Book Review: The Sinister Booksellers of Bath – Garth Nix

Book Review: The Sinister Booksellers of Bath – Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London #2
Release Date: March 21st 2023
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars


There is often trouble of a mythical sort in Bath. The booksellers who police the Old World keep a careful watch there, particularly on the entity who inhabits the ancient hot spring. Yet this time it is not from Sulis Minerva that trouble starts. It comes from the discovery of a sorcerous map, leading left-handed bookseller Merlin into great danger. A desperate rescue is attempted by his sister the right-handed bookseller Vivien and their friend, art student Susan Arkshaw, who is still struggling to deal with her own recently discovered magical heritage.

The map takes the trio to a place separated from this world, maintained by deadly sorcery performed by an ancient sovereign and guarded by monstrous living statues of Portland Stone. But this is only the beginning, as the booksellers investigate centuries of disappearances and deaths and try to unravel the secrets of the murderous Lady of Stone, a serial killer of awesome powers.

If they do not stop her, she will soon kill again. And this time, her target is not an ordinary mortal.


Garth Nix is back with an all new fantasy adventure featuring Susan Arkshaw and the mysterious booksellers. Picking up after the events of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, the story follows Susan, Merlin and Viven as they are transported to a strange house taken out of time. There they find a series of murders have taken place and an ancient sovereign with the ability to animate stone. The ancient sovereign takes an interest in Susan and together with the help of the other booksellers, the trio must find a way to stop the Lady of Stone before she kills again.

I really enjoyed The Left-Handed Booksellers of London so I immediately picked up the sequel. This installment is just as action packed, featuring plenty of shoot outs, battles with mythical monsters and clever puzzles. This one felt particularly fast paced and I found myself turning pages quicker and quicker because I was so intrigued by the story. The plot is well executed and I enjoyed getting to know more about the magic that the booksellers and ancient sovereigns possess. Garth Nix continues to be one of my favourite authors, with all of his books delivering engaging storylines and compelling characters.

We stick with the three main protagonists as the previous book and Susan in particular feels well developed. I was really fascinated by her storyline, coming into her powers and trying to find a balance between living her normal every day life as an art student and the lure she feels towards her father’s powers. The story comes to a satisfying conclusion and was a really fun and engrossing read – I would love to read more about Susan and the booksellers and hope Nix continues to write more books in this world.


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