Zed and the Cormorants

Zed yellow gill sans

Cover Image copyright Klara Smith

Zed and the Cormorants by Clare Owen
WINNER OF Holyer An Gof award in the YA category AND  the Ann Trevenen Jenkin cup.

ISBNs: Print: 978-1-909208-87-2 £9.99

ePub: 978-1-909208-88-9 £4.00

mobi/kindle: 978-1-909208-89-6 £4.00

Audio:978-1-913665-23-4 £15.00

April 29th 2021
184 pages
Illustrated by Sally Atkins

Audiobook Narrated by Sophie Aldred

buy the print version from our webshop

A spellbinding slice of Cornish Gothic – a Daphne du Maurier for the 21st century!        Piers Torday

Zed and her family move unwillingly from London to Cornwall, in an attempt to support her mother’s mental health.
Gradually the family fall apart, and it is only when Zed realises that the local cormorants are playing a part in the disasters that consume them, in revenge for an ancient wrong, that she and her sister, Amy, start working together to find a solution and call a truce.

Zed Interior design copyright Sally Atkins

A really haunting story – in more ways than one. I shall often think of those riverbanks, the birds, the town and the relationship between man and nature – it’s a clever weaving of history with contemporary issues. A compelling story, full of mystery and enchantment, and readers will love it, the perfect book to get lost in on a hot summer’s day.

Sophia Bennett,
author of Threads
Winner of the Times/Chicken House
writing competition

‘But it’s your story Kerra. Because Gawen was grieving for you. It’s Eve’s story and Gawen’s story and your story but it’s also… my story. And it’s still playing out. And I think maybe you can help me… make a difference… to the ending.’
‘And that’s why you called me back from the depths of the ocean, to perform this task for you because I’m somehow… to blame?’ There was anger in her voice now.
‘No! No, I didn’t mean… It had to be you because…’
Zed took a moment to get this right.
‘I’ve heard that those who die at sea can return as a cormorant.’ Silence. ‘And I think… I believe that it’s true.’
Kerra nodded, slowly, ‘I once heard something like that but I’d forgotten…’
‘There is still a great deal of bitterness. The cormorants are angry about what happened to Eve and we, my family, have… without realising, given them an opportunity to retaliate.’
‘I see.’ said Kerra. ‘And there is no way that you can reach them by yourself?’
‘I don’t know how to!’ said Zed. ‘They won’t trust me and it’s like… there’s no common language.’
‘But in the shape of a cormorant, I could bridge that gap, between human and bird?’

In the spirit of Joan Aiken, and just as Gothic, a roller coaster read which will haunt you!

Lizza Aiken


Listen to a review of Zed and the Cormorants on Lounging with Books podcast

A Cornish mystery; cormorants, curses, warm bread rolls and ghosts… Clare Owen has given us some really good characters (Cordelia being my favourite) to lead us through this tale of love, loss and revenge, a tale of the complexities of families. It’s a good read with all the feels of Cornish folklore and gothic haunting!” – Reading Zone

“Zed and the Cormorants was a magical, mystical read that had me longing for more” – Amy’s Bookish Life

“Let me just say that the Rebecca comparison? Spot on” – Dark Heart Books

Explore the Zed and the Cormorants blog tour for more reviews and coverage