“compelling and entertaining” – review of Thomas Silent on Risingshadow

Cover by Alison Buck
Cover by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Ben Gribbin’s novel Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids. When he started to read it he found it to be such a “compelling and entertaining fairy-tale-like story” that he read it in one sitting, and by the end “I could only think of what a fine and absorbing story I had just read” he says.

At the start of his review Seregil describes it as a “good old-fashioned yet modern fairy-tale adventure which is told in a heartwarming and pleasant manner”, adding that it will delight readers of all ages. Ben has, he says, “created his own original vision” of mermaids in an “irresistible” novel, adding that it is such an interesting version of mermaids and mermen because “he writes about people who live in a parallel realm, but sometimes visit our world”.

Although Thomas Silent may appear to be a young adult or children’s fairy-tale, Seregil says it “transcends the normal boundaries” of such fiction by being a story that also attracts adult readers. Tom is a classic heroic protagonist who will appeal to young readers. As well as being an adventure story it’s also a ‘coming of age’ story as Tom discovers who he truly is and what he must do, and as such will appeal to older readers too.

Seregil compliments Ben on how he “writes fluently about Tom’s life” and the “realistic way” in which relationships are handled. He says that Ben writes “intriguingly” about Tom, Coralie and Phillimore and their relationship. He says that the story is “simple, but beautiful” and that “Ben Gribbin’s prose flows easily and his writing style feels entertaining”, with elements of “wistfulness” and “lyrical beauty” that are “seldom found in young adult fantasy fiction”.

In conclusion, Seregil says that he hopes to read more from Ben Gribbin and recommends Thomas Silent as an adventure for the whole family. It has, he says, a simple beauty and “captivating allure” that will charm readers of any age who have “a child-like fascination with fantasy stories” as it takes them on a “magical journey to a parallel realm”.

You can read the whole of Seregil’s review here.


Thomas Silent, or Why there are no more mermaids – enthralling tale for teenagers from Ben Gribbin

This tale of real mermaids and mermen is perfect for every teenager who knows they are special and have a great destiny waiting for them. We’ve all looked out from a beach and wondered what is over the sea, but so very few of us find out as Tom does.

DARTFORD, KENT – 27 November 2015 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids by Ben Gribbin.

Cover by Alison Buck
Cover by Alison Buck

When widower Angelo found a small baby on the beach twelve years ago, he decided to bring him up as his own son. A sign around the baby’s neck said ‘THOMAS SILENT’, so that was the name he was given. Apart from other people’s curiosity about his name, Tom’s life so far had been happy and uneventful. When he wasn’t at school, Tom would help Angelo run the café in his beachside shack. One sunday morning, Tom was in the café on his own when a tall, thin, old man called Phillimore came in to escape from the rain. He showed Tom seven bright blue-green stones that he claimed came from a mermaid’s necklace. When Tom held one of the stones he could almost feel the rise and fall of the ocean. Phillimore left and Tom thought no more about the stones or the strange old man until Angelo died and the café shack was closed.

Six months later, when Tom visits the deserted shack, he finds an envelope from Angelo and discovers what else had been found with the baby on the beach. Tom’s simple life suddenly becomes a mysterious adventure that starts with a magical night-time swim to the shore of a strange land. He meets Coralie, a girl hiding in the caves on the beach with Phillimore. The people of the land are held captive to the will of an evil tyrant whose power comes from more of the blue-green stones, which he has been hoarding in the city of Murmur. Tom realises that he, Thomas Silent, is the only one who can defeat the tyrant and save the people of Murmur. But first he must understand the power of the sea-stones and discover his true self.

Pete Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press said “This delightful tale will enthrall any teenager who knows that they are special and have a great destiny waiting for them. We have all looked out from a beach and wondered what is over the sea, but so very few of us find out as Tom does. Ben not only captures the magic of the sea that is so special to him, but also uses it to propel every reader into a strange world alongside Tom; a world where the choice between right and wrong is not clear-cut and Tom’s actions could have both personal and global consequences.”

Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids is available from today on all popular eBook platforms. It will be out in paperback in February 2016.

Notes for Editors

About Ben Gribbin

Ben GribbinBen Gribbin first fell in love with the sea when he was born in Brighton in 1976. Fascinated by fantasy and still in love with the sea, he uses these as major themes in his writing, particularly his poetry. He took his love for the sea with him when he studied at Trinity College, Dublin, for an MPhil in Creative Writing and Publishing, and spent any time not writing, or drinking Guinness, gazing wistfully at the beautiful Eastern Irish Coast.

Whilst living in London and pursuing a career in helping other people to publish their writing at a major publishing house, Ben wrote the first draft of Thomas Silent. Several rewrites, 4 house moves, one wedding and 3 children later, Ben is excited to see his work in print.

Ben has had poetry published in Magma, and The Irish Poetry Review. He also had The Sad Happy Tale of Aberystwyth the Bat, a novella for children, published in 2015.

Ben continues to love writing and the sea, working in his small box room in rural East Sussex, where he lives with his wife and children.