The Island of Whispers

General Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy

By Brendan Gisby

Publisher : Black Leaf Publishing

ABOUT Brendan Gisby

Brendan Gisby

Brendan Gisby was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, halfway through the 20th century, and was brought up just along the road in South Queensferry (the Ferry) in the shadow of the world-famous Forth Bridge.

Retiring from a business career in 2007, he has devoted himself to wri More...


Set on a rocky islet lying in the shadow of the Forth Railway Bridge, this superbly written tale centres on the creatures who inhabit it – a huge colony of rats who have made their home beneath the crumbling ruins of the monastery.    ‘Home’ is hardly the word for the native black creatures, however, who live under the cruel dictatorship of the larger brown rats who took over the colony when they first arrived in their masses from a passing foreign ship.

Of the original black rats, Twisted Foot is a rodent on a mission, and one cannot help but feel compassion for our protagonist as he carries us along with him through his trials and tribulations, until finally deciding to take matters into his own hands and make a bid for freedom.

This is a delightful and cleverly constructed story.   With his excellent powers of description, Brendan Gisby has produced an enthralling and utterly fascinating book – and one which is an absolute ‘must’ for anyone who has ever read and enjoyed “Watership Down”.

I began to write the book shortly after attending the centenary celebrations of the Forth Bridge in 1990, when I had some time on my hands.  I wanted to produce something which could be compared with ‘Watership Down’, but which would be set in my own territory.  I completed the first three parts quite quickly, but I had to stop at that point because of business commitments.  It was not until 2009, almost twenty years later, that I picked up the manuscript again and completed the final two parts.


The finished book really is like ‘Watership Down’, but with a difference.  The difference is that there are no cuddly rabbits.  Just rats.  They live on the little island that's tucked under the Forth Railway Bridge.  They've been there for centuries.  Then a group of them attempts to flee to the mainland.  They just happen to go in the middle of the bridge's centenary celebrations ...

Brendan Gisby

An exciting and thoroughly entertaining book which had me engrossed from beginning to end.  The author brings to life a colony of rats in such a remarkable way as to have me totally believing in them.  He conjures up a variety of emotions which kept me turning page after page as I followed the journey of the main 'character' throughout a series of exciting and frightening adventures.

Sometimes scary, sometimes grizzly and sometimes heartbreaking, this is a memorable book, and one I would recommend to anyone.

Marlene Lewis – Birmingham, UK

This is a great book.  A remarkable story which made my heart ache for the chief character.  This novel, set on a tiny island where the big rats have the monopoly and the smaller rats suffer in fear and horror, is nothing short of a masterpiece… I found impossible to put down…The best read I have had in a long time.

Ylva Jenkins – Spain

This exceptionally well-written tale has all the emotive pull and pleasure of "Watership Down", but with more meat to it.

The Author has successfully managed to create empathy and compassion for creatures one would not normally countenance; and with an overall plot of hierarchy and domination, plus a feverish touch of the gruesome, I found this a completely spell-binding read. It had me absolutely enthralled.

Jean C - Shelfari Member

This is the story of a colony of rats living on an island under the Forth Rail Bridge.  Ruled over by an 'inner circle' of evil fat rats, and in fear for their lives, a group of lowly 'watchers' attempts to brave the stormy waters and scale the giant bridge in a bid for freedom.  But celebrations for the bridge's centenary are about to begin.... will they make it?

A story of oppression overcome, fierce loyalty, dreams and devastation.  Grisly to the end, but with heart. You’ll never look at the little islands in the same way again.

Eilidh Bateman - The Portobello Reporter, UK

I really enjoyed this book.  Perhaps it helped that my wife and I raise rats...but I think I would have loved it anyway.  The characters, setting, and story were loads of fun.  Hoping for more about these enchanting creatures.

CWG Press, USA

With great trepidation, I began to read The Island of Whispers.

I hate rats with a passion, but under the influential, cunning writing of Brendan Gisby, I found myself reading this in one long sitting.

Out of sight of prying eyes deep underground, live a colony of rats with imaginative names, such as Twisted Foot, his mate Grey Eyes and their offspring Soft Mover.

Their world is regimented and overseen by a King Rat, who ensures that only the strongest survive by having the weakest culled.  These bodies are then in turn used for the feeding cycle.

As the Cold Cycle begins above ground so the breeding season begins below.  All in their world is exactly as it should be....

Then the story takes a different turn.  A group of the rats led by Twisted Foot and his mate Grey Eyes, who had been subjected to rape, decide to make a bid for freedom to the greener lands above, along with their offspring.

With unexpected help from the lower rat quarters, a bloody battle ensues and they are finally free but at what cost?

Keeping well hidden from four legs, (a nifty Jack Russell called Nipper) and the two legged variety of rat catcher, they set out to cross the sea to safety.  Could they swim?  They had no idea but were prepared to take that chance.

I found myself willing these little rats to overcome all of the obstacles put in their way (and there were many) to obtain safety on the other side.

Twisted Foot and his followers are pursued by the remaining rats in the colony that have orders to bring them back at the cost of their own lives.

I breathed a sigh of relief, as these intrepid adventurers finally make it to safety but again at what cost?

Do they set up a new colony and live happily ever after....

At times, the song 'Bright Eyes' from Watership Down popped into my head.  Was I getting to like these disgusting little furry creatures?

Would I highly recommend it?

The answer is a resounding yes for all age groups, because The Island of Whispers is extremely well written and thought out, albeit highly gory in places.

Teresa Geering, Author