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The Dungeon Hardcover – 2 Dec 2002

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; First Edition, First Impression edition (2 Dec. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000713777X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007137770
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,692,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The setting is medieval Scotland, a land dominated by skirmishes and battles on the borders, a land of fortresses and castles in Scotland, England and Wales. We meet Bruce McLennan, a Scottish laird, a man sorely-changed by a terrible family tragedy. He is a domineering master, an uncaring landlord, a cruel man, who has his heart set on building himself a castle and a Dungeon in which to punish his enemies in the future. But while the dungeon is being built, McLennan plans a trip to the far ends of the earth.

As we follow McLennan on his travels to China and beyond, we witness his buying of Peony, or Mudan, as her Chinese name is, a young girl who McLennan uses as a slave. He is uncaring, unsympathetic, as he drags her after him across the world. Gradually, knowing no other, Peony develops a kind of affection for her master.

In Scotland, Peony meets Fin, a stable lad and a loving friendship develops between them. McLennan, busy fighting off enemies, uses Peony in an horrific scene in one of his battles; he looses badly and subsequently blames her. He decides to punish her by throwing her in his dungeon… then unfolds a ghastly scene where Peony kills herself, at last in control of her own destiny. McLennan dies of guilt, shame and remorse. Fin lives on, and even Peony, perhaps, in his new baby sister.

About the Author

Lynne Reid Banks became famous in 1962 with the publication of her young adult novel, The L-Shaped Room. Since then she has written numerous books for children published by Penguin and Collins.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In medieval Scotland Bruce McLennan has risen up through the ranks from his humble beginnings as a fisherman's son, to become a powerful landowner with tenants at his disposal. Characters around him hint at the likeable man he used to be, but a tragic event changed him into a hard, brutal and at times cruel man. He believes himself devoid of the ability to feel affection for another human being ever again.

Hatred and a deisre for revenge drive McLennan off on a wild journey across to the other side of the world, following the Silk Road to China, whilst his tenants carry out his orders to build a strong and impressive castle fortress, with a terrifying dungeon for captives.

China is a dangerous place and this immediately appeals to the reckless McLennan. Ruled by the warring Mongols, skirmishes are a daily occurence. McLennan falls in with a band of private army soldiers and becomes renowned for his prowess on the battlefield. Along the way he buys himself a very young slave girl, Peony, to make and pour his tea and attend to his wounds and other needs. When he sees she has trouble walking and his comrades explain to him the practice of binding the feet of some girls to stunt their growth and make them attractive as ornaments to men, McLennan's heart is perhaps softened a notch or two... but this is something he hates to acknowledge even to himself. He also hates that something about her reminds him of what he has lost and cannot regain...

Peony proves pivotal to McLennan as he travels with the band of soldiers, and he decides to take his slave girl with him on the perilous journey back to Scotland. He begins to think of her as his lucky talisman, but when a bloody battle doesn't quite go according to plan his cruelty takes a new twist.
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Format: Paperback
Lynne Reid-Banks has thought up an excellent train of ideas running through this book. It is in fact one of my most favourite books as it is touching to find such a relationship between master and slave. I recommend you to read this story, and I hope you find the same pleasure in it, liuke I did. I have to admitt, when I did pick it up the front cover was a teeny bit boring, but the story inside made up for it. It is well and truly a unique story!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8d34cb70) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d341654) out of 5 stars Read it with your kids! 9 Dec. 2011
By Me - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I finished reading this book, my first reaction was, "Holy cow, that's awful!" It occupied my thoughts all that night and all through work the next day, until finally I realized it: this is a great book!

If ever I'm fortunate enough to be father to a little girl, I'll read this book with her when she's old enough. May I never be like that poor, foolish man! May I never forget that I love my child!
HASH(0x8d32169c) out of 5 stars A Moving and Sad Story 26 Sept. 2003
By Maryam - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Bruce Maclennan is Scottish and is bent up on revenge on his life long enemy Macinnan. After Maclennan returns from his trip to China, he expects his dungeon and castle fortress to be built. Why does Maclennan go to China in the 14th century so far away from Scotland? It did sound a bit unrealistic, but in the story it was said he wanted adventure. Well if that was what he was searching for, he found it. Only, it wasn't the only thing that he found. Along with silk bedsheets,(highly rare in Scotland)Maclennan bought a tea slave . He didn't bother to learn her name, and he figured she was just a slave. This girl's name is Peony, and she is frightened to death when she is taken away with Maclennan to Scotland. She is treated like dirt by Maclennan, and she will never get to see her family again. Peony is extremely obedient towards Maclennan, and sees to his every wish, even when he throws her blows. Throughout the story as a reader, you sympathize with Peony and become more and more confused with Maclennan, as to whether or not he cares for Peony more than just a slave, or as a daughter. Also you get to see Maclennan's crueller side as a person with hate pent up inside him. His thirst for revenge made him a completely abominable character with no heart.Toward his enemy, his ideas are without remorse. His dungeon will dwell with Macinnan, and he will rule the land. In the end, cruel twists relay the truth to Maclennan about every action he has made in his life. The reader will be shocked at the end of the story, and will be moved thoroughly. Read this book, it will make you cry, or at least it will move you!!
HASH(0x8d33fa38) out of 5 stars Be prepared 7 Jun. 2003
By Grace - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If there was one word to describe this book and the story it contains, it would be: dark. If you think this book has to have a happy ending, you would be wrong. I was extremely surprised about how depressing the ending was. The ironic twist at end is very poignant and - I hate to use this word, but here it is - sad. Everything you thought you knew about the character is changed with his one merciless act (you'll know who I'm talking about when you read it). Be prepared! Virtually no one has a happy ending - but somehow that's oddly appropriate. Banks tells us that life does not always end well, some people can never change, and people DO regret their actions sometimes, but only when it's too late and they've lost their chance to correct past mistakes. That's the depressing part, and it's "Small Eyes'" fate to pay for her master's acts.
PS - being Chinese myself, I was emotionally attached to Small Eye's adventure throughout the entire story. She'll make you cry, seriously (or at least tear up a little).
HASH(0x8f439834) out of 5 stars Must read for anyone! 28 Mar. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Library Binding
This novel is a truly important read to get a deeper insight on human nature. The characters of Bruce MacLennen and Peony are complex and deal with the dangerous world of 14th century Scotland and China in real ways. Revenge and grief play a great part in the story and one can see the horrors of revenge. This is not a typical young adult book. It is terribly, terribly tear jerking and will leave you running for tissues. Read it! Although, your heart will be bruised for a while after you finish.
HASH(0x8d358930) out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book i could not but it down until ... 10 Jan. 2016
By chrissy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book i could not but it down until I was finished.
I enjoy the Scottish speaking and the era in which this story was written in.
I highly recommend to anyone that likes reading about love, loss and hardship.
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