Cover image for The shadows of doom
The shadows of doom


Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Books for Young Readers, [2019]
Physical Description:
321 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Siblings Ivy and Seb Sparrow return to Lundinor with their friend Valian to thwart Selena Grimes, who, as the leader of the Dirge, plans to condemn the uncommoners to a disastrous fate.
Added Author:
750L Lexile
Series Title:
Series Sequence:


Material Type
Call Number
Children's Book Fiction Bell
Children's Book Fiction Bell
Children's Book Fiction Bell

On Order



Anyone with a Hogwarts-shaped hole in their lives can't miss the second book in this fantasy series. Escape to Lundinor, the underground city that holds the world's greatest treasures . . . and its biggest threats.

"Part Tim Burton, part J.K. Rowling! A terrific series." --Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of the School for Good and Evil series

Ivy and her older brother, Seb, are back in Lundinor--the underground city where enchanted objects can do incredible things, if they're uncommon. But not everyone is thrilled at their arrival. Namely, Selena Grimes, the wicked ghoul who will stop at nothing to return her guild, the Dirge, to their former glory. When Ivy and Seb learn that Selena is after the Jar of Shadows, one of the five most powerful uncommon objects, they know it's up to them to find it first.

But there's more than just Selena to worry about this trading season. Jack-in-the-Green, an escaped shape-shifting convict, haunts the city; Grivens, a troubling game where players often end up horribly injured--or worse--is on the rise; and foes disguised as friends lurk in the shadows. Ivy will have to figure out who they can trust--before they meet their uncommon ends.

Author Notes

Jennifer Bell's The Uncommoners #1: The Hands of Fate debuted as a Kids' Indie Next Pick and a Children's Book Council "Hot Off the Press" selection. It was also named one of the Publishers Association's Best New Children's Books and hit the #5 spot on the Sunday Times children's bestseller list in the UK. Lundinor's spring transformation in The Smoking Hourglass was inspired by traditional English villages and the world-famous Glastonbury music festival.

When not thinking about what uncommon tape measures might do, Bell can be found talking about her other favorite stories as a bookseller at an award-winning children's bookshop in London. You can find her online at, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @jenrosebell.



Ivy hurtled headfirst through the darkness. Her brown curls blew into her face as the bag walls flapped noisily around her. "Seb!" she shouted. "Are you still there?"   A crack of light appeared in the distance.   About time.   She slowed as the crack grew into an opening, and then squeezed her way out of the burlap bag, her body expanding back to normal size like a balloon filling with water.   She found herself in a small, lavishly furnished room. Moonlight streamed through a single porthole window, illuminating a polished oak desk, leather armchair and deep-pile rug. Leaning against one wall was a boy with pale skin, green eyes just like hers and messy blond hair.   "Seb, where are we?"   Her brother's cheeks bulged. "Can't speak . . . trying not to hurl."   "We're on a ship," answered a shaky voice behind her. "And we're not alone."   Ivy turned to find their friend Valian with an expression of distress on his tan angled face. He was kneeling beside the body of a man wearing a black uniform. The man lay sprawled across the floor, one arm above his head, the other squashed under his side. He looked about the same age as Ivy and Seb's parents--midforties--with a curly blond beard and a white streak of hair through his left eyebrow.   "Is he sleeping?" Ivy asked, crawling closer. The man's eyes were closed. She nudged his shoulder, but he was unresponsive.   Valian lowered his ear to the man's lips, and then felt his neck. "He's not breathing."   "We've got to help him!"   "I don't think we can." Valian lifted his fingers away, swallowing. "He hasn't got a pulse."   Ivy went still. "You mean . . . ?"   "He's dead," Valian said somberly. "He's still warm. It must've happened only recently."   There was a loud bang as Seb bolted through a door, hand clamped over his mouth. Through the gap Ivy glimpsed a white marble bathroom. "Maybe he tripped over the rug and fell," she suggested. As she stood up, the floor swayed. On a tray in the corner a set of whiskey glasses rattled.   Valian frowned. "I don't think so; there's no bump on his head and no blood from a wound." He got to his feet and studied the cabin. Amidst the jeweled lamps and gilt mirrors, his straggly dark hair, slashed skinny jeans and muddy red basketball shoes looked completely out of place. "We need to find out what vessel we're on."   "There's a badge on the man's jacket," Ivy observed. Beneath a logo were some words. "Chief Officer," she read aloud. "MV Outlander."   A toilet flushed and the door to the bathroom swung open. Seb wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his hoodie. "Sorry--I couldn't hold it in any longer."   Ivy crinkled her nose as he tramped into the center of the cabin and slipped his cell phone out of his jeans pocket. "Can you just do something helpful?" she asked. "You're the one who made us rush into this whole thing without a proper plan."   Seb glared down at her. "It's an experiment--I was using my initiative. I didn't know there'd be a dead person here." He was broad-shouldered and tall, with the muscular arms of someone who--unfortunately for Ivy--did an hour's drum practice every evening. She didn't know how they were siblings; she was so slight.   Valian peered over Seb's shoulder. "Can that device tell you where we are?"   Ivy still found it odd that Valian knew next to nothing about common technology.   "Hmmm." Seb slid his finger across the phone a few times. "GPS is working, but I'm on a different network operator, so we must be somewhere outside the U.K." His eyes widened. "Whoa. By the looks of this, we're just off the coast of Norway!"   "Norway?" Valian grabbed the burlap bag that Ivy had just crawled out of and snatched at the paper luggage tag tied to the top. He read it twice. "I definitely wrote the label correctly--it says Selena Grimes--but what would she be up to in Norway?"   Seb jerked his head. "Er, parent-napping? Blackmail? Torture? The Dirge probably do bad-guy stuff all over the world."   A chill ran through Ivy's body. The Dirge was an organization that was so evil, just hearing their name left her cold. "We don't know for sure that she's here yet. The label might not have worked." Secretly she was hoping it hadn't. Selena Grimes was dangerous. The last time their paths had crossed, Ivy had almost been eaten by Selena's pet wolf. "Perhaps the bag can't take us directly to a person, only to a certain place, like all other uncommon bags?"   "This bag is different," Valian insisted. "You know that. The Great Uncommon Good are the five most powerful uncommon objects in existence--I'm telling you, this thing is capable of more than we know."   Ivy considered the shabby old potato sack. It was strange to think that something so ordinary-looking had the power to transport you thousands of miles in only a few seconds. But that was the thing about all uncommon objects--even the most normal, everyday item could be hiding an extraordinary ability.   Seb squinted at the chief officer. "What's that in his hand?"   Ivy turned her attention back to the body. There was something glinting in the man's grasp. Grateful that she was wearing gloves, she gently pried his fingers apart to reveal a tiny silver coin. It was bent in the middle and there was writing around the edge.   "A crooked sixpence," she blurted, scrambling away. She'd recognize the coin anywhere--it was the Dirge's calling card.   "One of the Dirge murdered him," Valian said with a scowl. "The label on the bag must have worked; it's too much of a coincidence otherwise. Selena did this."   Seb cast a sidelong glance at the door that led out into the rest of the ship. "Selena must have left the cabin only moments before we arrived. Which means she's on board somewhere, possibly with other members of the Dirge." He grabbed the Great Uncommon Bag off the floor. "You were right; we didn't think this through. Let's get out of here."   Ivy was about to raise an alarm to warn the crew, when the bitter whiff of chemicals wafted into her face, making her blink. "Yuck--where's that smell coming from?" Excerpted from The Uncommoners #2: The Shadows of Doom by Jennifer Bell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.