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The Merlin Conspiracy Hardcover – Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First American Edition edition (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060523182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060523183
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,454,818 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

Master fantasist Diana Wynne Jones, author of the Chrestomanci books, scores another winner in The Merlin Conspiracy. This absorbing tale of magic and courtly intrigue is told in two voices. In the world called Islands of the Blest, Roddy is a young page who has grown up travelling with her family in the King's Progress, a constant journey around the kingdom. Just after she and her younger friend Grundo spot a growing conspiracy to overthrow the King and change the balance of magic, they are whisked away to visit Roddy's grim and silent grandfather; when they return the Progress has moved on without them. Meanwhile in another world, Nick Mallory, 14, blunders into a dreamlike adventure that leads him to the powerful wizard Romanov and involves him in Roddy's mission to save the worlds from the upset planned by the conspiracy.

The story moves through several precariously linked worlds in vividly imagined episodes told alternately by Roddy and Nick, as their journeys begin to mesh. Part of the fun for the reader is sorting out Roddy's many wizardly relatives from the double perspective and clicking them into place in the plot. Wynne Jones's many fans will pounce on this complex but fast-moving fantasy that features not only 34 characters, but a panther, a goat, a dragon, and an extremely charming elephant. (Ages 10-14) --Patty Campbell, Amazon.com

Review

“The characterisation is first rate, the ideas are fabulous … This is fantasy at its most inventive – canny, funny and far-reaching.” The Telegraph

“A curiosity shop of a book … a pleasure to lose yourself in.” The Sunday Times

“The Merlin Conspiracy is Wynne Jones on top form … [her] powerful narrative and her ability to create extraordinary charachers with real emotions make her more than a worthy rival to J K Rowling.” Financial Times

“A must for all Wynne Jones fans, past, present and future.” Limited Edition

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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I have been with the Court all my life, traveling with the King's Progress. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Jennifer J. Mable on 3 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
The Merlin Conspiracy is a good basic story, the characters are beautifully developed and the various links and connections between them both compelling and enthralling.
The only problem is it seems to take forever just to build up the story. Don't get me wrong, I've no problem with big build ups, they usually lead to big climaxes.
However, the climax to this story while exciting seems rushed. It seems to me The Merlin Conspiracy could do with being a series of books, and the end is left fully open to a sequel, it just seems that the real story doesn't start quick enough to enthrall a less than dedicated reader.
In a time where big action is the big thing this wonderful fantasy might be lost to most readers who prefer the short more action filled journeys. It should not be overlooked however as the characters excel at being intresting, from the complexities of the main characters Roddy and Nick, to the sublimely awful Izzies.
A compelling read that, while it could be longer, is still a fantastic and classic story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jac on 14 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a great romp through familiar DW-J territory - alternative worlds, and magical families. Arianrhod (Roddy, one of the two narrators) and Grundo are part of the King's Progress, the travelling Court, but have to travel alone through the Isles of Blest (a "squished and stretched" British Isles) to stop a plot to take all the magic in the land and use it for evil. The Little People advise Roddy to raise the land to stop the plot, but she has little to go on until she figures out her inherited magic "database".
Meanwhile Nick, the other narrator, already a refugee from one world, gets drawn through a few other worlds looking for Romanov, a man who might just have the power to solve the mystery of who is trying to kill whom and why. He promises to help Roddy as part of a journey quest, befriending an elephant on the way, and encountering a malevolent goat named Helga.
The plot's intricate but all comes together in a satisfying ending as Roddy works out just what "raising the land" involves - dragons, Stonehenge, and all her extended and rather mad family...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Belochka on 16 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
There are so many things that I usually love about Diana Wynne Jones' books and while there is plenty to be marvelled at in "The Merlin Conspiracy", I have to say it isn't a book that I would read again.

The enjoyable parts are that the multi-world universe, the magical and mythological descriptions are beautifully-written. The plot itself; the balance of entire worlds being threatened by a conspiracy in the Isle of Blest is an interesting idea. The world building is so believable that you feel you could almost get there by turning the next page. I loved the descriptions of the magical folk, the great powers and the personification of entire cities in Blest. The details of weather, houses, animals and landscape are also wonderfully atmospheric.

With the vast imagination on display it really is a bit of a shame that I couldn't like all of it.

The biggest problem is really to do with the characters. *The next part of the review does include a spoiler*.

Nick Mallory is certainly the best of the bunch, he is written as a conscientious boy with a thoughtful and practical mind. Even he gets a little tedious with his unrequited crush on Roddy though. As a lead character Roddy (Arianrhod) Hyde is a disappointment. She comes across as snobbish and patronising much of the time and then given to bursting into tears when she is under pressure. One particular scene that almost made me give up reading is the discovery that Roddy has been manipulated by a friend. There are several problems with this; her reaction is to run off, have a good cry on Nick's shoulder and feel bad about herself. Given Roddy's temperamental nature it would have been a redeeming moment to give the friend a hard thwack with some of her vast array of spells but, alas no, it doesn't happen.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Miss Franks on 21 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
I would like to say that this book is great. The storyline is amazing, especially how their lives come together and you find out who everybody is. But, sadly, I can't give it the 5 stars it deserves because I feel that if you are one of those people who needs the end of a book to be good expect a disappointment as this one isn't. I couldn't put the book down and I was reaching the end and you get to the climax, it calms down once more and then it stops. As if she just stopped writing, not even as if she got fed up and brought it to a quick close. It just finishes, and I'd like to say I'm disappointed. Yet, even so, I would still recommend you to read this book. As it is one of the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lindsey on 1 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is an indirect sequel to Deep Secrets, though this fact isn't very well publicised. I ended up reading this first, but since this is technically a stand-alone book, I had no trouble diving right in. It takes place in a number of different universes, and the plot is pretty complex, involving time travel and things nobody in-story can quite understand (it's not a bad thing, I swear!). Despite that, it's an easy read, breathtakingly written, though as others have noted it does take a while to get to the climax. I only wish that there had been a little more epilogue- by this time I was very attached to the characters and didn't want to let them go. Actually, I'd have loved a sequel or two.

This is probably my favourite DWJ book, and like most of her novels, they are perfect for all ages. Adults will get a kick out of it, and older children will be entranced. Diana Wynne Jones' books made up a lot of my childhood, and all I can do is advise you to give this a try. You won't be disappointed. There are no loose plot ends, everything is explained brilliantly but not boringly, and I still love this book after my sixth or seventh read.
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