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The year is 1891 and London is at war. High up on the rooftops lives a ragtag band of orphans and spies – the Watchers – protectors of the city. But below the cobbled streets lurks the Legion, a ruthless gang of cut-throats and thieves, plotting to unleash the darkest forces of Hell.

When a mysterious coin falls into his hands, cocky street urchin, Ben Kingdom, is flung into the midst of this ancient battle. The fate of the world rests with Ben, but which side will he choose? An army of angels... or the Claws of Evil? Every coin has two faces. Every war has two sides. One boy has to make the right choice.

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Book information

Key Stage
Lexile Measure
Accelerated Reader level
6.5 MY
ISBN: 9781409544005
Extent: 336 pages
Dimensions: 198 x 130mm
David Wyatt

Author information

Andrew Beasley

As a child adventure was everywhere for Andrew Beasley; he went exploring Scunge Island and had an underground base made out of sunken coal bunker. Now that he's grown up, Andrew works as a primary school teacher in Cornwall.

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Press reviews

“I really want to shout about how much I enjoyed this book! As I read the publisher's blurb for The Claws of Evil, I already knew that it was ticking most of my 'must read' boxes, and I was not to be disappointed in the slightest.”
“This rip roaring yarn is the first of a new series and I for one am eagerly anticipating the next instalment.”
“I was totally captivated by the cover. It. Just. Looked. So. Awesome... The Battles of Ben Kingdom was an incredibly fun read. Great for young teenage boys, and generally for YA steampunk fans. It has a solid plot, and the events were written brilliantly. There was a lot of action and adventure packed into the pages, and I can’t believe this was a debut novel!”
“A great urban fantasy story full of well-depicted characters... an enthralling start to a series for the 9+ age range.”
“There is much colour, humour and pathos in this welcome first novel.”
“A thrilling fantasy with fascinating characters and a compelling plot.”
“The pace of the novel is frenetic, the world Andrew Beasley has hewn from the fertile source of Victorian London is fascinating, but I constantly felt like a lot was being held back to blow you away in the books to follow... if you love high adventure and excitement, you won't be disappointed.”
“Offers a cinematic mash-up of dark history, rich fantasy, steampunk innovation and action-packed adventure.”
“This accomplished debut novel is jam-packed with danger and excitement. The story races along at breakneck speed, introducing and dispensing with a brilliant array of well-drawn characters as it goes.”
“An exciting, action-packed fantasy.”


Visit Usborne Quicklinks for teacher's notes for topic work on the Victorians, and for links to recommended websites about being young and homeless, and children in Victorian times.

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