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The Dark Lord Of Derkholm (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 14 Aug 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (14 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575075368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575075368
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diana Wynne Jones is recognised internationally as a major writer of fantasy and in 2007 received a LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the World Fantasy Convention. She has also won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (twice) and the Guardian Award for CHARMED LIFE. Her books have been translated into more than eighteen languages, and her novel HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. Diana lives in Bristol with her husband, a professor of Early English literature.

Product Description

Amazon Review

If, next door to our ordinary world, there existed a world full of magic, wouldn't you want to visit it? That's the situation that Diana Wynne Jones explores in Dark Lord of Derkholm, and she makes an effective and comical tale of it.

Groups of tourists, called Pilgrim Parties and organised 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, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Can the Wizard Derk and his family of human and griffin children save the world from the depradations of the evil Mr Chesney?

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hannanora on 22 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I actually read "Year of the Griffin" first and although I still enjoyed it, I did get a bit confused! So when I found out it was actually a sequal I jumped at the first opportunity to buy the "Dark Lord of Derkholm". After reading the second book, I had very high expectations - and not only where they met, they were surpassed! This is a marvellous take on a fantasy novel, with many twists and turns and a truly original story line. You never know where it is going and some characters just make you want to kill them!
One of the things I like most about Dianne Wynne Jones is how she always manages to put a little bit of the 'real' world into all her stories, no matter the situation. I think this story comicly parodies our own typical expectations of what we assume about a fantasy novel and clearly shows that's not always the case. The characters are funny, well thought through and a delight to read it.
What? You're still here? READ IT ALREADY!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jan 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is, in many ways an appropriate sequel to the "Tough Guide to Fantasyland", but as a proper narrative it is much more satisfying. Once again we see DWJ's interest in parallel worlds and universes, and the dangers of interference by the self-centred. Again, personal responsibility and growth are at the centre of her stories - and it isn't only the children in the story who learn! I did slightly feel the appearance of the gods at the end was too literally a deus (or dei?) ex machina - but no more so than the appearances of Chrestomanci in other books. Indeed, I was rather hoping he would be the one to give Mr Chesney his well-deserved reard. Perhaps one day....
I had to agree to read the book within 48 hours (even though *I* bought and paid for it!) as I had an eager 11-year-old desperate to read a new DWJ book. And her response (she read it in rather less than 48 hours) - "It's even better than "Charmed Life"! " Now if that isn't praise.....
This is by one of the best writers for young people currently working. It is up to her usual standard. What more need be said?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2001
Format: Paperback
Sits in the 'cheerful' camp with the Chrestomanci stories (as opposed to Time of the Ghost, Fire & Hemlock, etc). It does start a bit slowly, but builds up to an impressive climax. The central concept is very funny, with a whole world full of people having to organise 'fantasy tours' for offworld tourists, and is cleverly put together. I really enjoyed it, and Year of the Griffin which follows on from it is also very good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nothing on 3 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
Diana Wynne Jones is my favorite author, and Dark Lord of Derkholm is one of my favorite books.
Addressing Dark Lord, I would have to say that it is enjoyable because of how well Jones manages to take all of the subplots, which are interesting on their own, and explain how they're related to the whole.
I'd also like to mention, as a major fantasy fan(atic), that an aspect of this book that appeals to me is also that Jones is, in some aspects, commenting on her craft. Especially relevant with the dragons, you can see some of the 'rules' that she has set up for her magical world. Any budding teenage authors should find this, and the continuance of it in Deep Secret, amazingly interesting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 July 2000
Format: Paperback
She's done it again. DWJ has created another world that is vividly alive, a reworking of our own ideas of medieval life and fiction with cunning and hilarious twists, from the thieves guild to the nature of demons and elves. There are wondrous things like pocket universes and the griffens themselves. There are evil things. DWJ does not spare us on suffering and despair, but her humour and right thinking overcome all. As the child heroes mature physically and morally, so does their world win its independence. Witty and spellbinding - DWJ's hallmarks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By katcarter4@hotmail.com on 11 Mar 2000
Format: Paperback
Diana Wynne Jones really deserves to be better known, considering the success of authors like Terry Pratchett. Not that they are that similar - this book (and her others) take themselves a bit less seriously than Terry Pratchett tends to. If you loved her books when you were younger, as I did, then keep reading! This one is particularly good, a wonderful inventive plot fulll of fantastic creatures and very funny details. Really worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Mar 2001
Format: Paperback
In a magical world the citizens are being used by a person with a demon to run an amusement park. The peope of this town have to work for months every year just to have their homes destroyed once again. Know they are going to fight back and the one person that doesn't know it is Derk, the unlucky man chosen to be the Dark Lord this year.If you think of everything that can go wrong in this hilarious story add about another 5 to that list and it still won't be complete. Once I picked up this book I couldn't put it down and was very put-down when the book was finished. If you thing Harry Potter is good try this book and then thing again.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 May 2001
Format: Paperback
The Tough Guide To Fantasyland was created when Diana, confined to hospital, read an outline for The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and decided that a satire was in order. That worked well; making a novel out of its running gags was brave, but succeeds brilliantly, with some fine charcterisation and a wicked willingness to send up the authorial ham-fistedness that marks so much modern fantasy. Comparable to Pratchett at his best.
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