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Dark Lord of Derkholm
Diana Wynne Jones
Teen Fiction JONES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

On a par with Jones's best (Charmed Life; Fire and Hemlock), this expansive novel manages to be both an affectionate send-up of the sword-and-sorcery genre and a thrilling fantasy adventure in its own right. Something is decidedly rotten in the enchantment-laden world in which teenage fledgling wizard Blade has grown up. Each year, the country's magical agrarian economy is disrupted by the Pilgrim Parties‘tourists from a world much like ours, come in search of Tolkienesque adventure. Organized by the sinister and implacably bureaucratic Mr. Chesney ("A Dark Lord's citadel must always be a black castle with a labyrinthine interior lit by baleful fire‘you will find our specifications in the guide Mr. Addis will give you"), the Pilgrim Parties are in fact highly choreographed package tours. The local population is bullied, cajoled and paid hard cash to participate, all because of a deal struck with a demon some 40 years ago. This year's appointee to the onerous post of Dark Lord (who must act as chief villain and tour-coordinator) is Blade's mild-mannered father, Derk, who would far rather spend his time creating marvelous new animals (he already has flying pigs, talking horses and clever geese). When an encounter with a dragon puts Derk out of commission, Blade's entire family‘including his five griffin siblings‘must help. As elaborate charades are staged for the tours, a deeper magic also emerges which (in combination with some hilariously banal legalities) offers the hope of release from Mr. Chesney's domination. Thought-provoking and utterly engaging, this tour-de-force succeeds on numerous levels. The marvelously characterized griffins are a particularly noteworthy pleasure. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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more titles about

main characters Derk
Male
Married
This year's chosen Dark Lord; inept; goodhearted; father of seven children -- two human and five griffin.

Blade
Male
Age: 14
Wizard
Derk's son; wizard-in-training; working as a tour guide.

Shona
Female
Derk's daughter; bard.

Mr. Chesney
Male
Cold; bureaucratic; money-hungry; runs a tourist attraction that allows groups of people to go through a portal into a parallel world.



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