For centuries, Dalemark has been a land divided by the warning earldoms of the North and South. Now, with the help of the Undying, the mysterious gods of Dalemark, four extraordinary young people -- from the past, present, and future -- must join forced to reunify their beloved land.
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Diana Wynne Jones was raised in the village of Thaxted, in Essex, England. She has been a compulsive storyteller for as long as she can remember enjoying most ardently those tales dealing with witches, hobgoblins, and the like. Ms. Jones lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons and two granddaughters. In Her Own Words...
"I decided to be a writer at the age of eight, but I did not receive any encouragement in this ambition until thirty years later. I think this ambition was fired-or perhaps exacerbated is a better word-by early marginal contacts with the Great, when we were evacuated to the English Lakes during the war. The house we were in had belonged to Ruskin's secretary and had also been the home of the children in the books of Arthur Ransome. One day, finding I had no paper to draw on, I stole from the attic a stack of exquisite flower-drawings, almost certainly by Ruskin himself, and proceeded to rub them out. I was punished for this. Soon after, we children offended Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat. He complained. So likewise did Beatrix Potter, who lived nearby. It struck me then that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant (even if, in Ruskin's case, it was posthumous), and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness.
"I started writing children's books when we moved to a village in Essex where there were almost no books. The main activities there were hand-weaving, hand-making pottery, and singing madrigals, for none of which I had either taste or talent. So, in intervals between trying to haunt the church and sitting on roofs hoping to learn to fly, I wrote enormous epic adventure stories which I read to my sisters instead of the real books we did not have. This writing was stopped, though, when it was decided I must be coached to go to University. A local philosopher was engaged to teach me Greek and philosophy in exchange for a dollhouse (my family never did things normally), and I eventually got a place at Oxford.
"At this stage, despite attending lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, I did not expect to be writing fantasy. But that was what I started to write when I was married and had children of my own. It was what they liked best. But small children do not allow you the use of your brain. They used to jump on my feet to stop me thinking. And I had not realized how much I needed to teach myself about writing. I took years to learn, and it was not until my youngest child began school that I was able to produce a book which a publisher did not send straight back.
"As soon as my books began to be published, they started coming true. Fantastic things that I thought I had made up keep happening to me. The most spectacular was Drowned Ammet. The first time I went on a boat after writing that book, an island grew up out of the sea and stranded us. This sort of thing, combined with the fact that I have a travel jinx, means that my life is never dull."
Diana Wynne Jones is the author of many highly praised books for young readers, as well as three plays for children and a novel for adults. She lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6-9?While this fantasy is rich with fascinating scenes and details, it's unlikely that those who haven't read the first three books in the series will be willing to unravel the labyrinthine plot. The story's engaging first part concerns Mitt, a sensitive, courageous young man who speaks his mind. An earl and countess assign him the unpleasant task of murdering Noreth, a teen who believes it's her destiny to seek the ring, cup, and sword that will allow her to unify the land and become queen. The author then leaps ahead 200 years and introduces Maewen, 13, who is sent back in time to impersonate Noreth. Maewen is quite clueless about her purpose, but adjusts to the strangeness of being in the past and on a quest remarkably quickly. Her followers accept her as Noreth without suspicion?proving Wynne Jones's observation that people see what they want to see. There is an interesting uncertainty about whether the directive voice Maewen hears in her head is good or bad (it turns out to be that of the evil magician, Kankredin), and the concept of the Undying (godlike humans) is intriguing, as is the powerful role given to musicians. Some of the characters are very real and likable, but the events and reasons that sustain them are rather mind-boggling and tenuous. The moments of wittiness and tension make reading the novel a pleasure at times, but there is an omnipresent scattered feeling that results in a somewhat baffling whole. The long glossary is helpful.?Vanessa Elder, School Library Journal
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Book Description Greenwillow Books, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110064473163
Book Description Greenwillow Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0064473163 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0021747
Book Description Greenwillow Books, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0064473163