get more on board as we go along. But for those who are joining us on the Grand (Re)Read who don’t yet have a copy of The Dark Portal lying around that they can dust off and start reading again, we wanted to let you know where to get hold of one.

Sadly, despite Matt having bought The Dark Portal twice in his lifetime just to collect the different cover artwork and Aufwader having somehow acquired three copies of varying provenance, it was not quite enough to keep this book in print in a physical format as of the time of writing. (This is unfortunately the case for most early Jarvis books that we will be reading through in the first year.)

However, those of you who have a Kindle (or can get the Amazon Kindle app in some shape or form) will be delighted to know that you can pick up a very affordable copy of The Dark Portal eBook. (We just checked prices now and currently, it was sitting at £1.99 on, $0.74USD on and $0.99AUD on

So, really, you’ve got no excuse for making a quick impulse buy right now as we speak.

The caveat with the eBook version, though – and it’s a major one – is that there are no illustrations. Mr Jarvis, as well as being a writer of some talent, is also a phenomenal illustrator as well. In fact, the story goes that he drew pictures of the Deptford Mice first and then started coming up with a story to house them.

And so the original editions of The Deptford Mice Trilogy all feature stunning cover-art on the front and back of the book plus a full-page black-and-white illustration in each chapter (so 14 interior illustrations in all). These illustrations are amazing, because they really bring the heroes and villains of the series to life and set the tone for the story.

So please do buy the eBook version, which we hope gives a couple of pennies to Robin. But for a few pounds in the UK (or around $10 if you live on the other side of the planet like Matt) you can pick up a cheap second-hand copy from eBay or AbeBooks or Amazon which will give you a chance to see the illustrations for yourself. (For copyright reasons, we won’t be able to reproduce them all in this blog, though we may point out a couple of our favourites along the way.)

BUT … before you head off to get yourself a second-copy, we need to give a further warning: there are second-hand copies and there are second-hand copies. It’s possibly a rights issue, maybe something else. But there was at least one print edition of The Deptford Mice books that came out with just text and no illustrations. (The horror!) So, to make it easy for you, here are the front covers that you are looking for:




This one is the original first edition, featuring a pair of burning red eyes peering out of the Dark Portal of the title. This is the ideal one to get, because it was the most nicely laid out in terms of font, paper stock, readability, etc.









Next best is this Hodder Silver edition, which came out in 2000 with the same interior illustrations but a new cover by Robin. It has a very cool feature – if you get all three of these editions and line them up in a row, you see a picture form across the spines! 










This next one is the American edition which came out in hardback, with a cover by Leonid Gore. It features Robin’s illustrations on the inside, but for some mysterious reason, the US publisher saw fit to have completely new illustrations done for the covers. While the large, dramatic-looking rat is quite eye-catching, for Matt at least, it’s just not what a Robin Jarvis book looks like. But if we have any readers in the States, this edition may be slightly easier to track down.




Most other versions of the book that we have seen haven’t had the illustrations, so I would suggest only purchasing one of those three. (As a side note, the Japanese editions of the Deptford Mice Trilogy are illustrated by John Shelley throughout, and are definitely worth collecting). The Dark Portal is also available in German and Italian.

Once you’ve picked up a copy, if you want to drop by and comment on this post to let us know which edition you own, or which edition you bought and what you like about it, we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, don’t forget to tell your friends to come over and sign up! The more, the merrier! (Maybe buy two copies of The Dark Portal, so you can give one away as a Christmas present?)


18 thoughts on “Four Weeks to Go & Where To Get Hold of The Dark Portal

  1. I’ve been lucky – I owned the trilogy in the UK but neglected to take it with me when I moved to the States almost five years ago, and then a friend of mine bought me a secondhand (and signed!) US edition of The Dark Portal. From there I managed to track down the remainders in the set.

    Although the cover is different (and I much prefer the UK cover artwork), the illustrations within are all the ones that i remember. There may be one or two missing, but the style is most distinctively that which enthralled me when I first read it.

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  2. You know, it’s funny you should urge us to give someone a copy of The Dark Portal as a Christmas gift because I’m planning to do precisely that! The cover of the edition which will soon embark on its voyage to that special someone is none other than the classic AKA Audrey as she stands frozen beneath Jupiter’s pitiless eyes! I can’t let them miss out on the illustrations! And while we happen to be on the subject…ahem…

    The editions which tragically lack Robin’s spellbinding illustrations! I remember those! They were the editions with Mouse Brasses on the cover of each book, weren’t they? I was gutted when I read that print run’s edition of The Dark Portal and found to my dismay that we were denied the searing image which concluded Chapter One! Why oh why would anyone choose to leave them out? Captured in those pen and pencil portraits is the essence of the spellbinding world he envisioned and it was unforgivable that they were omitted from those editions! Unforgivable! Whoever made that call deserves to be peeled! Well…maybe we need not go that far! Severely reprimanded perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You said it. The artwork of The Deptford Mice is such a big part of what makes it so unforgettable. I’m sorry but I fear I’ve no choice other than to shake my head in disbelief just to think of venturing into The Final Reckoning without them to accompany the story because each and every single picture in that utterly breath-taking story is a masterpiece in its own right. And don’t even get me started on the artwork of Thomas, the third book in the Deptford History series. Now those are images that seep into your mind and haunt your dreams.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Ohhhhh yeeeeeah! I love all of the Deptford Mice books but there’s no doubting that Thomas has always been my favorite story in the entire saga! The dark and terrifying tale of Master Triton’s tragic first voyage is one of the reasons I consider it the gravest injustice that these books have yet to be made into films! You’re not alone in chomping at the bit to discuss The Deptford Histories trilogy! For what feels like an eternity, I’ve been dying to talk about these stories with other fans of them!


      • Glad to hear that! We’re studiously avoiding any and all spoilers here at Myth & Sacrifice, so I’ll say nothing more, but I’m pleased to find somebody else who’s as enthusiastic about the Deptford Histories as I am. Before that, though, there’s the entire Deptford Mice Trilogy to get stuck into, and I’m equally stoked for those haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘But there was at least one print edition of The Deptford Mice books that came out with just text and no illustrations…’

    Ah, a reference to the wretched modern editions no doubt? With no actual cover illustrations either, but the usual nasty abstract Photoshop splurge (I can understand why painted film poster died out, but genre book covers…?)

    As for the foreign editions, while the Japanese editions have thankfully been mostly scanned and so their illustrations are fully available (John Shelley is kinda rather prominent in Japanese illustration work anyway) I wish more would come out of the German and Italian editions – especially the Italian ones as their covers are kinda really goofy and cartoony

    (I was gonna talk about the audiobook covers but I assume they’re for a later date…)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, I sent the book out! Bon Voyage to you, The Dark Portal! I hope that the book will have a swift and safe journey, allowing it to reach my dear friend’s hands in time for Christmas Day! Fingers crossed, everyone! (Would you believe that I read the Dancing Jax series to her over the phone? Well, I did and it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever shared with another person!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello everyone. As a US dweller, it suited me best to find a Dark Portal from a US publisher; my copy is second-hand. The cover art is by Leonid Gore; the illustrations inside are by Robin Jarvis; the afterword, which I have yet to look at, is by Peter Glassman; the publisher is SeaStar Books, New York: 2000, paperback.
    This is not strictly my first Robin Jarvis book as I have looked at the Whitby series (the first two), but I am a rather new reader. As for what kind of writing interests me, I follow a woman author named Janny Wurts who has been laboring for some twenty years over a fantasy series broadly titled The Wars of Light and Shadow; in that time she has published nine titles in the series, the first named Curse of the Mistwraith and the most recent named Initiate’s Trial, and she has Destiny’s Conflict, the tenth, with the publishers for a 2017 release date — there will be twelve books altogether. The books have centaurs, unicorns, dragons, sorcerers, witches, religious fanatics, and one sensational musician. Like Robin Jarvis, Janny Wurts has a relentless uncompromising manner in her writing.
    Looking forward to reading the Dark Portal with all of you.


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