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by Joan Aiken

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: June 10th, 2003
ISBN: 0-385-73081-0
Publisher: Delacorte

Croopus! No sooner does Dido Twite step off the boat after a long vacation in the Americas, than she’s catapulted into a whirl of high-level chicanery. It seems that dying King Richard IV has disappeared, just as a motley assortment of enemies—including various elder relatives and a vengeful werewolf with two decidedly bad-news offspring—have allied to stage a coup, with the help of an invading army of Burgundians. And while Dido’s escaping from kidnap, torture, poison, and fire, her young friend Simon, Duke of Battersea, finds himself charged with keeping the delirious king both happy and safe from discovery, flood, and variously armed assailants. Strewing the proceeds with corpses (though keeping most of them offstage), Aiken sends the principals blundering through foggy marshes to a grand climax in which the schemers do each other in, and Simon suddenly, unwillingly finds himself the new king. Fans of the long-running “Wolves” series or not, readers won’t be able to turn the pages of its wild, nonstop new entry fast enough. (Fiction. 11-13)