The Wolves Series
by Joan Aiken
For such a terrific series of adventures, the Wolves
series by Joan Aiken is sure hard to find.
Some of them are no longer in print; some that werent in print are back in print (but who knew?);
and some that were back in print a short time ago are out of print again (but who knew?). Its not
as if the titles of all the books in the series are listed anywhere (or if they are, the list is
frightfully out of date) and finding them all stretches the abilities of even the most advanced search engine.
I have twice thought I had read the whole series, only to find out there were books in the series of which I had never heard.
I have combed used book dealers, discovered new reprints, and occasionally even ordered a book that was
supposedly available only to be told later that--oops!--its out of stock.
All this trouble to find a few books that ought to be classics, read and loved by English-speaking children
all over the world...my sense of injustice burns within me. You see, I think Joan Aiken is todays E. Nesbit.
Anyone who loves to read weird, creepy, adventurous stories featuring resourceful kids with a charming accent
should read this series. People who like tales of whimsy, fantasy, mystery, conspiracy, alternative-history,
Dickensian villainy and Dickensian waifs, adventures at sea, in the city, or in the country--written with
special charm for young readers--should flock to these books. Anyone who has met Dido Twite once will gladly
meet her again. Anyone who reads these books will find phrases like Croopus! and havey-cavey slipping out
in casual conversation. Yet the books go in and out of print and no one can keep straight how many of them there are!
Here is my latest count of the books in the fantastic
Wolves series by the extremely prolific novelist and playwright whose adult works include something called
1. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
2. Black Hearts in Battersea.
3. Nightbirds on Nantucket.
4. The Cuckoo Tree.
5. The Stolen Lake.
6. Dido and Pa.
7. Is Underground.
8. Cold Shoulder Road.
9. Dangerous Games.
10. Midwinter Nightingale.
I have located summaries of numbers 7 and 8 on the internet, but, as of this writing, I have been unable to secure copies
of the books. I take it they center on Dido Twites younger sister, Is (short for Isabelle), who I last saw in
Black Hearts in Battersea and had totally forgotten about. I didnt even know these two lost books existed
until I recently bought a copy of Midwinter Nightingale. If Ms. Aikens other books are any indication,
I expect to be delighted when I do get to read those books.
A word remains to be said about Joan Aikens hundred-something other books. Judging by the list of titles, I reckon
she specializes in Gothic fiction when she writes for adults, and tales of mystery, horror, naval adventure,
and fantasy when she writes for young readers. Her adult titles include If I Were You, Foul Matter,
The Five-Minute Marriage, Voices in an Empty House, and Beware the Bouquet. Her books for
young readers include Bridle the Wind, Go Saddle the Sea, Died on a Rainy Sunday,
The Whispering Mountain, and The Shadow Guests, besides the other books reviewed on the Book Trolley.
I invite you to read them and let me know what theyre about!
Recommended Age: 12+
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