“Flawless. This book sings, from the first word to the last.” – R.A. MacAvoy, John W. Campbell Award winner.
It’s 1927. Rembrandt is the only child in the tiny community of Three Farms and his two aunts grow desperate for babies of their own. Hope and Hell arrive in a mysterious black bottle, and on a moonless night a dark spell is cast. Soon after, a man wearing black top-coat, and a ‘glad-ta-meet-ya’ smile comes to visit. The devil seeks payment, and a dangerous wager is made. Until they can defeat him, Rembrandt, Pa, and Uncle Thompson must embark on the journey of their lives, for if they stay in one place for more than twelve days terrible things happen. But where and when will they find a champion capable of defeating the Black Bottle Man?
Time ticks. Lives change. Every twelve days.
“I loved the writing and characters… I read the book in pretty much one gulp, then went back to savor some of my favorite parts… this is a fine bit of writing. Highly recommended.” Charles de Lint for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
- Moonbeam Awards – gold medal for YA fantasy
- Prix Aurora Awards – finalist for best SF/F novel
- McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award – finalist
- Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book – finalist
- Winnipeg Library “On the Same Page” – finalist
- CCBC Best Books for Teens selection
“An extraordinary book. I was completely captivated. You can read it as an adult and be quite moved by a story of profound love, of commitment to family, of humility, of grace under pressure; so rich with metaphor and allegory, depth, complexity. It’s really one of those books you read as a teenager and love it, and then pick it up again thirty years later and have a completely different, equally rewarding reading experience.” — Nikki Tate, CBC All Points West
“…pulls readers in with its strong voice, richly depicted setting, and chilling confrontations with a shape-shifting Satan. Russell weaves magic into the narrative.” — Meghan Radomske, Manitoba Library Assoc., CM Magazine.
“Being an avid reader of fantasy and sci-fi fiction, Russell’s ‘fantasy’ or more so ‘magical’ creation was done is such a unique way that it was refreshing. This book is like ‘breakfast for dinner’ a combination of things that shouldn’t go together but somehow fit perfectly…” – Girl Plus Book
“I read this book a few weeks ago, but wanted to give it a bit of time to settle. I mean, was it really that good? I found myself comparing it to one of the greatest of American novels, and I hesitated. Will the seemingly unforgettable characters stick with me, even in the cloud of life and more reading and all? The answer is: yes! If anything, many characters and scenes from Black Bottle Man are even more vivid now than the day I read it, and I consumed this little masterpiece in one sitting. Bravo, Craig Russell. I hope there is much more to come… this novel is refreshing and timeless, and ageless, and I believe it belongs on/in every discerning reader’s book shelf/digital library.” – Elitist Book Reviews
“I enjoyed this book so much that I wasn’t sure what to say about it. It happens sometimes. I always find the reviews for books that blew me away are the hardest ones to write. And this book did blow me away.” – Colleen McKie, Lavender Lines, writer and CBC favourite blogger.