Lian Tanner

Accidental Heroes (The Rogues #1)

A vividly exciting new trilogy set in the same world as the best-selling Keepers trilogy, with all new characters.

Shortlisted for the 2017 Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Fantasy.

In the city of Berren, strange things happen. People disappear, trees sprout overnight. But no one believes in magic. To believe in magic would be disloyal…

The devious Lord Rump and his granddaughter Duckling need a disposable boy, and Pummel, a farm boy looking for work in the city, fits the bill perfectly. Duckling is happy to tangle him in her grandpa’s web, as long as Grandpa keeps his promise – that this will be his very last Scheme.

Lord Rump’s intrigues take both children into the Strong-hold of Berren, and before long they are entwined in a plot to kill the heir to the Faithful Throne.

If they want to protect the Young Margrave, and save themselves from an awful death, Duckling and Pummel must learn to use the magic that no one believes in.


The first in a new series by the bestselling author of ‘The Keepers’ series, this book has all the key ingredients of another spellbinding adventure … a wonderfully gripping tale with believable characters and interesting, if not subtle, twists. Be warned: it is not for the very young or faint-hearted. There are some truly terrifying scenes of the Wild Hunt and not a small amount of bloodthirstiness. Helene Ephraim, Australian Bookseller & Publisher, 2017

Accidental Heroes

Ice Breaker

Shortlisted for the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Book (Australian fantasy)

Selected as a Notable Book for Younger Readers in the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards

Starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus

That’s when Petrel saw him. A boy laid out on the ice like a dead fish with a scattering of snow almost covering his face. A frozen boy …

Petrel lives in the dark corners of an ancient icebreaker, the Oyster. She trusts no one, speaks to no one except two large grey rats, Mister Smoke and Missus Slink. But then a boy is discovered, frozen on an iceberg, and Petrel is determined to save him.

What she doesn’t know is that the Oyster is guarding a secret. A secret that could change the world. A secret that the boy has been sent to destroy, along with the ship and everyone on it.


‘This new trilogy will bait readers with its intriguing premise, hook them with its starkly beautiful setting, and reel them in with its fascinating characters. While others look toward the revival of technology to save them, Petrel’s humanity in the face of brutal ideology makes her the perfect heroine. Two talking ship’s rats make splendid companions for Petrel; Tanner’s knack with vivid names and textured dialect help to complete the intriguing worldbuilding. An artfully crafted adventure that’s equal parts thought-provoking and thrilling.’ Kirkus STARRED review, May 2015

‘A carefully structured plot foreshadows the dramatic climax and reveals secrets at just the right time, keeping readers engaged throughout. Tanner’s evocative prose allows readers to feel every dark, noisy crevice of the ship as well as the chill of the frozen wasteland that surrounds it. Unique, fully-realized characters add cross-gender appeal. VERDICT: Tanner, author of the “Keepers” series (Delacorte), has created a strong start to a new trilogy that will have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.’ Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY for School Library Journal. STARRED review, June 2015

‘The world of Ice Breaker is wonderfully realised: the clanking engines, rusted walkways and icy upper decks of the ship make for vivid settings. There is suspense and danger, and the characterisation is very human and ultimately moving … The first in a new series, Ice Breaker should appeal to middle- and upper-primary readers who love adventure, suspense and strange worlds.’ Four and a half stars, Australian Bookseller and Publisher, Sept 2013

‘Tanner’s portrayal of a culture that has lost its way, as well as conflicts between science and faith, provides a complex, thought-provoking backdrop to Petrel’s tale of self-reliance and Fin’s crisis of loyalties. These interior journeys are just one part of a fast-paced adventure featuring talking rats, a rusting mazelike setting, and growing tension, which leaves things wide open for the next installment of the Hidden trilogy.’ Publishers Weekly (USA) May 2015

‘Not since I read Obernewtyn trapped in a tent in rainy Yamba in 1988, have I been so entranced by a fantasy novel. From the very first page of Ice Breaker, Book One in the Hidden Series, Lian Tanner transports us utterly to a crystalline, arctic environment. … The Big Questions – What does it mean to be human? Do we dare to care for and connect with others? What will the price of betrayal be? What is true and worth fighting for? – provide philosophical depth to a startlingly intelligent novel. But, these layers of politics and philosophy are skilfully interwoven with rich, complex characterisation and a dramatic plot that drives forward with relentless momentum. The crisp, spare, yet poetic prose quite takes our breath away.‘ Jenni Connor, CBCA Tas blog

‘[M]anages to combine all the best elements of Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy and Science Fiction whilst remaining totally original in voice, plot, character and structure.’ 2013 Aurealis Award judges.

Ice Breaker Covers

Sunker’s Deep

Book 2 in the Hidden series

Shortlisted for the 2014 Aurealis Award for Children’s fiction

A finalist in K-Zone and Total Girl’s Toy of the Year Awards: ‘Boy Books’ category

Sharkey was born on a fortunate tide, and everyone on the giant submersible Rampart knows it. He’s a hero, a future admiral, beloved by the ancestors. The trouble is, it’s all based on a lie, and now Sharkey is thirteen, the whole thing has begun to fall apart. He’s been a fake hero for years, but when tragedy strikes, he must become a real one. And he has no idea how to go about it…

Meanwhile above water, Petrel, Fin and the crew of the Oyster are on a mission to defeat the Devouts and bring knowledge back to the world. So when the captain of the Oyster comes up with a plan, Fin and Petrel have no choice but to accompany him – no matter how ridiculous or how dangerous the plan seems. Can the Sunkers and the Ice Breakers put aside their differences and work together? Or will the Devouts finally catch up with them all?

From the acclaimed author of Museum of Thieves comes another exciting adventure that will captivate fans of Ice Breaker and The Keepers.


School Library Journal starred review. Gr 5-8. ‘Tanner skillfully weaves the three plotlines together in a tense narrative that not only explores the characters’ often conflicting motives but keeps pages turning. Solid structure parallels key elements from the first volume and clearly lays the groundwork for the next book … As the previous book was Petrel’s tale, this installment belongs to Sharkey, whose growth from false bravado to true heroism makes him a compelling central character. Suspenseful and thought provoking, this offering stresses the importance of education and knowledge as weapons against fear and tyranny. VERDICT Readers unfamiliar with the first novel may have trouble keeping track of the many characters and alternating perspectives, but fans will relish this return adventure.’ Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

‘Lian Tanner is a master storyteller. She weaves complex, high action tales that are easy to read and always fast moving and her fantasy worlds are so detailed, they are completely believable.  Like all of Lian Tanner’s stories, I just couldn’t put Sunker’s Deep down.’ Susan Whelan, Kids’ Book Review

‘Adventures abound in this exciting page-turner that will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they await volume three.’ Michael Cart, Booklist magazine

Sunker's Deep Cover

Fetcher’s Song

Book 3 in the Hidden series

The thrilling conclusion to the Hidden series: a vividly exciting fantasy-adventure by a master storyteller.

‘We are F-Fetchers, and here we stand-‘

The men’s eyes swivelled towards her. Gwin stopped singing for long enough to say, in a wobbly voice, ‘If you’re going to k-kill us, you should know who we are.’

Gwin is a Fetcher. With her Papa and her blind twin brother Nat, she travels the countryside of West Norn, bringing moments of joy to its downtrodden people through song, acrobatics and story. But ever since her mama died, it’s been hard to keep the joy alive.

Proud and defiant, Fetchers have always been hunted by the Devouts for preserving the old ways. So when the devious Brother Poosk captures Gwin’s papa, Gwin knows she must do her utmost to rescue him – whatever the cost.

Meanwhile, the Oyster‘s crew, together with the Sunkers, lay siege to the Citadel. But without their Sleeping Captain, can they ever win against the ruthless might of the Devouts? And with all that’s stacked against them, how can Petrel, Fin, Sharkey and Rain bring light back to such a dark world?


This title is a tour de force of Tanner’s brilliant mastery of the genre and will delight fantasy enthusiasts at the upper end of the age spectrum.‘ Jenni Connor, Reading Time, the magazine of the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Fetcher's Song Cover

Museum of Thieves

Winner of the 2010 Aurealis Children’s Fiction Award

One of’s Best Children’s Books for 2010

Translated into ten languages

Goldie Roth lives in the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin, and boldness is a crime. The children of Jewel wear silver guardchains to keep them safe, and are not allowed out on their own until Separation Day.

But Goldie is both bold and impatient. When her Separation Day is cancelled, she runs away, putting both herself and her parents in terrible danger. In the chaos that follows, she takes refuge in the mysterious Museum of Dunt, and befriends the boy Toadspit, a cunning thief her own age.

What follows is a thrilling tale of risk, adventure, secrets, double-crossing, mystical creatures, and magic!

Museum of Thieves was a Notable Book in the 2011 Australian Children’s Book of the Year Award, was shortlisted for the 2010 Australian Independent Booksellers’ Award and the Australian Speech Pathologists’ Award, and was selected as one of the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee’s Best Children’s Books of the Year. It was one of the ’50 Books You Can’t Put Down’ in the 2011 Australian ‘Get Reading!’ Campaign,  and was named as a ‘White Raven’  by the International Youth Library in Munich. In 2012 it was shortlisted for the children’s literature category of the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.

Here are some of the terrific reviews:

‘Readers will be quickly caught up in the highly dramatic chases, the intriguing museum that shifts layout at will, and the nifty otherworld elements. Recommended.’ The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

‘Full of adventures, derring-do, doubts and misgivings, unexpected friends and, most importantly, huge, surprising but believable imaginary worlds.’ Jennifer Stockton-Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

‘A gloriously imaginative novel … Tanner has created some fascinating characters, not least of which is the museum itself: shifting, restless, febrile and full of danger and wildness.’ The Sunday Tasmanian

‘I would not recommend this book. I am not sure who would want to read a book that has a main character longing to be a dictator, and who offered a child to bloodthirsty barbarians as a slave.’ Amanda Hope, Invergordon, Victoria

‘A stunningly imaginative idea steams into view in this new fantasy series … The story will appeal to many in the upper primary/lower secondary years, wanting a fast-paced, furious story designed to keep the readers on their toes. Highly recommended.’ Magpies Magazine, New Zealand

‘A beautifully presented and highly original volume of a new series which will surely become an Australian children’s classic.’ Judges report, 2010 Aurealis Awards

museum of thieves Museum of Thieves is published in the USA (Random House), Australia (Allen & Unwin), India (Hachette India) and Germany (Arena Verlag).

City of Lies

Winner of the 2011 Aurealis Award for Children’s Fiction!

Goldie Roth is a trained thief and a skilful liar. She’s supposed to be one of the keepers of the mysterious Museum of Dunt, along with her friend Toadspit. But her parents are ill and she will not leave them.

Then Toadspit’s sister Bonnie is stolen, and Goldie is forced into action. She and Toadspit follow the child-stealers to the neighbouring city of Spoke. Along the way, Toadspit is also captured, and Goldie discovers some dangerous secrets – secrets that the child-stealers will kill to protect. She will need all her skills as a thief and a liar if she is to survive and save her friends.

But survive she must. Because the Fugleman has returned to Jewel, and Goldie will soon be needed more than ever…

Filled with intrigue and adventure, City of Lies is the suspense-filled companion to the stunning Museum of Thieves.


‘The storytelling remains just as accomplished and the tantalizing mysteries deepen …’
The Horn Book, Sept/Oct 2011

‘The adventure and its new locale are exhilarating.’ Ilene Cooper, Booklist, Nov 1st, 2011

‘Lian Tanner’s novel creates a rich magical fantasy world full of mysteries. When the immediate danger is alleviated, suggestions of trouble to come will have listeners eagerly awaiting the final volume of the trilogy. Claudia Black’s skilled narration is outstanding. … Not to be missed.’
School Library Journal starred review of the audio version, Jan 1st, 2012

I have to admit, I went into this book with reservations. I hadn’t read book one, had no idea who the characters were or how their world came to be. Based on this fact alone I expected to write the book off fairly quickly. To my relief, then delight, I found my expectations to be very wrong. This book was brilliant in all the right ways. It was well written with clear language and easy going plot. Better than that, it worked perfectly both as a stand alone novel (I hadn’t read book one) and as part of a greater narrative arc. Lynne Battersby, judge for the 2011 Aurealis Awards

City of Lies Covers

Path of Beasts

The city of Jewel is in peril once more, held captive by the Fugleman, his Blessed Guardians and an army of ruthless mercenaries. Goldie, Toadspit and Bonnie are determined to free the city, but how can three children fight against such overwhelming forces? Their unlikely allies include a dozen white mice, the bloodthirsty spirit of a warrior princess, a cat and a brizzlehound.

The ensuing war will set thieves against soldiers and trickery against a monstrous cannon called Frow Carrion. And as Jewel and its people are dragged to the brink of destruction, Goldie will face her most difficult task yet. She must walk the Beast Road, an ancient pathway deep inside the Museum, a pathway so secret and perilous that no one has ever returned from it.

According to the old stories, she can take only two companions, and they must be mortal enemies …

Path of Beasts is the heart-stopping final adventure in the Keepers trilogy.

Read the reviews:

‘Lian Tanner is a masterful storyteller. [Her] language and plot throb with suspense and energy … Path of Beasts will be irresistible to readers of varied levels of sophistication and to both genders. This latter achievement is to be especially celebrated for the fact that it is a girl hero whose negotiations with wildness take the reader through this ferocious and wonderful terrain.’ Tali Lavi, Magpies, November 2012

‘The conclusion of the Keepers trilogy more than lives up to expectations, and Lian Tanner’s books should be read by children of all ages, all over the world (who I hope gain as much enjoyment through reading the series as I did).’ Kate Howe, The Examiner, September 2012

‘Strong characters, an intriguing and danger-filled plot, and a Museum that once again left me longing for a chance to explore it… this book packed quite the punch. I cannot wait to read more from this author, even though this particular story may be finished.’ West Springfield Public Library online blog

Path of Beasts Covers