Morbid Tale of Being a Riverkeep


“Riverkeep” by Martin Stewart is a tale of a child and his father that live in a boat house. The father’s job is that of a Riverkeep. He collects the bodies of those who have died in the river. He teaches his child, Wulliam, how to take the bodies out of the river and how to live on his own in the boat house that they call the Bata. This is important because they live far away from civilization. A lot of the story takes place around the Bata.

Wull has a problem – he doesn’t want to become a riverkeep like his dad. However in a few days he will be taking over his father’s role, and his father is set to retire.

You will meet several mythical creatures in this story. The Mormorach, a huge shark with magical powers. The Bodhan, a creature that possesses the bodies of other beings and lives in them until they die and then moving on to the next body. The Ursa, which is basically a combination of giant bear and a wolf that can run, swim and climb nearly four times as fast as a human can. These are just a few of the creatures, but the other creatures are not as powerful. You’ll also get to know a witch, a stowaway named Mix, a living scarecrow, and a few men that are up to no good.

The overall plot is about a bunch of stowaways and others hiding and trying to capture and slay the Mormorach after fatal incidents to Wull’s family members. They join Wull on an adventure to save Wull’s father, who has been possessed by the Bodhan, and other loved ones that met similar fates.

The group travels from place to place learning about themselves and about each other along the way. This adventure really makes you think a lot.

This book has difficult vocabulary, so it is best for kids 10+. It was not an easy read, but the story had enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged.