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Drowned Ammet (Dalemark Quartet, Book 2) Paperback – April 10, 2001

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Series: Dalemark Quartet (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Thus edition (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064473147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064473149
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,079,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Diana Wynne Jones was raised in the village of Thaxted, in Essex, England. She has been a compulsive storyteller for as long as she can remember enjoying most ardently those tales dealing with witches, hobgoblins, and the like. Ms. Jones lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons and two granddaughters. In Her Own Words...

"I decided to be a writer at the age of eight, but I did not receive any encouragement in this ambition until thirty years later. I think this ambition was fired-or perhaps exacerbated is a better word-by early marginal contacts with the Great, when we were evacuated to the English Lakes during the war. The house we were in had belonged to Ruskin's secretary and had also been the home of the children in the books of Arthur Ransome. One day, finding I had no paper to draw on, I stole from the attic a stack of exquisite flower-drawings, almost certainly by Ruskin himself, and proceeded to rub them out. I was punished for this. Soon after, we children offended Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat. He complained. So likewise did Beatrix Potter, who lived nearby. It struck me then that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant (even if, in Ruskin's case, it was posthumous), and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness.

"I started writing children's books when we moved to a village in Essex where there were almost no books. The main activities there were hand-weaving, hand-making pottery, and singing madrigals, for none of which I had either taste or talent. So, in intervals between trying to haunt the church and sitting on roofs hoping to learn to fly, I wrote enormous epic adventure stories which I read to my sisters instead of the real books we did not have. This writing was stopped, though, when it was decided I must be coached to go to University. A local philosopher was engaged to teach me Greek and philosophy in exchange for a dollhouse (my family never did things normally), and I eventually got a place at Oxford.

"At this stage, despite attending lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, I did not expect to be writing fantasy. But that was what I started to write when I was married and had children of my own. It was what they liked best. But small children do not allow you the use of your brain. They used to jump on my feet to stop me thinking. And I had not realized how much I needed to teach myself about writing. I took years to learn, and it was not until my youngest child began school that I was able to produce a book which a publisher did not send straight back.

"As soon as my books began to be published, they started coming true. Fantastic things that I thought I had made up keep happening to me. The most spectacular was Drowned Ammet. The first time I went on a boat after writing that book, an island grew up out of the sea and stranded us. This sort of thing, combined with the fact that I have a travel jinx, means that my life is never dull."

Diana Wynne Jones is the author of many highly praised books for young readers, as well as three plays for children and a novel for adults. She lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons.

More 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 wizards--and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter--her 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 Jones's books garnered literary accolades: her novel Dogsbody was a runner-up for the 1975 Carnegie Medal, and Charmed Life won the esteemed Guardian children's fiction prize in 1977. Since then, in addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honors--including two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors--and appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists. Her work also found commercial success: in 1992 the BBC adapted her novel Archer's Goon into a six-part miniseries, and her best-selling Howl's 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. The author herself has also been honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Society's 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 distressing"--one 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 Ruskin's secretary, W.G. Collingwood. This time marked an important moment in Diana Wynne Jones's 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 sister's 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 father's 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 stories--and much of her future work--were inspired by a limited but crucial foundation of classics: Malory's Morte D'Arthur, The Arabian Nights, and Epics and Romances of the Middle Ages. Fantasy was Jones's passion from the start, despite receiving little support from her often neglectful parents. This passion was fueled further during her tenure at St. Anne's 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 Jones's 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, will be published by Greenwillow Books in 2012.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
A young dissident flees his home town in an earldom downtrodden by a harsh ruler and his martial forces, and winds up trying to survive at sea with the grand niece and nephew of that very Earl. And then, the mysterious Undying take a hand and you realize that nothing is as it seemed. There are more things at stake than were clear at first. Out of all her fantastic books, this one is my all-time favorite. Mitt, the hero, is in a situation of such inner and outer difficulty and truly walks the lonely knife edge between right and wrong. And all the while, he is so familiar and likeable that you feel you have been friends for years. I respect this author so much for not being treacly or saccharin, but still being so compassionate and wise. She never falls for a stereotype & fully promotes the good mystery in life. What is not to love? I always wished there was a Mitt to really meet. If only all authors kept such high standards!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Royce E. Buehler on March 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Unlike the standard fantasy series, in which each volume follows the continuing adventures of a single cast of characters - a series of tunes played on the same set of instruments - this one really is designed as a "quartet". Each of the first three books is all but independent of the rest, told in its own distinct voice. They interlock, but in subtle ways - through common geography, family names that link with the long history of Dalemark and its peculiar "gods". Diana Wynne Jones always provides the pleasure of well-told, formula-busting stories. In her Quartet, she also provides the pleasure of watching an intricate pattern unfold behind the stories.
In this second volume, we meet at last the main character of the series, Mitt, raised in poverty under the grinding heel of the despotic Earls of South Dalemark, grown up too soon, and recruited early to the dangers and exhilarations of a revolutionary underground in the seaport of Holand. The plots and counterplots he's embroiled in come to a head at the port's spring festival, when all the nobles must take part in a grand procession to the sea, carrying the festival effigies of Drowned Ammet and Libby Beer to be cast into the harbor. No one remembers why the ritual has to be performed, but no one dares to alter the tradition.
Well, Drowned Ammet may remember. And perhaps that's why everyone's best laid plans start going queer...
Family drama, peril on the high seas, ancient magics awakened - there's a lot of action packed into these pages. Young adults will love it, and Ms. Jones proves once again to her crossover adult audience that YA doesn't *always* stand for Yawns Assured.
Just for rousing storytelling, I give volumes 1 and 3 four and a half stars, volumes 2 and 4 four stars. But the Quartet is more than the sum of its parts, and the series as a whole merits five.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sarsparilla on February 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read Drowned Ammet when I was 14. I found it strange because it deals with a society that doesn't exist, but in a realistic way - not the jokes and silly stuff you find in a lot of fantasy. Just like in the real world, you think you know what the place/people are about, then you learn you were mistaken, and have to think twice about who you trust. It's more of a mystery than anything else, about two ancient gods, and why the town believe in them. Diana Wynne Jones is my favourite children's author of all time, and this book really pulls at your emotions when you finish it. Stick with it until the end - there are lots of surprises. this is a book for kids who want to find out, to see through tricks, to think about something new.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on September 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
_Drowned Ammet_ is the second in Diana Wynne Jones' _Dalemark Quartet_. It is set roughly contemporaneously with the first book, _Cart and Cwidder_. In this book we meet Alhammitt, or Mitt, a poor boy from the far southern town of Holand, who becomes somewhat radicalized when his father and mother are thrown out of their farm for capricious reasons by the tax collector for the evil Earl Hadd. Later his father's involvement with the Free Holanders goes terribly wrong, leaving Mitt and his feckless mother alone. Mitt grows up a sailor and later a gunsmith's apprentice, and plots to gain revenge on both the Free Holanders (for betraying his father) and on Earl Hadd (for pretty much everything) by killing the Earl and implicating the Free Holanders. But this plot too goes terribly wrong, and Mitt ends up on a yacht with the two of the Earl's grandchildren, heading for the North.
I liked this book quite a bit -- Jones' puts her characters (Mitt and the two noble children) under great stress -- not just physical danger but she pushes them to see their own severe personal faults, and this works very well. The fantastical elements, involving the mysterious godlike figures of Ammet and Libby Beer, are very nicely evoked. The political situation is also well described and realistic. The plot is well resolved, albeit with a bit of convenience, maybe with a bit more magical help than I like, and with a plot twist that even though I saw it coming, I could hardly believe she had the effrontery to exercise. (And I thought it just a shade unfair.) All told, though, a very nice book, and coupled with the first clearly part of a series, but reasonably well contained too.
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