Meet Skulduggery Pleasant. Sure, he may lose his head now and again (in fact, he won his current skull in a poker match), but he is much more than he appears to be—which is good, considering that he is, basically, a skeleton. Skulduggery may be long dead, but he is also a mage who dodged the grave so that he could save the world from an ancient evil. But to defeat it, he'll need the help of a new partner: a not so innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie. That's right, they're the heroes.
Stephanie and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces from acquiring her recently deceased uncle's most prized possession—the Sceptre of the Ancients. The Ancients were the good guys, an extinct race of uber-magicians from the early days of the earth, and the scepter is their most dangerous weapon, one capable of killing anyone and destroying anything. Back in the day, they used it to banish the bad guys, the evil Faceless Ones. Unfortunately, in the way of bad guys everywhere, the Faceless Ones are staging a comeback and no one besides our two heroes believes in the Faceless Ones, or even that the Sceptre is real.
So Stephanie and Skulduggery set off to find the Sceptre, fend off the minions of the bad guys, beat down vampires and the undead, prove the existence of the Ancients and the Faceless Ones, all while trading snappy, snippy banter worthy of the best screwball comedies.
Derek Landy lives near Dublin, Ireland. Before writing his children's story about a sharply dressed skeleton detective, he wrote the screenplays for a zombie movie and a slasher thriller in which everybody dies.
As a black belt in Kenpo Karate, he has taught countless children how to defend themselves, in the hopes of building his own private munchkin army. He firmly believes that they await his call to strike against his enemies (he doesn't actually have any enemies, but he's assuming they'll show up sooner or later).
The reason Derek writes his own biographical blurb is so that he can finally refer to himself in the third person without looking pompous or insane.
"The author just may have invented a new genre: the screwball fantasy." —The New York Times Book Review
"This story rocks." —The Miami Herald
"A fast-paced, movie-ready read." —The New York Daily News
"Readers will be skipping meals and sleep to get to the end." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Skulduggery is as caustic and witty as Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus, but a man (er, skeleton) of fewer words. An utterly charming debut, perfect for the Potter crowd." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A fun and quirky mix of magic, mystery, and lots of humor." —Locus Magazine
"A high-intensity tale shot through with spectacular magic battles, savage mayhem, cool outfits, monsters, hidden doors, over-the-top names, narrow escapes, evil schemes and behavior heroic, ambiguous and really, really bad." — The Book Standard