The Merlin Conspiracy

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9780060523183: The Merlin Conspiracy

The islands of Blest keep the balance of magic in half the multiverse. If something goes wrong with the magic on Blest, it will have a ripple effect on many other worlds. Something is about to go wrong ...

It all begins when the Merlin of Blest dies of a heart attack. Or was he murdered by sorcery?

Two friends, Roddy and Grundo, suspect a conspiracy, but no adult will believe them. When a boy from another world, Nick, blunders into the trouble on Blest, Roddy tries to enlist his help. But what can three children who are just discovering their magical talents do against the new Merlin, the Earthmistress, and the dark powers they’re calling up? The dangers are great, and if Roddy, Grundo, and Nick fail to stop the conspirators before they disrupt the balance of magic, the results will be far more far-reaching and destructive than they can imagine.

Diana Wynne Jones masterfully weaves mystery, intrigue, and, most of all, magic into a complex plot that's full of twists and surprises. In this astonishing novel, the characters' actions have unexpected consequences, and nothing in the multiverse is as it first seems ...

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Review:

Master fantasist Diana Wynne Jones--author of the Chrestomanci books, Dark Lord of Derkholm, Year of the Griffin, and many others--scores another winner in this absorbing tale of magic and courtly intrigue told in two voices. In the world called Islands of the Blest, Roddy is a young page who has grown up traveling 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 to 14) --Patty Campbell

About the Author:

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.

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Jones, Diana Wynne
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