Synopses & Reviews
Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great-Uncle William's tiny cottage while he's ill should have been easy. But Great-Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland, and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places — the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, and the Royal Mansion, to name just a few.
By opening that door, Charmain has become responsible for not only the house, but for an extremely magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard, and a box of the king's most treasured documents. She has encountered a terrifying beast called a lubbock, irritated a clan of small blue creatures, and wound up smack in the middle of an urgent search. The king and his daughter are desperate to find the lost, fabled Elfgift — so desperate that they've even called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, can the Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer be far behind?
Of course, with that magical family involved, there's bound to be chaos — and unexpected revelations.
No one will be more surprised than Charmain by what Howl and Sophie discover.
"Longtime fans and new readers alike will revel in Jones's self-assured return to the realm she charted in Howl's Moving Castle, a riff on English and German fairytales, and its Arabian Nights themed sequel, Castle in the Air. When bookish, utterly selfish Charmain leaves home to care for her ailing great-uncle's magical house, she surprises herself by discovering her own hidden talents and ends up helping save the kingdom of High Norland from the fearsome Lubbock. Brought up by her doting parents to be utterly 'respectable' (which in her case translates to being astonishingly useless), Charmain is an unlikely heroine. Yet she easily holds center stage, even when the flamboyant Wizard Howl (of Moving Castle fame) appears midway through the novel. Beguiling enough on their own, Charmain's big and small adventures (bickering with the boy who comes to stay; attempting housework with hilarious results; mediating the disputes of the disgruntled tiny blue men who work behind the scenes) gain an added urgency thanks to the lurking menace of the Lubbock, who is easily among the scariest villains Jones has ever created. A tale to luxuriate in. Ages 12 up. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The sequel to Jones's bestseller Howl's Moving Castle. Charmain looks after Great-Uncle William's house while he is away, but she's unprepared for the house itself. But she "is" prepared for reading — and that makes her indispensable to the Wizard Howl.
When Charmain Baker agreed to look after her great-uncle's house, she thought she was getting blissful, parent-free time to read. She didn't realize that the house bent space and time, and she did not expect to become responsible for an extremely magical stray dog and a muddled young apprentice wizard. Now, somehow, she's been targeted by a terrifying creature called a lubbock, too, and become central to the king's urgent search for the fabled Elfgift that will save the country. The king is so desperate to find the Elfgift, he's called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, the great Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer won't be far behind. How did respectable Charmain end up in such a mess, and how will she get herself out of it?
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.