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Westmark (The Westmark Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – January 14, 2002
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
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"As always, Alexander peoples his tale with a marvelous cast of individuals, and weaves an intricate story of high adventure that climaxes in a superbly conceived conclusion, which... is reached through carefully built tension and subtly added comic relief." —Booklist, starred review
From the Publisher
An American Book Award, An ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults, A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Westmark, as the first book of the trilogy, is occasionally light-hearted, featuring some of Alexander's trademark dry wit. Count Las Bombas is particularly hilarious. Theo is occasionally clueless, which makes him seem more human and thus more appealing (to this reader, at least). In the midst of an exciting plot with marvelous twists, however, Alexander raises moral questions without being pedantic. Is Florian's war against the monarchy just? When is violence justified? Is it ever justified? Alexander is not so presumptious that he offers a simple answer; rather, he acknowledges the absence of such easy solutions. There are no easy answers for Theo or the reader in this trilogy -- and that complexity is probably the series' greatest strength. The questions linger long after you finish the last lines of the novel.
This novel is highly recommended for a fairly mature middle reader -- it is both fun and meaningful. The remainder of the Westmark trilogy (The Kestrel, The Beggar Queen) is somewhat darker, but no less enjoyable. END
But the entertainment, as always with Alexander, comes first.
Theo, a "printer's devil", naively fails to consider how new regulations set forth by the Chief Minister of Westmark will affect him when, his master being out, he accepts a commission to print handbills for Count Las Bombas (a charming scalawag in the tradition of Fflewdur Fflam, but even more broadly drawn and a rogue to boot).
As quickly as the reader can guess that this might be a Bad Idea, troops have smashed up the shop, and Theo is on the run, along with Las Bombas and Musket the Demon Coachman (am alarmingly competent dwarf who spends most of his life getting Las Bombas out of trouble).
Things are Not Good in Westmark -- the King is terribly ill, the Crown Princess has vanished, and Chief Minister Cabbarus is gaining more and more control and becoming more and more authoritarian.
In the course of his adventures in this book, Theo will meet Florian, a personally gentle and sardonic but politically ruthless intellectual who seeks to put his theories into practise as he leads his "children" to establish an egalitarian Republic.
Also along for the trip is the beggar girl Mickle, who joins Theo, Las Bombas and Musket as they travel the countryside as a medicine show, and with whom Theo discovers he is falling in love before he even realises that love is what he is falling into.Read more ›
Theo is a "printer's devil," the assistant to a small printer in the fictional country of Westmark; Westmark is becoming increasingly dictatorial, since the mysterious death of the young princess drove the king into depression and illness. Now the power-hungry first minister Cabbarus uses the king as a puppet. None of this is relevent to Theo until soldiers destroy the press, and he becomes a fugitive from the law.
He flees and accompanies Count Las Bombas and Musket, a jolly charlatan and a formidable dwarf. They are rapidly joined by Mickle, a talented street urchin whom Theo develops feelings for. But he can't bear the dishonesty of a charlatan's lifestyle, and so flees into a group of revolutionaries led by the charming Florian. Together, they will have face the treacherous Cabbarus, and the mysteries of the past.
Westmark is a good book, with a plausible set-up, an intriguing hero and supporting characters, and a series of moral questions that are brought up in a thought-provoking manner. Is it acceptable to steal and lie if it will result in something good, or if the person being lied to or robbed is evil himself? Theo wrestles with these questions over the course of the book, and raises them for the readers as well.
The conscientious and endearing hero Theo is surrounded by a colorful cast. There is the bright, mysterious urchin Mickle, pleasantly dishonest Las Bombas, fiery Musket, charming anti-monarchist Florian and his band of loyal "children," the grim Dr. Torrens who only wants to help his king, and the evil plotter Cabbarus.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While written in three books, this is really one story. The story to a country's rebellions and the people on both sides who sacrificed for their beliefs. It's a dark tale. Read morePublished 5 months ago by empress8411
Printer’s apprentice Theo is forced to flee after the print shop is destroyed by militiamen and his master is killed. He joins up with the con man Dr. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kathy Burford
I'm on a mission to read Lloyd Alexander's books in order of publication and it has been an enjoyable journey. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tim Field
Look, I love Lloyd Alexander. I devoured the Chronicles of Prydain like Halloween candy, and after that, I bought up any Alexander novels I could find. Read morePublished 15 months ago by E.J. Jones
The Westmark trilogy is very well done, as all Lloyd Alexander books are. This series was set apart in my mind (when I read it in grade school), as the most realistic view of the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Carolyn Bragg or C. Bragg
It's a shame this novel is out of print. I bought a used copy from Amazon because I've long been a fan of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles and wanted to try some of his other... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Daphne Jones
I've been a Lloyd Alexander fan for a long time now, and in spite of the hype over the Prydain novels, i think this series deserves to be called his best work. Read morePublished on February 1, 2014 by KrasneTigritsa
This was a purchase for my children as I like them to keep reading and learning to further their education. They enjoyed it.Published on September 5, 2013 by Allison Nelson
well written and entertaining story. The plot and the twists are interesting and well done. The characters dissatisfaction with the way the country is mis-run has several... Read morePublished on May 21, 2013 by MomT