Synopses & Reviews
Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into troublea powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House.
But when Aidan arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer's grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aidan can tell immediately that Andrew's brimming with magic, tooand so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn't remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms . . . and it's only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan.
If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams?
“Jones hits all the bases with her fluid storytelling, trademark sly humor, and exquisitely drawn characters…With this enthralling book, Jones proves that she is still at the top of her game.” Booklist (starred review)
“Irresistible to adventure, humor, and fantasy buffs.” Bulletin of the Center for Children & #8217;s Books
“Shes the best childrens writer of the last 40 years. I read her latest book, Enchanted Glass, and marveled once again at how good she is. Its a tale of magic, double-dealing, subversion, and plot, not to mention giant vegetables and dangerous fairies.” Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline
“An intelligent, refreshing hoot.” The Horn Book
Something is rotten in the village of Melstone
Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. Creepy, sinister beings want him dead. What's a boy to do? With danger nipping at his heels, Aidan flees to Melstone, a village teeming with magic of its own. There he is taken in by Andrew Hope, the new master of Melstone House, who has some supernatural troubles too. Someone is stealing power from the area—mingling magics—and chaos is swiftly rising. Are Aidan's and Andrew's magical dilemmas connected somehow? And will they be able to unite their powers and unlock the secrets of Melstone before the countryside comes apart at the seams?
About the Author
In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizardsand a charismatic nine-lived enchanterher books were filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy. From the very beginning, Diana Wynne Joness books garnered literary accolades: her novel Dogsbody
was a runner-up for the 1975 Carnegie Medal, and Charmed Life won the esteemed Guardian childrens fiction prize in 1977. Since then, in addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honorsincluding two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honorsand appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists.
Her work also found commercial success: In 1992 the BBC adapted her novel Archers Goon into a six-part miniseries, and her bestselling Howls Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki in 2004. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, and became one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history.
Diana Wynne Jones has also been honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Societys Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999 for having made a significant impact on fantasy, received a D.Lit from Bristol University in 2006, and won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2007.
Born just outside London in 1934, Diana Wynne Jones had a childhood that was very vivid and often very distressingone that became the fertile ground where her tremendous imagination took root. When the raids of World War II reached London in 1939, the five-year-old girl and her two younger sisters were torn from their suburban life and sent to Wales to live with their grandparents. This was to be the first of many migrations, one of which brought her family to Lane Head, a large manor in the author-populated Lake District and former residence of John Ruskins secretary, W.G . Collingwood. This time marked an important moment in Diana Wynne Joness life, where her writing ambitions were magnified by, in her own words, early marginal contacts with the Great. She confesses to having offending Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat, erasing a stack of drawings by the late Ruskin himself in order to reuse the paper, and causing Beatrix Potter (who also lived nearby) to complain about her and her sisters behavior. It struck me, Jones said, that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant, and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness. Prompted by her penny-pinching fathers refusal to buy the children any books, Diana Wynne Jones wrote her first novel at age twelve and entertained her sisters with readings of her stories. Those early storiesand much of her future workwere inspired by a limited but crucial foundation of classics: Malorys Morte DArthur, The Arabian Nights, and Epics and Romances of the Middle Ages.
Fantasy was Joness passion from the start, despite receiving little support from her often neglectful parents. This passion was fueled further during her tenure at St. Annes College in Oxford, where lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis increased her fascination with myth and legend. She married Medievalist John Burrow in 1956; the couple have three sons and six grandchildren.
After a decade of rejections, Diana Wynne Joness first novel, Changeover, was published in 1970. In 1973, she joined forces with her lifelong literary agent, Laura Cecil, and in the four decades to follow, Diana Wynne Jones wrote prodigiously, sometimes completing three titles in a single year. Along the way she gained a fiercely loyal following; many of her admirers became successful authors themselves, including Newbery Award winners Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman, and Newbery Honor Book author Megan Whalen Turner. A conference dedicated solely to her work was held at the University of West England, Bristol, in 2009. Diana Wynne Jones continued to write during her battle with lung cancer, which ultimately took her life in March 2011. Her last book, Earwig and the Witch, was published by Greenwillow Books in 2012.