6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2001
Dido Twite's quest to find Simon again has finally led her back to London, where the ever-present conspiracy against the king of England is taking a new twist. Kidnapped by her own father to help assasinate him, Dido is led into the intrigue in this beatifully written, exciting, pacey book. I particularly liked the Birthday Club.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2008
A gritty and sinister adventure story, perhaps the peak of the Aiken series, the book starts by joining a few loose ends from the other books.
Simon, now fully instated as Duke of Battersea, and staunch supporter of the incumbent King Richard, discovers his childhood friend Dido near the isolated village of Petworth, but before he can bring her back to his castle, Mr Twite makes a reappearance, and kidnaps his daughter, bringing her to a seedy area of London, where his benefactor, the truly evil Margrave of Nordmarck has plans to unseat good King Richard, killing off all his close friends and replacing him with and impersonator. A foreign man, chosen because of likeness to the king, who Dido is teaching English. The resourceful and loveable Dido manages to break free and with the help of the mystery shrouded Birthday League, defeat the schemes of the Margrave and her Father. This is one of Joan Aiken's best and darkest books, reintroducing most of her best heroes and villains. Mr Twite is a masterpiece, and even when he is devoured by wolves, we are confused as to rejoice or mourn. Dido once again pulls off her role of the plucky, savvy street child in this extraordinary tale. Recommended ages 6 to wherever!