A glorious new fantasy from an award-winning author.
The story is narrated by two very different teenagers, who each inhabit two extraordinarily different worlds.
Arianrhod Hyde's world (or Roddy, as she prefers to be called) is very much the world of magic, pageantry and ritual. Not unlike Britain in King Arthur's Day, Roddy is daughter of two Court Wizards and therefore part of the King's Progress, travelling round the Islands of Blest and ready to take part in whatever ritual or ceremony is required, as it occurs. Presiding over all, the most important person is the Merlin, who is entrusted with the magical health of the Isles of Blest.
Nick Mallory's world is much more familiar – at least, it starts off being our own. But it soon transpires that Nick's not quite the ordinary 15 year old he seems, as he slips sideways into something he thinks is a dream – but in fact is another world entirely. Now, Nick's been on other worlds before (although never alone) but he's a confident type. Maybe a bit too confident…
In Roddy's world, the current Merlin expires and a new one takes his place. Yet something is wrong – the rituals have been upset and nothing is going the way it should. Roddy needs help, and certain powers indicate that Nick is to be the one to help her. And Nick is cool about helping her – in theory… but it's a bit worrying that she seems to mistake him for a magic-user.
Their stories unfold, side-by-side, each part leading into the next, and the Merlin Conspiracy thickens as the tales swirl around each other – twining, meeting and affecting each other, yet never completely combining until the very end chapters when all is finally revealed.
Compelling, howlingly funny in places, mind-boggling – this is going to WOW DWJ fans all around the world (and probably in other universes too).
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Master fantasist Diana Wynne Jones, author of the Chrestomanci books, scores another winner in The Merlin Conspiracy. This absorbing tale of magic and courtly intrigue is told in two voices. In the world called Islands of the Blest, Roddy is a young page who has grown up travelling with her family in the King's Progress, a constant journey around the kingdom. Just after she and her younger friend Grundo spot a growing conspiracy to overthrow the King and change the balance of magic, they are whisked away to visit Roddy's grim and silent grandfather; when they return the Progress has moved on without them. Meanwhile in another world, Nick Mallory, 14, blunders into a dreamlike adventure that leads him to the powerful wizard Romanov and involves him in Roddy's mission to save the worlds from the upset planned by the conspiracy.
The story moves through several precariously linked worlds in vividly imagined episodes told alternately by Roddy and Nick, as their journeys begin to mesh. Part of the fun for the reader is sorting out Roddy's many wizardly relatives from the double perspective and clicking them into place in the plot. Wynne Jones's many fans will pounce on this complex but fast-moving fantasy that features not only 34 characters, but a panther, a goat, a dragon, and an extremely charming elephant. (Ages 10-14) --Patty Campbell, Amazon.comReview:
“The characterisation is first rate, the ideas are fabulous … This is fantasy at its most inventive – canny, funny and far-reaching.” The Telegraph
“A curiosity shop of a book … a pleasure to lose yourself in.” The Sunday Times
“The Merlin Conspiracy is Wynne Jones on top form … [her] powerful narrative and her ability to create extraordinary charachers with real emotions make her more than a worthy rival to J K Rowling.” Financial Times
“A must for all Wynne Jones fans, past, present and future.” Limited Edition
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