Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
Greenwillow Books, New York, 2001
From my TBR pile. Read for Diana Wynne Jones month and Once Upon A Time VII.
The story takes place in a world of high fantasy, where griffins and young magicians are siblings, pigs fly and the mysterious Mr. Chesney runs Pilgrim Party tour groups from what appears to be our world. Chesney insists on all the familiar scenes, wizards, demons and horrible battles, which include the deaths of some “expendable” tourists. The tours continually wreak havoc throughout the land and destroy many inhabitants livelihoods. These people are tired of being exploited, but are helpless to fight back until the dragons show up. No suprise there.
Dark Lord of Derkholm is a parody, filled with family squabbles, depressed and drunken wizards and adolescents yearling to spread their wings, both figuratively and literally. It is a joy to read. It won the Mythopoetic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature in 1999. There is a second book in this series, Year of the Griffin, which I hope to read sometime in April.
What a master. I was introduced to Diana Wynne Jones by Ana a couple of years ago, and felt robbed at not having found her sooner. She was a British author who somehow never received the media push granted to J.K. Rowling. I have since tried to convince every Harry Potter fan I know to read her books.