The Canticle of Whispers

The ancient city of Agora is in crisis. Revolution is in the air, barricades are going up, tensions are mounting, and the new Director of Receipts seems determined to stoke the flames. Newly returned to the city, Mark is thrust into the middle of a war of words which is threatening to erupt into violence at any moment. With his old friends no longer trusting him, allies become enemies and foes turn to friends as Mark tries to find some way of keeping the peace, before the whole city descends into chaos. And somehow, he must also continue his search for Lily, who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth.

But Lily is nearer then he thinks. In the hidden, underground land of Naru, she must deal with its strange, mercurial inhabitants, whose lives are based around capturing scraps of secrets from the world above. Faced with their leader, the Oracle, who is said to know everything, Lily finally has a chance to uncover the truth about Agora and her past that she has sought for so long. But when she braves the deepest part of Naru, to listen to the hypnotic Canticle of Whispers, she discovers that some secrets are kept for a reason…

In this final part of the Agora trilogy, Mark and Lily will get their answers at last. But once the dust of battle has cleared, will there be a city left for them to tell?



This series gets just about everything right for me, and that starts with the characters. Mark and Lily are well developed characters that complement each other well… but beyond these... there is also a capable and varied cast of supporting characters, all of which are given their moments to shine.

But whilst the settings and characters to stand out, they are not the reasons why I recommend this trilogy so absolutely. You see, fantasy novels in general tend to be heavy on imagination and escapism, but personally I find that they rarely truly surprise me. They can enthral and intrigue, and indeed they often do, but it is rare that I am actually surprised by a fantasy novel. And that is one of the many reasons that The Canticle of Whispers stands out for me; it genuinely surprised me, not only in its plot twists (several of which sent chills down my spine), but in its scale, imagination, and in the delicate and expert way that Whitley ties this plot together...

The bottom line is this. The Canticle of Whispers is one of the best fantasy books that I have ever read, and brings to a close a trilogy that ranks firmly as one of my favourites. It explores themes of charity, greed, freedom, fate and political scheming in a masterful plot that is nothing short of triumphant... If you like the idea of a fantasy novel that doesn't seek to dazzle with magic, but instead weaves a genuinely thoughtful and ambitious plot in a fantasy world, give this trilogy a try. It's a leap of faith worth taking. - Crazy Jamie on

The final volume Canticle of Whispers brings the trilogy to a stunning conclusion… One of the greatest strengths of the series is that many characters who seem fairly insignificant emerge in unexpected ways to have great significance, sometimes for ill, sometimes for good. - Andrew Marr

David Whitley's thought-provoking, intelligent and spellbinding story comes to an end (for now) as his Protagonist and Antagonist make their final judgement about how their people should live, having experienced the extremes of capitalism, socialism and a knowledge-based economy. A beautifully written finale to a brilliant epic which should appeal to readers of Philip Pullman and Patrick Ness. - E. J. Reeves on

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Author photographs by Gordon Ward

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