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Extract

The train station at Pebbleton, dark and sooty though it was, glistened in the mist. Electric lamps above the platform cast their light upon a thousand reflecting surfaces: the puddles along the tracks, the streaked windows of the station house, the umbrellas hoisted over huddled, indistinct figures on the platform. To a person of whimsical mind, the scene might resemble something from a tale, a magical gathering in a dark wood, the umbrellas looming like toadstools over fairy folk.
There was, in fact, such a person watching from the window of the approaching train, a boy of whimsical mind, to be sure (though whimsy was not the half of it, nor even the beginning), and the fairy-tale qualities of the scene occurred to him at once. So too did a great many other things, including the sentence ‘It glistened in the mist; the train hissed, and I listened,’ a poetic train of thought that sounded rather like a train itself, which pleased him. But foremost in the boy’s mind was the awareness that Pebbleton station was his stop – the end of his train journey, the beginning of a new unknown.

About the book

The prequel to the bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society series.

When nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict is sent to a new orphanage, he encounters vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances – and a mind-bending mystery.

Luckily, he has one very important thing in his favour: he’s a genius.

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Author notes

'Though many readers have urged me to write more about the adventures of The Mysterious Benedict Society, it was only when one girl expressed interest in Mr. Benedict’s past that I discovered another story I really wanted to tell: that of a nine-year-old orphan with both narcolepsy and incomparable genius – a boy who would grow up to become the eccentric, benevolent, brilliant man so esteemed and loved by the world’s most gifted children. How did that happen? That’s the story.'

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