by Garth Nix
In this fourth book of the seven-book series titled The Keys to the Kingdom
, Arthur Penhaligon reaches the midpoint of his campaign to claim his rightful inheritance to the extra-dimensional House, where the seven stewards of the Architects Will have not been doing their job faithfully. Already Arthur has liberated three parts of the Will and appropriated three of the keys, making him ruler over the lower three demesnes of the house: the Lower House (formerly ruled by Mister Monday
), the Outer Reaches (Grim Tuesday
), and the Border Sea (Drowned Wednesday
But Arthur is worried. He has lots of reasons to be worried. He cannot go back to Earth to check up on his family, because an evil copy of himself has gotten there ahead of him, and if the two of them meet it would destroy the world. This so-called Skinless Boy is busy spreading a kind of bio-weapon that enables him to control other peoples minds, and that also freaks out the fascist government that is itself increasingly dangerous, as it grows more freaked out. The Skinless Boys mission is to destroy Arthurs family if he doesnt give in to the Morrow Days. And Arthur is all but helpless to stop him because, for one thing, he has been drafted into the Glorious Army of the Architect, under the command of Sir Thursday...the very person whose key and portion of the will Arthur needs to get next.
This puts Arthur in a very difficult position. He has to hide his identity while undergoing a rigorous training that a true mortal like himself can scarcely survive. He has to help the denizens of the Great Maze fight off an attack by a force of nithlings (creatures of the Nothing) more numerous and better-organized than any that have been seen before. He has to face his most violent and dangerous adversary yet Sir Thursday, personifying the deadly sin of Wrath and somehow take his power away without violating the military chain of command. He has to avoid using his power because, each time he does so, he becomes less mortal, and once he reaches 60% Denizen he will never be able to go home again. Plus, he has to do much of this after having his memory wiped! Ouch!
But it turns out that Arthur and Sir Thursday have a bigger foe in common: one who holds knowledge and power that can destroy the Glorious Army of the Architect, who makes a shocking demand, and who threatens to destroy the entire House to get what he wants.
Prepare to follow Arthur on his most difficult task yet, in this series based on an entirely new and engaging fantasy universe. Brace yourself as the boy who, not long ago, could barely draw air into his lungs, battles his way through scenes of horrific carnage and survives the weirdest dangers yet. And look sharp as the book delivers the series most chilling cliff-hanger ending so far.
Recommended Age: 12+
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