The sister is a knife thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother is an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible Aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he has carried to his grave. Cardamom was one of three explorers on an expedition to locate the legendary Amarant, a plant with power over life and death. Now, pursued by flesh-eating crow-like ghuls, brother and sister must decode the message and save themselves from its sinister legacy.
Jon Mayhew is a man with a dark imagination, who has always loved writing and storytelling. An English teacher (to children and teenagers) for 20 years, he now works as a specialist teacher for children with autism. He has four children himself and, when neither teaching nor writing, he plays in ceilidh bands and runs marathons. Mortlock is his first novel and has been shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. Jon lives between the ancient cities of Chester and Liverpool.