Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck

Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck


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Dale E. Basye's most over-the-top (the Big Top, that is) adventure yet is now available in paperback. When Marlo Fauster claims she has switched souls with her brother, she gets sent straight to Fibble, the circle of Heck reserved for liars. But it's true—Milton and Marlo have switched places, and Marlo finds herself trapped in Milton's gross, gangly body. She also finds herself trapped in Fibble, a three-ring media circus run by none other than P. T. Barnum, an insane ringmaster with grandiose plans and giant, flaming pants. Meanwhile Milton, as Marlo, is working at the devil's new television network, T.H.E.E.N.D. But there's something strange about these new shows. Why do they all air at the same time? And are they really broadcasting to the Surface? Soon Milton and Marlo realize that they need each other to sort through the lies and possibly prevent the end of the world—if Bea "Elsa" Bubb doesn't catch them first.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375856792
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Series: Heck Series , #4
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 780,440
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

DALE E. BASYE has been a journalist, film critic, and publisher of an arts and entertainment newspaper. He lives with his wife and son in Portland, Oregon. Please visit his Web site at to find out more.

BOB DOB draws inspiration from painter Edward Hopper, classic Disney, and Film Noir. He lives in Redondo Beach, California, where he draws, paints, and drinks coffee all day. For more on Bob and his art, visit

Read an Excerpt


What Lies Ahead?

Being a boy feels really weird, Marlo thought as she dangled her brother’s gross feet off the backseat of the stagecoach taking her to Fibble, the circle of Heck for kids who lie. Her borrowed body felt alternately simpler and more complicated—frustrating in its sheer, dull straightforwardness. Just like boys, she reflected. Marlo tried her best not to overanalyze the skin she ached to jump out of: just thinking about being her younger brother, Milton—at least on the outside—made her skin crawl. Or his. Whatever.

Marlo was still fuzzy on the particulars of her current situation, but flashes of what had happened, and who she truly was, floated to the top of her brain like the cryptic messages of a Magic 8 Ball. She remembered graduating from Madame Pompadour’s Infernship program and becoming Satan’s Girl Friday the Thirteenth. Then she remembered Milton—though for some reason, at the time, she’d had no idea that the little twerp hopping around in his Stargate Atlantis underwear was her brother—storming the Surly Gates of h-e-double-hockey-sticks with Annubis, the dog god, and dragging her from her Deceptionist post to the Break Down Room with Principal Bubb and her demon guards in hot pursuit, before drugging her with a moldy cheese sandwich.

It was here that things got a little strange.

When Marlo had come to, she hadn’t felt quite . . . herself. Annubis had once presided over Heck’s Assessment Chamber, where souls were weighed on the Scales of Justice, so he had the power to pluck people’s spiritual essence from their bodies with his bare paws. He must have switched Milton’s soul with mine, Marlo presumed. To what end, Marlo could not be sure. But as she dredged the sludgy slough of her mind—still yawning and stretching from its peculiar nap—Marlo knew that her little brother was essentially a good kid, so whatever Milton’s specific intent, his heart was sure to be in the right place (even if his soul wasn’t). Marlo also knew that Milton had an ulcer, not because of any prior knowledge as his sister, but because of the waves of pain radiating from the pit of Milton’s stomach.

The man sitting across from her in the musty stagecoach coughed. He leered at her with a freaky smirk: a knowing grin that was totally one-sided.

“How long are we going to play this little game?” the old, dough-faced man said as he ran his fingers through his slicked-back hair. Marlo swallowed down the bile that kept creeping up her throat.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean,” she replied in her brother’s squeaky voice. “And I’m not afraid of anything.”

The man laughed mirthlessly.

“You could have fooled me,” he said, training his beady black eyes on Marlo. “You seemed plenty afraid back in Limbo.”

Her stomach suddenly felt as if it housed an unchaperoned, all-ages dance club. He must have been some teacher in Limbo, Marlo speculated. One of Milton’s teachers . . . and that’s who he thinks I am, naturally, because that’s who I am. But I can’t blow my cover, or else I’ll screw up whatever Milton has planned.

“Yeah, of course I remember you . . . sir,” Marlo replied. “You were my, um, teacher. Back in Limbo.”

The stagecoach shuddered. The hoofbeats of the Night Mares pulling the carriage clattered uncertainly before regaining their confident rhythm.

The man squinted so hard at Marlo that it looked as if the bags beneath his eyes would burst.

“What’s my name, then?” he asked, suspiciously, as he leaned in close to Marlo and stared into her borrowed hazel eyes.

“What, did you forget?” Marlo replied, using her patent-pending “tact-evasion” technique. “Didn’t your momma sew it in the lining of your jacket?”

“I can tell you’re covering up something,” the man spat back. “I can see it in your—”

Suddenly, the stagecoach bumped and shook so violently that the old man slammed his head into the top of the carriage.

“Oww!” he yelped as the demon driver—a swollen, bespectacled creature with goat horns and a white goatee rimmed around his orange duck bill—leaned into the carriage.

“Are you injured, Mr. Nixon?” the demon quacked. “I mean, Mr. President, sir.”

Mr. Nixon rubbed the swirling slick of hair atop his head.

“Pardon me, Mr. Nixon?” Marlo said, making Milton’s voice smugger than it had ever sounded before. “You were saying that you saw something in my oww?”

Mr. Nixon’s ashen face flushed red.

“I pardon no one! I’m the one that gets pardoned!”

The stagecoach fishtailed wildly, sending Marlo and Mr. Nixon crashing to the floor. The carriage skidded to a stop. Marlo crawled up off the floor and gazed out the window.

They were on the edge of a vast, frozen mound of water that shimmered weakly beneath the filmy crust. The swollen sea of frost resembled a massive Hostess Sno Ball dipped in crystal. Studding the distended icy knoll were clumps of scraggly bushes that—when rustled by the breeze—almost seemed to . . . talk. What they said, Marlo couldn’t make out. It just sounded like yammering nonsense.

Marlo pushed open the door and hopped onto the ice, steadying herself with the carriage. The horizon was clogged with a thick, gently seething bank of sparkling pea-soup smoke. The glimmering, billowing murk spewed from a towering structure in the distance perched atop the summit of the swollen, frozen sea.

Through a fleeting crack in the clouds Marlo could see that the structure was a cluster of grand, gaudy tents propped up on massive, swaying stilts. The wound in the cloud bank quickly healed, leaving Marlo dazzled, disoriented, and wanting to disgorge whatever her brother had last eaten all over his freaky skinny-long feet.

Mr. Nixon moaned as he rose from the floor. He crouched through the open stagecoach door, waving “V” for victory signs at the nonexistent crowd that roared in his mind, and joined Marlo.

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Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck is a clever, often-hilarious gem of a book in a fantastic series. Marlo Fauster, still in the underworld reform school called Heck, is in for a rude awakening when she realizes she is trapped inside her younger brother Milton's gross, awkward, pre-adolescent body. She has been shipped to Fibble, the circle of Heck reserved for those children who have issues with telling the truth. Fibble is essentially a circus that feeds off of lies. It is run by P.T. Barnum, a man whose broad grin and fiery pants may be hiding an evil plot. Meanwhile, Milton struggles to cope with being in Marlo's body after he is assigned to work on Satan's new television network, T.H.E.E.N.D., which broadcasts religious programs to the surface. However, Milton feels that there may be more than just TV going on. Even the minor plotlines are what make this series shine-- such as Annubis, the dog-god investigating the realm of dead pets, which is called--are you ready?--the Furafter. Yeah. If you've made it this far in the series, you should already know that there are an almost unhealthy amount of groan-inducing plays on words and puns. Religion plays a larger part in this book than in the previous. Religion's role in society is often satirized, such as in T.H.E.E.N.D.'s sitcom "Teenage Jesus," which, as the title suggests, relates the son of God's efforts to cope with the delights of being an awkward teen. It is all in good humor, though, very funny, and there is no blatant religious bashing. Younger children may not understand several of the references or puns, and may be confused by the multiple plotlines. Older audiences will appreciate the nod to famous historical figures such as Richard Nixon or Blackbeard the Pirate. This is not a book one can pick up without having read the previous three installments. The reader WILL have trouble following anything that happens. Overall: This book is iffy for age 11, great for ages above. The author's quirky writing style, filled with dry humor and satire, makes for a very immersing read that will only leave you wanting more Heck. Of course, if you're this far, you already know that. So what the heck are you waiting for? Go buy this book now! (Get it? "What the heck," and this book is called...oh never mind)
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ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.This has got to be the best book in the series for me so far. The plot has several lines running through it and not just the ones involving Marlo and Milton. Coming into each book we never know who will take centre stage, brother or sister. This time around, Marlo and Milton alternate chapters as one is in Fibble and the other is working for Satan and has uncovered a plot to bring about the end of the world. Eventually, but not until close to the end the two meet up and their stories merge into continuous chapters. Again the plot is much deeper this time around, with religion playing a much more major role than it has in any of the other volumes. Filled with references to all the world's major religions Basye takes a satirical look at all, without offense, (if one can laugh at oneself as much as another) and brings forth a message of getting along with each other. This is all hidden within the framework of the usual puns and play on words that saturate this series. Basye has even done the unthinkable with this book and inserted himself as a minor character. So far in these books, the overall theme has been Principal Bubb's determination in finding and punishing Milton for the repeated trouble he has caused her. Fibble introduces a bigger, more grandiose plot that leaves few unanswered questions and promises to be a further overall theme for the books. You must read these books in order to understand the story. Jumping in at this point will simply leave you confused. As to age recommendation, while the first book in the series is certainly easily enjoyed by the average 9 year old, by the time we get to Fibble I'd say the appreciation level of the themes, word play and historical figures will be better suited to the 11/12 year old. I'm looking forward to Snivel which comes out shortly this year and a movie is purported to be in the works based on the first book in the series, Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the whole Heck series! It's just so entertaining! I think it's the perfect series for kids like me... you know, imaginative. I love it, I just love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the first three books and book four is pretty sweet. The only wierd thing is that at the back of my heck 3 book it shows a sneek peek of heck 4 but on the cover instead of a strange bug driving the car it show a man with fire at his legs standing up as the car drive itself!Weird huh?
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Marlo and Milton Fauster have been stuck in Heck for a while now. In the last book, their souls were switched and put into each other's bodies: Now Marlo is residing in Milton, sporting her brother's acne and geeky-boy look; and, Milton is in Marlo, struggling desperately to cross his legs and walk in horrific heels that only Satan could've created in the first place. Marlo (in Milton's body) has been sent to Fibble - which is the Fourth Circle of Heck. Fibble is the world of lies and FLIMFLAMMERY. She rides in a stagecoach pulled by horses called Night Mares, and she rides with a Mr. Nixon who flashes the "V" for victory sign every five minutes and speaks about his glorious life and his world of lies. He is a master, after all. When she arrives in Fibble, she is greeted by a huge clown and a three-ring circus that P.T. Barnum, himself, runs. Here in Fibble, the lies are told that will be meshed together in order to write yellow journalism (ruled over by Mr. Hearst), and false advertising and marketing campaigns that will make humans above, on the Surface, believe in just about anything. (Apocalypstick, anyone?) Marlo must team up with a Dr. Brinkley - a real "quack" scientist - to bring down Fibble in order to escape, find her brother (and her own body), and save the people on the Surface from Revelations coming true. Milton (in Marlo's body) has gone from his sister's ex-job as being Girl Friday the Thirteenth for Satan, to running an exclusive television network called T.H.E.E.N.D. - a master plan that involves programming and airing shows like Teenage Jesus (starring the late, great Van Glorious); Allah in the Family; What's Mayan is Yours, and a slew of others up to the Surface. These shows, of course, are causing religious-type riots on the streets of Earth and are making humans self-destruct (which - hello? - is the point, anyway). Of course, by doing it this way, there will be no need to have the glorious fight between Michael and the 'Bad Guy Down Under.' Humans are simply children whose toys have outgrown they will bring the end to themselves, by themselves. Every SINGLE page - every SINGLE word - is a true masterpiece of fiction. YA's, adults - heck - even pastors, occultists, and atheists should be pouring over this book and enjoying the.HECK out of it. Add in a place called the Furafter, where the famous three-headed dog has.headed; a British boy named Zane who Marlo has a serious crush on; a boy named Damian who "talks" to his "Dad" with a Ouija board; and Satan's newspaper - GYP - which is "the news that leaves a bruise;" and, you have the BEST book of 2011! Not to mention, the moral of the story that the author tells regarding the difference between truth and lies, is one of the best lessons that could possibly be taught to children, YA's, (political figures), and adults everywhere! Quill Says: Imaginative, creative, out-there, fantastical, illustrious, drop-dead (excuse the pun) funny - not enough words to describe this writer's pure and effortless work!!! Thank goodness there are more Circles of Heck to visit!
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