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David Lee Stone (1978–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Born 1978, in Margate, Kent, England; Hobbies and other interests: Role-playing games.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Hodder Headline, 338 Euston Rd., London NW1 3BH, England.


Novelist. Blockbuster Video, clerk, then assistant manager, 1999–2001; freelance writer.

Honors Awards

Three Dover District Festival of Literature prizes, 1988.


The Ratastrophe Catastrophe ("Illmoor Chronicles"), Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2003, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2004.

The Yowler Foul-Up ("Illmoor Chronicles"), Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2004.

The Shadwell Shenanigans ("Illmoor Chronicles"), Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Xenos and SFX. Short fiction included in anthology Knights of Madness, edited by Peter Haining, Souvenir Press, 1998.

Stone's books have been translated into other languages.


The Ratastrophe Catastrophe was adapted as an audiobook, read by Robert Llewellyn, Listening Library, 2004.


A fan of fantasy literature and role-playing games, British writer David Lee Stone knew that he wanted to be a writer from an early age, and was inspired by the works of Douglas Adams (his literary idol), Terry Pratchett, Mervyn Peake, and Fritz Leiber. Leaving secondary school at age sixteen after an admittedly irregular attendance record, he worked as a freelance writer for several years. He had several stories published in Xenon magazine, but became so discouraged with his novel-length efforts that he tossed away his second full-length manuscript. Thanks to his mother, who fished the manuscript out of the trash and mailed it to a literary agent, Stone has since become a published author: his first novel, The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, was published in 2003 as the first volume of Stone's "Illmoor Chronicles," a fantasy series that had been in the works for much of its author's life. Praising Stone's brand of fantasy in Kliatt, Michele Winship wrote that the novel serves up "a healthy dose of sarcasm and one-liners that fly by quickly."

The Ratastrophe Catastrophe introduces readers to the slightly askew city of Dullitch in the land of Illmoor.
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Dullitch residents proudly engage in thievery in addition to other unethical modes of behavior, all guided by their egomaniacal duke. In addition to all its societal corruption, Dullitch also happens to be plagued by rats. Diek Wustapha, a young shepherd, seems to be the solution to the citizens' plight: he possesses a magical mouth organ that is able to lead the rats out of the city, much as did the legendary Pied Piper of Hamlin. However, after this particular de-ratting, when Diek goes to collect his payment due from the city council, his request is refused. In revenge, the angered young man plays a new tune, this time leading Dullitch children away into hidden caves and forests. Worried for the town's youth, Duke Modeset commissions the quick-witted and well-connected Jimmy Quickstint, along with a dwarf comrade, to track the children down, promising a healthy reward in return. Larry Cooperman commented in School Library Journal that "The Ratastrophe Catastrophe comes crackling to life with humor, danger, and adventure," while in Horn Book Anita L. Burkham called Stone's prose "lighthearted" and his protagonists "outsized and colorful."

The Ratastrophe Catastrophe was followed by The Yowler Foul-Up and The Shadwell Shenanigans, both of which continue to chronicle the events ongoing in and around Dullitch. In The Yowler Foul-Up a sect takes root in the corrupt city, making it even more unpleasant than ever. Rising to fight this growing menace are Jimmy Quickstint as well as a less-than-enthusiastic Duke Modeset and a half-vampiric resident. Further events are covered in The Shadwell Shenanigans, as a pair of local looters run amuck while citizens demand that the duke take action. Remarking on his own long relationship with reading, Stone was quoted as remarking on the British Literacy Trust Web site: "Reading is fun and exciting, and there's nothing better than a really good book. Films allow you to explore other people's imaginations, but books allow you to explore YOUR OWN."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, November 1, 2004, Kay Weisman, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 486.

Bookseller, April 11, 2003, p. 11.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2005, Timnah Card, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 228.

Horn Book, January-February, 2005, Anita L. Burkam, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 99.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2004, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 921.

Kliatt, November, 2004, Michele Winship, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 11; May, 2005, Carol Reich, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 59.

Library Media Connection, February, 2005, Sherry Hoy, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 74.

M2 Best Books, March 26, 2003.

Publishers Weekly, November 8, 2004, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 56.

School Library Journal, January, 2005, Farida S. Dowler, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 137; February, 2005, Larry Cooperman, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 74.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 2004, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, p. 410.


British Broadcasting Corporation Web site, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (November 6, 2005), "David Lee Stone."

David Lee Stone Home Page, http://www.illmoorchronicles.com (November 6, 2005).

Infinity Plus Web site, http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (January 29, 2005), Caleb Woodbridge, review of The Ratastrophe Catastrophe.

Literacy Trust Web site, http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/ (November 6, 2005), "Reading Champions: David Lee Stone."

Write Away! Web site, http://www.improbability.ultralab.net/writeaway/ (April 8, 2005), Tom Costello, interview with Stone.

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