by Joan Aiken
The "Wolves" series continues with another adventure of Dido Twite,
written out of sequence. Somewhere between her adventures in The Stolen
and The Cuckoo Tree
, Dido finds herself sailing to a remote, exotic
island called Aratu, whose wildlife is so dreadful that the ship's rats
throw themselves overboard as they approach the island.
Even more dangerous and exciting than the pearl snakes, the crocodiles,
and the stinging monkeys, though, are the intrigues of a king's grasping
brother who once poisoned the king's wife and threw their daughter off a
cliff...the talented young doctor who turns out to be a woman in
disguise...the old witch, driven insane by guilt, who wanders the
streets searching for her lost son...the city where women who go out
with their heads uncovered are hanged...the peaceful forest people whose
everyday life is filled with simple, but powerful, magic...and a chase
through forests and mountains, sacred standing stones and the house of a
madman, crushing rainstorms and huge tidal waves.
Through it all, plucky heroine Dido Twite remains a keen observer,
level-headed and brave, even while the scholarly young Lord Herodsfoot
falls head-over-heels in love, and fiercely Scottish Captain Sanderson
gets bitten by a deadly snake, and good old Mr. Multiple gets a knock on
the head, and the mysterious Aunt Tala'aa comes and goes in a most
disconcerting manner. So it all comes together as a weird and wild and
colorful volume in the richly varied adventures of Dido Twite.
Occult content advisory: this story is touched by more magic, of the
animistic kind, than is usual for this series. A child is christened in
the name of the island and its ancestral spirits, for example.
Occult-sensitive readers, take note.
Recommended Age: 12+
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