The Merchant of Death

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The Merchant of Death
Image:the merchant of death new cover.jpg
Main Territory Denduron
Other Territories Second Earth
Special Places -
Published September 1, 2002
Pages 374
ISBN 0-7434-3731-4
Preceded By None
Followed By The Lost City of Faar

This article is about the book. For the graphic novel, see The Merchant of Death (Graphic Novel).

The Merchant of Death is the first book in The Pendragon Adventure.




This book, the first of the series, is written as two different subplots happening at the same time. One subplot is Bobby's adventures in the territory of Denduron, but the story also tells of his friends back on Second Earth, Mark and Courtney, who read of Bobby's adventures in the journals he sends them.

The story starts with Bobby, a normal fourteen year old boy, preparing to leave his home to play in the state basketball semi-finals, but before he leaves, Courtney Chetwynd, a popular girl at his school, comes to his house and admits her feelings toward him. After a compassionate kiss between Bobby and Courtney, Bobby's Uncle Press arrives and tells Bobby to come with him.

They drive on a motorcycle to a boarded-up subway station in the Bronx, where they meet the main villain, Saint Dane, whose goal is to destroy the barriers between the ten territories of Halla; every territory, person, living thing, and time there ever was and will be.) Saint Dane is disguised as a cop, but Uncle Press recognizes him and tells Bobby to run. Uncle Press shows Bobby a hidden transport called a flume. The flume will bring Bobby through space and time to different territories. He and Bobby travel to the territory of Denduron, where Bobby learns how he is not an ordinary fourteen-year-old boy, but a Traveler chosen to fight Saint Dane. Bobby meets Loor, the Traveler from Zadaa and Osa, Loor's mother. Soon after they meet, Osa is attacked and killed by Bedoowan knights while taking Bobby from the mines. They also meet Alder, the Traveler from Denduron, Rellin, the chief miner of the Milago, and Figgis, a strange merchant who attempts to sell anything he can get his hands on.

When Bobby and Press arrive at Denduron, they change their clothing and find a bobsled, along with two spears and a dog whistle, left by the acolyte (a person native to a territory who aides the Travelers by leaving items such as clothing and means for transportation). Bobby and Press start their descent from the mountain, and they are attacked by twelve quigs (animals Saint Dane uses to patrol the gates of the flumes; the appearance of quigs vary among the territories). They manage to live through the situation by using the dog whistle and the spears, but the sled crashes, and Press is kidnapped by Bedoowan knights. Bobby, Alder and Loor try to rescue him from the Bedoowan castle, armed with a backpack full of tools brought from Bobby's home, Second Earth, to make the job of rescuing Uncle Press easier, despite the warning Press gave Bobby that territories are not to be mixed (through items or otherwise). During this time, Bobby realizes that the Bedoowan live a luxurious and lazy life, as they listen to music, relax on pillows, and eat, attended by the pallid, taciturn Novans. Also, technologically speaking, the Bedoowan are years ahead of the Milago with inventions and devices including dumbwaiters, running water, and artificial light. Bringing items from Second Earth turns out to be a mistake. While Bobby is sleeping in a mine ventilation shaft before the rescue attempt, Figgis had stolen a flashlight from Bobby's bag. When Bobby, Loor, Alder, and the newly rescued Press return to the Milago village, they discover that Figgis, the native merchant, had been selling tak, an unstable explosive that is to be used as a weapon to free themselves from Bedoowan rule. The final component to build a weapon that will destroy the Bedoowan (and probably all of the Milago village, though the Milago are willing to take that risk) is the battery and the switch from the flashlight, which Bobby accidentally supplied. Their plan was to present the tak bomb to the Bedoowan during the transfer ceremony (where the Bedoowan receive the glaze), disguised as a rather large mine cart of glaze, and destroy the remaining Bedoowan with smaller amounts of tak.

They manage to stop the chief miner Rellin from setting the bomb off, and all the Bedoowan and the Novans evacuate to a field, where the battle between the Milago and the Bedoowan is to take place. In the meantime, Bobby and Loor are faced with the task of getting rid of the bomb. Bobby finds out that tak dissolves in water. Thus, they dissolve the tak and spread the solution over the stadium field so it will not be able to detonate again in the short term, except for one small ball, which Bobby slips into his pocket. At this point, Figgis the merchant lures Bobby and Loor into the mines, where they find an immense supply of tak. They soon realize that Figgis is really Saint Dane. The real Figgis died when one of his own traps backfired. Disguised as Figgis, Saint Dane sold the tak to the Milago, urging them to rebel against the Bedoowan. At the same time, Saint Dane has disguised himself as Mallos, Queen Kagan's chief adviser, and had turned Bedoowan minds further against their neighbors. The traps that the real Figgis set trap Bobby and Loor with Saint Dane in the mine. Seeing it as the only way out, Bobby throws his small ball of tak at the large supply, which ignites the tak and will cause all of it to explode underground. Saint Dane escapes the impending destruction by using the flume in the mine to go to the territory of Cloral. He stops Bobby and Loor from following him by sending a high speed wave of water and a giant shark back through the flume. To make matters worse for Bobby, the water knocked Loor against the wall of the cavern, knocking her unconscious. Bobby just manages to escape the explosion by pushing a mine cart that held the unconscious Loor into the ocean through a ventilation shaft. When Bobby swims back to the shore and surveys the damage, they find that although there had been lots of destruction because of the explosion, most of the people are still alive, including Uncle Press and Alder. The castle, symbolic of Bedoowan rule over the Milago, falls into the ocean because of the force of the explosion, most of the Milago huts are destroyed, and the glaze mines are forever closed. Thus, the two tribes can use their best strengths to rebuild and improve each other's lives (Milago-farming and building and Bedoowan-engineering and chemistry).

Bobby travels back to Second Earth with Uncle Press, hoping to find his family and carry on with his former life. Unfortunately, he soon learns that his house and family have disappeared, leaving not even a trace to show that Bobby had once lived there, so he decides to travel to Cloral and continue his mission to avert Saint Dane's evil mission.

While all this is going on for Bobby, his friends Courtney Chetwynde and Mark Dimond are on the receiving end of his Traveler journals, through a Traveler ring that Osa gave Mark in the middle of one night. Following the advice of Osa, Bobby and Loor are using their spare time to write logs of their journeys, which are sent to their respective home territories via the Traveler rings. These rings are made of the same stone which lines the flume; when the desired territory is named, the ring becomes a minuscule version of the flume, through which the journals are dropped.

Although initially reluctant to believe the astonishing story, Mark and Courtney accept it in time. They soon have no choice; Bobby's family, his home, and all record of his existence have vanished without a trace. Only memory remains.

When Bobby returns, he too must face this difficult fact. As his Uncle Press sets off for the territory of Cloral, Bobby goes with him to fulfill his duties as a Traveler

Impact on the series


Being the first book in the series, The Merchant of Death introduced many characters. The following lists the named ones in order of appearance.

Critical reception

Other editions

The Merchant of Death has been published in French, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and German. It also has an audio book.

English editions

The United Kingdom cover
The United Kingdom cover
First edition cover
First edition cover
Second edition cover
Second edition cover

Other languages

The French cover
The French cover
The German cover
The German cover
The Japanese cover
The Japanese cover
The Dutch cover
The Dutch cover

The French version is referred to as Le Marchand de puer or The Merchant of Fear. This version was published in 2003 and translated by Thomas Bauduret, another French novellist. The page count of Le Marchand de puer is lowered; it only has 349 pages.

In Dutch it is called De wereldreiziger, or The globe-trotter. This definition is not totally correct: in this case, the Dutch word 'wereldreiziger' should be translated as 'world-traveller', in which 'world' means 'territory'. An additional interesting translation was 'Bedoowan' being translated as 'Bedoanen', yet other proper names remained identical (Bobby, Loor, Denduron, etcetera).

The German version is known as Der Händler des Todes, which translates as The Merchant of Death. There were some translation issues with the title, as the German word "Todes" (death) is a plural, therefore the title was mistranslated at first as The Merchants of Death. It was corrected in a later edition by Bergit Oberg, the official translator. In a shockingly close call, the German edition has 396 pages.

The Japanese version is denoted ペンドラゴン―死の商人 (単行本) (Pen Dragon- the merchants of death [book]). Similar to the German edition, the Japanese version had a plurality problem in the translation. The mistranslation, however, has remained. This edition has a total of 504 pages, over 100 more than the English version. There was no official translator of the Japanese edition, rather, it was translated by a group of people. Mr. MacHale actually had a hand in it himself.

The Chinese edition has not yet received a title, as this installment is not yet available in China. At the present time, only The Rivers of Zadaa is available in Simplified Chinese.

The Spanish version is called "El mercader de la muerte", which translates as "The Merchant of Death", in the best translation yet. It has a total of 400 pages, four more than the German edition. The translation was not completed until 2006, about the time that The Quillan Games released in English. Unlike the rest of its counterparts, the book ends with the ominous sentence "Desde 12 años", which equates to "Since 12 years". What this referrs to is unknown.

External links

The Merchant of Death | Graphic Novel
Alder | Alder's Brother | Kagan | Rellin | Mallos | Figgis
Milago Village | Bedoowan Castle
Bedoowan | Milago | Lowsee | Novan
Glaze | Tak | Triptyte | Transfer Ceremony
The Pendragon Adventure by D.J. MacHale
The Merchant of Death | The Lost City of Faar | The Never War | The Reality Bug | Black Water | The Rivers of Zadaa | The Quillan Games | The Pilgrims of Rayne | Raven Rise | The Soldiers of Halla
Pendragon: Before the War
The Guide to the Territories of Halla Vol. 1
Graphic Novels: The Merchant of Death | The Lost City of Faar
The Travelers

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