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Groups of tourists, called Pilgrim Parties and organized by the cold-hearted profiteer Mr. Chesney, take a portal to the magical realm, where they are shepherded about the countryside by a wizard guide. Mr. Chesney sets the rules, such as that all wizard guides must have long white beards--even 14-year-old Blade--and every Party gets to "slay" the Dark Lord. No wizard wants to be chosen as the year's Dark Lord, because Mr. Chesney demands large battles that cause great devastation in the local villages and farms, and he doesn't pay very well, but he does have a captive demon to enforce his will. This year, things are going especially badly for the chosen Dark Lord, Derk. He can't seem to keep his evil forces on the right track, despite help from his son Blade, his daughter Shona the bard, and his griffin sons and daughters. His chief aide, Barnabas, is drinking heavily and muddling his spells. And the dwarfs are taking their baskets of gold as tribute to the one they say is the real Dark Lord--Mr. Chesney.
Jones spoofs many of the trappings of fantasy epics, while at the same time portraying a family, with its surface squabbles and underlying love, through a rollicking and somewhat unwieldy story. Her messages about exploitation and responsibility come through clearly. Although not as tightly focused as some of her earlier novels, the galloping pace makes Dark Lord of Derkholm a quick, fun read for her numerous fans. --Blaise Selby
I haven't read a bad Diana Wynne Jones book yet. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.Published 1 month ago by Regina Jackson
I think Diana Wynne Jones is an incredibly talented writer, and has a vivid and crazy imagination. But she is inconsistent. Read morePublished 4 months ago by TZ
It did not proceed at a very good pace and was somewhat scattered.Published 6 months ago by cathlene l. young
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon.com. Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule. Read morePublished 8 months ago by The Cosy Dragon (Rose Herbert)
If I didn't find the sequel a few minutes before this one, I'd never pick up a novel with such a silly name. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Debra Tucker
If you had a fantasy world full of wizards and magical creatures right next door to your own world, wouldn’t you want to go visit it? That’s the idea behind Mr. Read morePublished 10 months ago by E.J. Jones
Been meaning to get this book for a while. Such a great book!Published 11 months ago by Vanessa Kettering