Dido and Piers are on a mission to find a claimant to the throne of England because the current king would rather be a painter. It is the same alternate England of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and its sequels, where a different line of kings rule, Picts and other ancient peoples can attack at any time, and much of the land is still primitive, though traversed with railways, coaches, and A-roads. Witches, monsters, and strange creatures like the man-eating Hobyahs also populate this magical adventure. Aiken is a master of the traditional British fantasy and she does not disappoint here. Her alternate world is carefully constructed so the characters and events are delightful and perfectly plausible within that world. Although many young American readers may find the "cant" or slang expressions and the references to British history and culture difficult to decipher, fans of the genre, and of Aiken in particular, are sure to revel in this lively and lighthearted fantasy. She will be greatly missed. (Fiction. 10+) Read full book review >
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