If the final Almanack entry were the finale of this project…

…then let this be the lingering, sinister epilogue with a heart-wrenching plot-twist to turn the peeling blade at the last.

When Matt first suggested an online Robin Jarvis book group to me, one dismal September morning in 2016, I was checking out of a dingy hotel in a dingier seaside town after a publisher’s convention, and it was the best pitch I’d heard all weekend. As the project progressed, growing and writhing like the Dark Despoiler yet unborn, we found ourselves so caught up in the adventure of its day-to-day running that, apart from a monthly eyeball over the schedule, neither of us really gave much thought to the fact that we would, at some point, run out of books.

Now, after several cross-country moves and a veritable kaleidoscope of momentous life events, we have, impossible though it seems, come to the end of the Great Grand Robin Jarvis Reread. We have flown with Valkyrja and drowned with Deep Ones. We have gone to war in the name of the Green; of the Mighty Three, of the High Lady of the Hollow Hill. We have crossed the Outer Dark and rolled away the sun, to stand at last before Myth and Sacrifice and make the choice to be ordinary heroes.

Now I raise my cup as co-writer; a berrybrew toast to Matt, without whom the Great Grand Reread would never have been at all. It was your creativity and insight which brought this project to life, and without you I would still probably be languishing on chapter seven of The Dark Portal. With the patience and wisdom of a Master of Motive Science, you kept the ichors of this blog aligned and the gears turning – I merely polished the casing!

Another toast (perhaps with acorn cups?) to the tireless and devoted Starshine Squirrel, who not only saw the Reread through right from the beginning, but who has also been quietly crafting the marvellous, the magnificent, Deptford Mice Wiki. A vast and extremely useful resource for both the questing fan and bumbling bloggers such as Matt and I, it has grown with the Reread, watched over by its very own Handmaiden of Orion. Patricia, long may you reign.

Finally, and with trumpeting fanfare, to Mr Jarvis, sometime Sir Robin; author, artist, merciless murderer of mice. But for your Greenly grace goes this project, and but for your kind encouragement and avid attention to every chapter, who knows whether we would have had the wherewithal to carry through so epic an undertaking.

Honoured are we, humble Matt and humble Aufwader, to have had your unwavering support throughout, and honoured are we now to have a place online among your titles past and present. Green knows we have not enough words in our thesaurus to thank you for everything you have done, and continue to do, for your fans. Fair weather and fine writing to you Sirrah – sharp be your pencils and bright your lamps in the ravenous dark.

So concludes the Great Grand Reread, that is, until the finale of the Witching Legacy goes to print and we all start up again like Fennywolders peering out into the wan Spring sunshine. And here perhaps, comes the plot twist, for Matt and I have a few scratchings and scufflings planned before that eagerly-awaited day dawns. While all of Mr Jarvis’ books are present and correct, not all his writing is yet accounted for, nor indeed have we unearthed the many remarkable adaptations of his work which have shown themselves since he first divided The Dark Portal into a trilogy back in 1989. And what, then, lies beyond? Why, a silvering sea of possibility, Readers all.

myth & sacrifice.

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The Deptford Mice Almanack | December

the deptford mice almanack _0014
What sinister darkness lies in store for us all? Audrey Scuttle was placed upon the Living Throne by the Green himself, a madness has consumed the folk of Greenwich and I fear for what will undoubtedly befall them. A distant, unpleasant place has my home become, and I shall not spend the eve here!

Aufwader’s Thoughts: So we finally come to the death of one year and the birth of another. When the Almanack was published in 1997, we Robin Jarvis fans could not have known that in four years time we would depart from the rodenty world of Deptford and Greenwich, to crash-land in an entirely new, reflected, realm for a new millennium. We could not have guessed at the fire and bloodshed and adult themes which awaited us, first in the be-ruffed players of Deathscent, and then in stubborn stain of the Dancing Jax trilogy. Back in 1997, none of us, perhaps not even Mr Jarvis himself, supposed that a return to the looming crags of Whitby would be in the offing, over twenty years after The Whitby Child first terrified young readers. And maybe, in light of War in Hagwood, some of us returned to the Mouselets with renewed optimism that the Deptford Mice finale the Almanack promised would see the light of day after all. 

For myself, the ending of the Almanack is basically perfect, and the only Deptford Mice closure I’ll ever require. Looking back on the whole of Robin Jarvis canon after two years of reading and writing my way through it, I would say that his greatest strength and brightest talent is his ability to hone in on one particular story and tell it well, while still giving the impression of thousands of other stories, happening off-page, but happening nonetheless. Robin Jarvis books come to an end, but life goes on in the worlds he has created, long after the reader has reached the last page.

Gervase gets up from his desk, puts on his squirrelly scarf against the weather, and goes to visit Thomas Triton. They have a drink, the bells chime. Somewhere out in the night, Modequai and Morella weave their devilish schemes. The Greenwich sentries chatter and wail. The rats of Deptford mutter about thrones and bones and daggers with amethyst pommels dredged up on the banks of the Thames. Perhaps Audrey seeks shelter with her brother Arthur and his family in Holeborn. Parhaps she flees into the dark. 

Matt’s Thoughts: Well, I figured something bad was on its way, but I wasn’t sure what! Now I understand why everyone who reads the Almanack is hanging out for more Deptford books.

The fact that we got prequels instead (the Mouselets series) does make me think that we were going to be set up for the return of Mabb (and perhaps Hobb as well) for any future books. And I’m assuming that Morella is perhaps Alison Sedge, possessed by Mabb and transformed into a squirrel somehow?

Well, I guess until Mr Jarvis decides to tell that tale, we’ll either have to wait and see or imagine how such a showdown would play out. 

And given that we’re still patiently (well, almost patiently) waiting for the final Witching Legacy book, that might be a while in coming.

Finally, what a cleverly done last twist. Here Thomas has been set up as the alcoholic loser all year long and now it’s Gervase that goes and joins him in hitting up the bottle. What an ironic way to finish the Almanack!