The Thief of Broken Toys

British Fantasy Society Award Finalist (2011)

When a father loses his son and his wife leaves him, he cannot tear himself away from the small fishing village where the boy's memories reside. They're all he has left.

Thinking that his life is all but over, he takes to wandering the cliffs, carrying broken things that he always promised his son he would fix, but never did. They're a sign of his failure, and they keep little Toby close.

And then he meets the thief of broken toys, and everything begins to change.

Reviews of The Thief of Broken Toys:

[Lebbon] possesses a rare ability to force readers to look inward, not always outward, for the scariest things in the world. While we may not like what Lebbon is showing us . . . there’s no denying the man knows his stuff.
Lebbon superbly captures the thoughts and feelings of a man whose misery so unhinges him that an encounter with the uncanny is unavoidable . . .
Publishers Weekly
A writer at the height of his powers.
—Ramsey Campbell, author of Thieving Fear and The Grin of the Dark
The Thief of Broken Toys weighs heavy on the reader’s soul. This is not an easy book, but it is a good book. It is one that, like Lebbon’s predecessor Ramsey Campbell’s best, will haunt you long after you’ve finished it, and it is also one that you’ll return to for subsequent readings.
Together with his masterfully nuanced prose, the surprising twist Lebbon springs on readers at the climax make this one of his most powerful works to date.
—Carl Hays, Booklist
Lebbon has created a heartbreaking story with The Thief of Broken Toys. The loss and longing of Ray are painted so adeptly that I felt that heaviness in my chest, tears threatening to show themselves. Very subtle in its horror, but it is indeed there. One of the best, I’ve read this year.
Shock Totem
[T]his short novel is beautifully written while at the same time unceasingly sad . . . . I’m happy to report that [Lebbon] continues to produce not just quantity, but quality as well.
—Robert Morrish, Cemetery Dance
Lebbon shows off expert prose and storytelling in this tale of a man unable to find balance and what that inability costs him . . . . Lebbon packs more emotion and character into 140 pages than many authors do in works of much longer length.  Every line, every word is written by a master at the top of his craft.
Lebbon's novella is essentially pain on paper . . . . Haunting, atmospheric, and lyrically melancholic, this dark little gem is, simply put, unforgettable.
Once again Tim Lebbon has delivered a beautifully crafted, marvellously written and emotionally powerful novella. Highly recommend.
[Lebbon] is a master at evoking mood and atmosphere. There is a rough-hewn yearning that permeates every sentence, a sense of foreboding that magnifies every action.
Tim Lebbon is one of the most exciting and original talents on the horror scene.
—Graham Joyce, author of The Limits of Enchantment

Other Reviews

goodreads 3.55/5 stars more...

Author Info

Tim Lebbon is a New York Times-bestselling writer from South Wales. has published twenty novels to date, including The Island, The Map of Moments (with Christopher Golden), Bar None, Fallen, Hellboy: The FireWolves, Dusk, and Berserk, as well as scores of novellas (including The Thief of Broken Toys) and short stories. He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and has been a finalist for the International Horror Guild and World Fantasy Awards. He has also been a judge for the World Fantasy Award. In 2004, Fangoria named him “one of the thirteen rising talents who promise to keep us terrified for the next twenty-five years.” Only nineteen years left to go. . . better get busy. He has written several screenplays, and is currently developing two TV series with a British TV company. Several of his novels and novellas are currently in development for screen in the USA and UK, and he is working on new novels and screenplays.