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The Walrus Mutterer


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Northern Britain, Iron Age. Rian, a carefree young woman known for her healing and cooking skills, is enslaved by a powerful local trader and taken aboard a vessel for a long and perilous voyage. Their quest: to find precious walrus ivory and amber – sources of untold wealth and influence. They’re soon joined by a mysterious, ambitious stranger known as Pytheas the Greek, who claims to be seeking riches from the North to bring back to his native land.

In the first volume of this extraordinary, imaginative trilogy, Mandy Haggith takes us back to prehistoric times and opens the way for an intergenerational saga ranging from the Sub-Arctic to the Mediterranean.

As visceral as it is gripping, The Walrus Mutterer introduces an unforgettable cast of characters. It’s a stunning achievement from an award-winning novelist and poet.

Prizes and awards

Highland Book Prize 2018, LONGLISTED

REVIEWS OF The Walrus Mutterer

“A gripping, haunting and, at times, visceral novel… Lyrical and poetic prose, the author has created a convincing and entirely believable world… One of the best books I have read so far this year.” Penny Ingham, Historical Novels Review (Editors’ Choice)

“Compelling.” Lucinda Byatt, Historical Novels Review

“An immersive evocation of ancient folklore and ritual, this novel’s characterisation and fast pace make it a real page-turner which will keep you hooked.” Scottish Field

“Utterly compelling…beautifully crafted…paints an exquisite pen picture.” Undiscovered Scotland

“Haggith’s woman’s eye view of the Iron Age feels fresh and distinctive.” Alastair Mabbott, Sunday Herald

“An ambitious and imaginative novel … believable and compelling.” Jane Bradley, Scotsman

"A wonderful blend of history and fiction. …The skilful weaving of Celtic folklore and ancient history push the story forward, and Haggith’s lucid language is lilting and comforting … evocative descriptions of the northern seas, unforgiving and relentless … a thoroughly enjoyable read." Udita Banerjee, The Wee Review

"The Walrus Mutterer transported me to an extraordinary Iron Age world that resonated long after the final page - vivid, memorable, and utterly compelling." Helen Sedgwick

"We see what the world was like...for the Iron Age peoples ... Rian is a compelling heroine. Life for her is often harsh, uncompromising and dangerous, and yet she has insights and wisdom that we moderns may well envy." Margaret Elphinstone

Trade information

  • Rights: World
  • BIC code(s): FV
  • BISAC code(s): FIC014010

The Walrus Mutterer

About the author

Mandy Haggith

Mandy Haggith is the author of several works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, having gained a Masters in creative writing with distinction from the University of Glasgow. Her first novel, The Last Bear, was set 1000 years ago and won the Robin Jenkins Literary Award. An eco-activist and former scientist and academic, Mandy is Co-ordinator of the European Environmental Paper Network and has lobbied at the United Nations. She lives in the northwest Scottish Highlands.

The Walrus Mutterer, longlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2018, is the first novel in the Stone Stories trilogy. The second instalment, The Amber Seeker, will be published in March 2019.

Praise for Mandy Haggith’s previous writing:

Winner: Robin Jenkins Literary Award

“Moving and quietly passionate.” AL Kennedy

“Compelling and terrifying.” Observer

“A passionate and subversive book, written with a poet’s touch.” Jason Donald

“An ecological page-turner … lyrical and vivid, written with a poet’s eye for detail.” Linda Gillard