Cover image for The Marbury lens
The Marbury lens
Publication Information:
Grand Haven, Mich. : Brilliance Audio, p2010.
Physical Description:
9 sound discs (10 hr., 49 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Compact discs.
After barely escaping an attempted kidnapping, Jack goes to London with his best friend Conner, where someone gives him a pair of glasses that send him to an alternate universe where war is raging and Conner is trying to kill him.
Added Author:


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Notes
CD Book SMITH, A. MARBURY 1 .CIRCNOTE. 9 compact discs

On Order



Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury. There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he's trying to kill them. Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he's losing his mind. Conner tells Jack it's going to be okay.But, it's not. Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-Andrew Smith's strange story (Feiwel & Friends, 2010) of a boy caught between two worlds and his seeming decent into madness is hauntingly conveyed through Mark Boyett's masterful narration. Jack's abduction by a stranger who drugs him, which leads to the murder of his kidnapper, has repercussions that continue throughout the story. During a summer trip to London, a mysterious pair of purple-tinted glasses takes him to Marbury, a parallel world totally unfamiliar and more violent than his own. There he is responsible for the well being of two boys who become his allies, and Jack must protect them from his best friend in the real world who has become a monster in this alternate world. Boyett's voice not only captures the differences in Jack's various acquaintances (the polished English accent of his new girlfriend, the uneducated voice of the tragic figure Seth) but also Jack's anger at himself for not being able to "get on" with his life. He is engaged in an internal battle that is painful to hear. But just as Jack is addicted to this world of horror, listeners become addicted to the story. Four-letter words are used throughout, but reflect the situations and are not gratuitous. One of the most conflicted heroes in recent books, Jack's story does not end here and listeners will definitely be back for more.-Edith Ching, University of Maryland, College Park (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this brutal but highly effective dark fantasy, Smith (In the Path of Falling Objects) tells the story of 16-year-old Jack, who gets drunk at a party and is kidnapped, tortured, and nearly raped by a serial killer. Jack escapes, but when he and his best friend Conner run into the kidnapper the next day, they abduct him in turn and accidentally kill him. Jack is highly traumatized by the experience and refuses to go to police, in part because he and Conner are leaving for England to check out a prep school. When Jack arrives in London, he is accosted by a mysterious stranger who seems to know him and hands him an odd pair of glasses. Looking through them, Jack is transported to the horrendous, postapocalyptic world of Marbury, where he is responsible for two younger boys, and Conner has been transformed into a murderous mutant, further destabilizing Jack's precarious sanity. This bloody and genuinely upsetting book packs an enormous emotional punch. Smith's characters are very well developed and the ruined alternate universe they travel through is both surreal and believable. Ages 14-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

While visiting London, Jack Whitmore discovers a pair of glasses that transport him to the apocalyptic world of Marbury. There he finds himself struggling to protect two younger boys. Meanwhile, his loose grip on reality threatens his relationships with his best friend and with a new love interest. Complex characters and visceral details make for a haunting and intriguing journey. Copyright 2010 of The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

An engrossing horror/fantasy hybrid, this page-turner will be best appreciated by those with a taste for ambiguous endings. Sixteen-year-old Jack narrowly escapes a kidnapping by a menacing figure who drugs and nearly rapes him. Soon after, he and his best friend, Connor, embark on a planned trip to England, where a strange man gives Jack a set of purple eyeglasses that transport him to an alternate universe called Marbury whenever he wears them. In this post-apocalyptic world of ghosts and monsters, Jack and others struggle against the attacks of roving bands of creatures, once human, who have transformed into grotesque cannibals, and Jack's grip on reality becomes increasingly tenuous. Nightmarish imagery is chillingly effective, and the pacing superbly builds suspense. Connor's unrelenting teasing of Jack (including the oft-repeated suggestion that Jack's virginity means he must be gay) is authentic in its portrayal of the experience of close friendship between some teen boys. However, in the end there are many questions left unansweredwhich may well prove frustrating to readers expecting an explanation of Jack's experiences. (Horror/fantasy. 16 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Smith follows his last excavation of darkness, In the Path of Falling Objects (2009), with a read that is as disorienting as it is daring. Jack is abducted, drugged, and tied by an ankle to the bed of a sexual predator named Freddie for days before escaping. He tells only his best friend, Connor, but shared secrets can come laced with poison. During a summer trip to London, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses that peer into a corpse-strewn wasteland called Marbury, where Jack is on the run from a horde of men turned beasts led by Connor. As Jack flips between worlds, the sickening draw of Marbury becomes like a drug, hollowing him out as an inner voice screams: Freddie Horvath did something to your brain and you better get help, Jack. A love interest tries to help Jack weather the onslaught of guilt and loathing, and yet another narrative layer comes from the story of a boy who was hung more than a century ago and whose ghost is now either haunting or helping Jack in both worlds. Mixing a trauma reckoning with dark, apocalyptic fantasy and notes of psychological horror, this commandeering novel's multiplicity is elusively complex yet never complicated: although the many gut-quivering story elements are not clearly defined, they always speak to each other, and Smith wisely leaves much up to the reader. People will talk about this book and try to figure it out and maybe try to shake it off. But they won't be able to.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist



Part One I am going to build something big for you. It's like one of those Russian dolls that you open up, and open up again. And each layer becomes something else. On the outside is the universe, painted dark purple, decorated with planets and comets, stars. Then you open it, and you see the Earth, and when that comes apart, there's Marbury, a place that's kind of like here, except none of the horrible things in Marbury are invisible. They're painted right there on the surface where you can plainly see them. The next layer is Henry Hewitt, the man with the glasses, and when you twist him in half, there's my best friend, Conner Kirk, painted to look like some kind of Hindu god, arms like snakes, shirtless, radiant. When you open him up, you'll find Nickie Stromberg, the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, and maybe the only person in this world, besides Conner, who ever really loved me. Now it's getting smaller, and inside is Freddie Horvath. That's the man who kidnapped me. Next, there's the pale form of the boy, Seth, a ghost from Marbury who found me, and helped me. I guess he was looking for me for a long time. And the last thing on the inside is me. John Wynn Whitmore. They call me Jack. But then I open up, too, and what you'll find there is something small and black and shriveled. The center of the universe. Fun game, wasn't it? I don't know if the things I see and what I do in Marbury are in the future or from the past. Maybe everything's really happening at the same time. But I do know that once I started going to Marbury, I couldn't stop myself. I know it sounds crazy, but Marbury began to feel safer, at least more predictable, than the here and now. I need to explain. THE MARBURY LENS Copyright © 2010 by Andrew Smith Excerpted from The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith 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.