The Scarab Heart

Rated 5.00/5 based on 7 reviews
Egypt, 1885. Theft and murder are afoot at an archaeological dig in the Valley of the Kings. Lizzie Blaylock, a young materializing medium of some renown, and her mentor, Miss Otis, thought they were there to vacation, especially as Lizzie has decided she wants nothing more to do with her powers. Her powers, however, have other things in mind. More

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About Michael Gallagher

Michael Gallagher is the author of two series of novels set in Victorian times. “Send for Octavius Guy” chronicles the attempts of fourteen-year-old Gooseberry—reformed master pickpocket—to become a detective, aided and abetted by his ragtag bunch of friends. “The Involuntary Medium” follows the fortunes of young Lizzie Blaylock, a girl who can materialize the spirits of the dead, as she strives to come to terms with her unique gift.
For twenty-five years Michael taught adults with learning disabilities at Bede, a London-based charity that works with the local community. He now writes full time. Follow Octavius Guy @sendforOctavius. Author photo courtesy of Elaine Jeffs.


The Involuntary Medium
Praise for the series "The Involuntary Medium"

About the Series: The Involuntary Medium
When thirteen-year-old Lizzie Blaylock starts having fits, she and those around her slowly begin to realize that she may have special powers…powers to communicate with the dead.

Also in Series: The Involuntary Medium

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Review by: Paula Fetty-King on April 27, 2014 :
Fantastically written addition to the Lizzie Baylock series!! As much as I loved The Book of Dead Things ~ I adored The Scarab Heart! These books are marvelous, really and truly something special! Lizzie Baylock is a Victorian teen who can bring dead people back to the living temporarily. This is a talent she discovered in book 1. In this adventure, she travels with her blind and aging mentor, Miss Ottis to an archaeological dig in Egypt. I love accurately based historical fiction so this was a real treat for me. Ancient Egypt is a fascinating subject in itself, but bringing in our young medium, and giving her even another 'special gift' was dazzling. Once again Lizzie finds herself learning of young love as a side note, not the main event. Which is quite refreshing. This story is amazing ~ the fact that this young girl has to navigate the current mystery with an ancient one gives it real depth. Loved, Loved, Loved it!

I would recommend this book to any and all. I love this series of YA historical fiction, that Michael Gallagher has created, and can not wait to read the next one.... whatever will Lizzie get up to now?
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
Review by: Thora Foy on Dec. 4, 2013 :
Mr Gallagher - What a cracking book! A story full of murder, mystery and mayhem.
A plot of twists and turns; enough red herrings to make Agatha Christie green with envy.
I have learnt more about Egyptian ancient history from your book, than I ever learnt at school.
The machinations and plotting that went on in the Pharoh's court; the structure of that hierarchy of Egyptian lives, and just how fragile their authority could be.
Also how excavations in Victorian times were carried out, regardless of the fact that Europeans were actually "tomb robbers" too!
Within the story is a great moral theme of consequences - every thought, action and deed....
This book is not just for young readers - every adult reading it can learn about themselves and the role they play in their own lives.
Let us not forget out heroine - Lizzie. She is somewhat reluctant, but knows in her heart, that good must overcome evil.
She does not disappoint!
(reviewed 43 days after purchase)
Review by: Stephen Heskin on Nov. 25, 2013 :
It is simply extraordinary. An unexpected twist but credible instalment in young Lizzie's unusual but interesting journey.
Credit to Mr Gallaghe's research and attention to detail.

The plot unfolds effortlessly and hooks you from the off.

This is a sequel which surprised and delighted.

I am full anticipation for the next Lizzie Blaylock chronicle.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Review by: Emilious Tarr on Nov. 9, 2013 :
Disclaimer: I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Scarab Heart by Michael Gallagher is a Paranormal YA Mystery in a Victorian setting. While this is a second book, you don't need to have read the first book to understand what's going on, although if you read this book first, as I did, I suspect you soon will be acquiring it's predecessor (The Bridge of Dead Things, reviewed at It is obvious that the author did his homework, I'm a bit of a Victorian buff and reenactor, and the details, dialog, and characters are all appropriate to the period.

While this is a young adult novel, and my initial interest was from the perspective of being the designated "pre-reader" for my 8 grandchildren, this book has plenty of depth and complexity to keep the adults interested as well. The action flows smoothly, the plot develops nicely, and all the loose ends are tied up in the end as they should be in a well written whodunnit.

The author does an excellent job of reviewing the book at, I'll not attempt to recreate that review, but if you want more about the actual story it's the place to look.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Larabird on Oct. 28, 2013 :
Firstly I want to say how very impressed I am with the amount of research that has been undertaken. Every effort seems to have been made to contain the actions and beliefs of all the characters in keeping with the period the novel is set in.
Lizzie's adventures on an Egyptian archaeological dig can be read as a mystery, every episode providing clues as the story unfolds. The writing flows naturally and kept my interest throughout. Also embedded in the novel is Merit's story, an ancient Egyptian Princess and her history is very adeptly used to define Lizzie's actions on the Dig.
So well has the individual characters been described that when I got to the end of the novel, I realised how cleverly the author has covered his tracks to give us a surprise ending. And Lizzie is now ready for her next adventure as I gather more is to come.
(reviewed 45 days after purchase)
Review by: Midge Mum on Oct. 23, 2013 :
The story starts quite slowly but as soon as the wind begins to blow in Ancient Egypt it quickly becomes a hurricane that will not stop. An awesome blend of history, mystery and love story in turns. I loved the first book but OMG even if some of my favourite characters don’t make a reappearance in this one, I think it’s better. Can’t wait for the third.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
Review by: Monica Fellowes on Sep. 15, 2013 :
Theft and murder are afoot at an archaeological dig in 1885 Egypt. Lizzie Blaylock, world renowned ghost channeler, and her mentor, Miss Otis, thought they were simply there to vacation, especially since Lizzie wants nothing more to do with her powers. Her powers have other things in mind.

The story is full of rich and varied scenes and characters. Action and plot line flow smoothly. Authentic interactions between characters occur frequently helping to add to the suspense and budding romances. Time and dream/reality shifts smoothly transition in the text causing little to no confusion.

Overall, a fun read!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
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