Drowned Wednesday (Keys to the Kingdom Series #3) (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

( 88 )


Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world—where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets.

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The Keys to the Kingdom #3: Drowned Wednesday

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Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world—where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

Having survived Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday, Arthur Penhaligon faces his biggest challenge yet in Drowned Wednesday, the one hundred and twenty-six-mile long whale who is the keeper of the third Key, in this the latest volume in Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series. When the Architect disappeared from the House many thousands of years ago, she left seven of her servants in charge of enforcing the provisions of her Will. They, however, betrayed her trust, dividing up and imprisoning the various sentient parts of the Will, subdividing the House and gradually taking control of the many Secondary Realms that depend from it, including our own. In the first two parts of the series, Arthur defeated two of these servants, Monday and Tuesday. Drowned Wednesday, however, is at least nominally his ally, the one servant of the Architect who is true to her charge. Betrayed by her fellows, though, Wednesday has been turned into a monstrous whale, gluttony personified. Arthur, who has already been named the Architect's rightful heir, must survive drowning, terrifying lightening storms, magical pirates, various Denizens of the House, potentially deadly asthma, and Wednesday's all-consuming appetite to recover her part of the Will to acquire the third Key and continue his quest to gain control of the House. Nix is endlessly inventive, and his latest book is another thrill ride. Although his complex cosmology might occasionally feel a bit burdensome, teens who love highly original fantasy will eat this one up. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Scholastic,389p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Michael Levy
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This third volume in the series also marks its hardcover debut (with simultaneous reissues of the first two books in hardcover). Arthur is in the hospital, recovering from the events of Grim Tuesday (Scholastic, 2004) and trying to explain things to his friend Leaf while apprehensively awaiting the "transport" promised in Lady Wednesday's invitation. His fears are more than realized; the ship from the House takes Leaf but leaves Arthur adrift on the Border Sea. He finds temporary refuge on a buoy-but it's a treasure marker for the dreaded once-human pirate Feverfew, and Arthur is marked as a thief and is in mortal danger. He is rescued by a comic bunch of salvagers from Wednesday's domain, and from them Arthur begins to understand that Wednesday is very different from the other Days he has met. Moreover, she has become a monstrous but tragic leviathan. Seafaring adventure follows; Arthur must elude Feverfew even while breaking into his stronghold, a bubble of the Secondary Realms concealed in Wednesday's stomach where Leaf and hundreds of denizens enslaved by Feverfew are held captive. Feverfew is the real villain here, and Arthur is finally accepting (albeit reluctantly) that he must be a hero. This is another great entry with a cliff-hanger ending. It doesn't stand alone, but it's a must-have for anyone who has the first two entries in this well-crafted, exciting series.-Karyn N. Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417768042
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Series: Keys to the Kingdom Series, #3
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 389
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Garth Nix
GARTH NIX grew up in Canberra, Australia. He has worked in the publishing industry and currently lives in Sydney, where is both a marketing communications consultant and a writer.
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Read an Excerpt


A three-masted square-rigger with iridiscent green sails that shone by day or night, the Flying Mantis was a fast and lucky ship. She sailed the Border Sea of the House, which meant she could also sail any ocean, sea, lake, river, or other navigable stretch of liquid on any of the millions of worlds of the Secondary Realms.

On this voyage, the Flying Mantis was cleaving through the deep blue waters of the Border Sea, heading for Port Wednesday. Her holds were stuffed with goods bought beyond the House and illnesses salvaged from the Border Sea’s grasping waters. There were valuables under her hatches: tea and wine and coffee and spices, treats for the Denizens of the House. But her strongroom held the real treasure: coughs and sniffles and ugly rashes and strange stuttering diseases, all fixed into pills, snuff, or whalebone charms.

With such rich cargo, the crew were nervous and the lookouts red-eyed and anxious. The Border Sea was no longer safe, not since the unfortunate transformation of Lady Wednesday several thousand years before and the consequent flooding of the Sea’s old shore. Wednesday’s Noon and Dusk had been missing ever since, along with many of Wednesday’s other servants, who used to police the Border Sea.

Now the waters swarmed with unlicensed salvagers and traders, some who would happily turn to a bit of casual piracy. To make matters worse, there were full-time pirates around as well. Human ones, who had somehow gotten through the Line of Storms and into the Border Sea from some earthly ocean.

These pirates were still mortal (unlike the Denizens) but they had managed to learn some House sorcery and were foolish enough to dabble in the use of Nothing. This made them dangerous, and if they had the numbers, their human ferocity and reckless use of Nothing-fuelled magic would usually defeat their more cautious Denizen foes.

The Flying Mantis had lookouts in the fighting tops of each of its three masts, one in the forepeak, and several on the quarter deck. It was their task to watch for pirates, strange weather, and the worst of all things -- the emergence of Drowned Wednesday, as Lady Wednesday was now known.

Most of the ships that now sailed the Border Sea had incompetent lookouts and inferior crews. After the Deluge, when the Border Sea swept over nine-tenths of Wednesday’s shore-based wharves, warehouses, counting rooms, and offices, more than a thousand of the higher rooms had been rapidly converted into ships. All these ships were crewed by former stevedores, clerks, rackers, counters, tally-hands, sweepers, and managers. Though they’d had several thousand years of practice, these Denizens were still poor sailors.

But not the crew of the Flying Mantis. She was one of Wednesday’s original forty-nine ships, commissioned and built to the Architect’s design. Her crew members were nautical Denizens, themselves made expressly to sail the Border Sea and beyond. Her Captain was none other than Heraclius Swell, 15,287th in precedence within the House, a Denizen only a shade of a degree lower than Wednesday’s Dusk.

So when the mizzen-top lookout shouted, "Something big...err...not that big...closing off the port bow...underwater!" both Captain and crew reacted as well-trained professionals of long experience.

"All hands!" roared the mate who had the watch. "Beat to quarters!"

His cry was taken up by the lookouts and the sailors on deck, followed only seconds later by the sharp rattle of a drum as the ship’s boy abandoned his boot polish and the Captain’s boots to take up his sticks.

Denizens burst out from belowdecks. Some leapt to the rigging to climb aloft, ready to work the sails. Some stood by the armory to receive their crossbows and cutlasses. Others raced to load and run out the guns, though the Flying Mantis only had eight working cannon of its usual complement of sixteen. Guns and gunpowder that worked in the House were very hard to come by, and always contained dangerous specks of Nothing. Since the toppling of Grim Tuesday fourteen months before, powder was in very short supply. Some said it was no longer being made, and some said it was being stockpiled for war by the mysterious Lord Arthur, who now ruled both the Lower House and the Far Reaches.

Captain Swell climbed onto the quarterdeck as the cannons rumbled out on the main deck, their red wooden wheels squealing in complaint. He was a very tall Denizen, even in stockinged feet, who always wore the full dress coat of an admiral from a small country on a small world in a remote corner of the Secondary Realms. It was turquoise blue, nipped in very tightly at the waist, and had enormous quantities of gold braid on the shoulders and cuffs. Consequently Captain Swell shone even more brightly than the green sails of his ship.

"What occurs, Mister Pannikin?" Swell asked his First Mate, a Denizen as tall as he was, but considerably less handsome. At some time Pannikin had lost all his hair and one ear to a Nothing-laced explosion, and his bare skull was ridged with scars. He sometimes wore a purple woollen cap, but the crew claimed that made him look even worse.

"Mysterious submersible approaching the port bow," reported Pannikin, handing his spyglass to the Captain. "About forty feet long by my reckoning, and coursing very fast. Maybe fifty knots."

"I see," said the Captain, who had clapped the telescope to his eye. "I think it must be...yes. Milady has sent us a messenger. Stand the men down, Mister Pannikin, and prepare a side-party to welcome our illustrious visitor. Oh, and tell Albert to bring me my boots."

Mister Pannikin roared orders as Captain Swell refocused his telescope on the shape in the water. Through the powerful lens, he could clearly see a dull golden cigar-shape surging under the water toward the ship. For a second it was unclear what propelled it so quickly. Then its huge yellow-gold wings suddenly exploded ahead and pushed back, sending the creature rocketing forward, the water behind it exploding into froth.

"She’ll broach any moment," muttered one of the crewmen to his mate at the wheel behind the Captain. "Mark my words."

He was right. The creature’s wings broke the surface and gathered air instead of water. With a great flexing leap and a swirl of sea, the monster catapulted itself up higher than the Flying Mantis’s maintop. Shedding water like rain, it circled the ship, slowly descending toward the quarterdeck.

At first it looked like a golden, winged shark, all sleek motion and a fearsome, toothy maw. But as it circled, it shrank. Its cigar-shaped body bulged and changed, and the golden sheen ebbed away before other advancing colors. It became roughly human-shaped, though still with golden wings.

Then, as its wings stopped flapping and it stepped the final foot down to the deck, it assumed the shape of a very beautiful woman, though even the ship’s boy knew she was really a Denizen of high rank. She wore a riding habit of peach velvet with ruby buttons, and sharkskin riding boots complete with gilt spurs. Her straw-colored hair was restrained by a hairnet of silver wire, and she tapped her thigh nervously with a riding crop made from the elongated tail of an albino alligator.

"Captain Swell."

"Wednesday’s Dawn," replied the Captain, bending his head as he pushed one stockinged foot forward. Albert, arriving a little too late, slid along the deck and hastily tried to put the proffered foot into the boot he held.

"Not now!" hissed Pannikin, dragging the lad back by the scruff of his neck.

The Captain and Wednesday’s Dawn ignored the boy and the First Mate. They turned together to the rail and looked out at the ocean, continuing to talk while hardly looking at each other.

"I trust you have had a profitable voyage to date, Captain?"

"Well enough, Miss Dawn. May I enquire as to the happy chance that has led you to grace my vessel with your presence?"

"You may indeed, Captain. I am here upon the express command of our mistress, bearing an urgent dispatch, which I am pleased to deliver."

Dawn reached into her sleeve, which was tight enough to hold no possibility of storage, and pulled out a large thick envelope of buff paper, sealed with a knob of blue sealing wax half an inch thick.

Captain Swell took the envelope slowly, broke the seal with deliberation, and unfolded it to read the letter written on the inside. The crew was quiet as he read, the only sounds the slap of the sea against the hull, the creak of the timbers, the momentary flap of a sail, and the faint whistle of the wind in the rigging.

Everyone knew what the letter must be. Orders from Drowned Wednesday. That meant trouble, particularly as they had been spared direct orders from Wednesday for several thousand years. They were almost certainly no longer going home to Port Wednesday and the few days’ liberty they usually received while their precious cargo was sold.

Captain Swell finished the letter, shook the envelope, and picked up the two additional documents that fell out of it like doves from a conjurer’s hat.

"We are instructed to sail to a landlocked part of the Secondary Realms," the Captain said to Wednesday, the hint of a question in his voice.

"Our mistress will ensure the Sea extends there for the time it takes for your passenger to embark," replied Dawn.

"We must cross the Line of Storms both ways," added the Captain. "With a mortal passenger."

"You must," agreed Dawn. She tapped one of the documents with her riding crop. "That is a Permission that will allow a mortal to pass the Line."

"This mortal is to be treated as a personal guest of Milady?"

"He is."

"This passenger’s name will be required for my manifest."

"Unnecessary," Dawn snapped. She looked the Captain directly in the eyes. "He is a confidential guest. You have a description, a location, and specific sailing instructions drawn up personally by me. I suggest you get on with it. Unless of course you wish to challenge these orders? I could arrange an audience with Lady Wednesday if you choose."

Everyone on the ship held their breath. If the Captain chose to see Drowned Wednesday, they’d all have to go as well, and not one of them was ready for that fate.

Captain Swell hesitated for a moment. Then he slowly saluted.

"As ever, I am at Milady Wednesday’s command. Good day, Miss Dawn."

"Good day to you, Captain." Dawn’s wings stirred at her back, sending a sudden breeze around the quarterdeck. "Good luck."

"We’ll need it," whispered the helmsman to his mate as Dawn stepped up to the rail and launched herself in a long arcing dive that ended several hundred yards away in the sea, as she transformed back to a golden, winged shark.

"Mister Pannikin!" roared the Captain, though the First Mate was only a few feet away. "Stand by to make sail!"

He glanced down at the complex sailing instructions that Dawn had given him, noting the known landmarks of the Border Sea they must sight and the auguries and incantations required to sail the ship to the required place and time in the Secondary Worlds. As was the case with all of Drowned Wednesday’s regular merchant marine, the Captain was himself a sorcerer-navigator, as were his officers.

"Mmm...Bethesda Hospital...room 206...two minutes past the hour of seven. On Wednesday, of course," muttered the Captain, reading aloud to himself. "House time as per line four, corresponds with the date and year in local reckoning in the boxed corner, and where...odd name for a town...never heard of that country...what will these mortals think of next...and the world..."

He flipped the parchment over.

"Hmmph. I might have known!"

The Captain looked up and across at his running, climbing, swinging, rolling, swaying, sail-unfurling, and rope-hauling crew. They all stopped as one and looked at him.

"We sail to Earth!" shouted Captain Swell.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 88 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 90 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Awesome series.

    The series was, is, and atill qill be great. I think tjis one is about the best so far. I like wensday much more than grim and monday, but some of the other trusties are much better and more interesting. I think that this book is were the plot all ties togeather.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2005

    The coolest book EVA!

    I love this series! Its great! I wish the next book wud hurry up!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012


    Gr8 book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    The best books ever in the history of mankind.

    This was a very good book. So I want you to buy and lend me the book. ThAnK yOu

    The Joker

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love the series - great reads

    I really enjoy these books by Garth Nix.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Read It!

    Pirates! Giant Whale (HUGE)! Talking Rats! Thats all I'm gonna say. Fantasy and Nix lovers will not be disappointed with the third book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    exciting with lots of adventure!!!

    I have the first 2 books in the series and needed this one to find out what is happening.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2011

    great book for those who love adventures

    there are many more series and Garth Nix did an outstanding job on writing these kind of books.

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  • Posted March 6, 2011


    love love loooove this series!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not great, but not bad.

    There's certainly one thing to be said about everything Nix writes, and that is that it's rife with original creativity and completely new fantasy stories. However, sometimes the books themselves, although phenomenally imaginative, are hit or miss depending on how much Nix is able to flesh out the story. The Seventh Tower series, for instance, is deftly imagined, a two worlds drawn together through light and shadow, and the ability to use colored gemstones to create light beams that can do all sorts of interesting things. Unfortunately for whatever reason, Nix doesn't explore the world and the story enough. It's much more like eating watery soup than it is like consuming a good meal.

    The Abhorsen Trilogy, on the other hand, is a great work, and although it's not a classic literature sort of story, the world itself is fleshed out well, so that the reader can really imagine the world and lose themselves in it. I feel like the Keys to the Kingdom series is a mixture of both, and I'd love to see the world more fully explored. The first book, especially, seems to move toward that path, but as the books progress, they seem to become more and more formulaic and lacking in substance. Ultimately, Nix's imagination seems to know no bounds, but if he would slow down and put more life into these books, I think they would be much better. Not to say that the books aren't fun to read, but I believe they could be fun to read and rich. Hopefully his next fantasy series will be more like The Abhorsen Trilogy.

    -Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Best in the Series... So Far

    "Drowned Wednesday", the third book in the super entertaining, completely enjoyable, and extremely adventurous "Keys to the Kingdom" series, by Garth Nix is a great book that will not have any fan disappointed after reading the first two, "Mister Monday" and "Grim Tuesday". This book definitely leaves you wanting to read the next one and is the best in the series... so far.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2008

    Adventure and fantasy

    This book finds the hero, Arthur, on a ship with pirates as he continues his quest for the Keys to the Kingdom. The characters introduced in this book are great especially the addition of the doctor and his knowledge of sorcery which adds a stronger element of magic to this book. The author's imagination is incredible and this book has plenty of action to keep you reading all day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2008

    Superior to Grim, tied with Monday

    This book is more of a four and a half stars than a four. The plot is thouroghly entertaining, as we get to see, in my mind, the most unique of the first three Morrow Days. I liked Drowned Wednesday's character much better than Grim or Monday. I would reccommend this book to anyone over the age of 10.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    I just loved the book Drowned Wednesday! It was just a brain thriller. I have read the entire series, but I think it was probably one of the best! Read them if you like advernture-fantasy fiction. Long live The Keys to the Kingdom!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2007

    the bestbook

    this is the best book in the keys to the kingdom series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2007

    Fantastic Fantasy

    The book 'Drowned Wednesday' by Garth Nix was a great book, especially if you are in to fantasy. This book is a continuation of the Keys to the Kingdom series, and tells the adventure Arthur goes on to get the third key. I liked this book because it was full of adventure and really keeps you wanting more the whole time you are reading it. If you like fantasy or adventure, you will enjoy this book and not be able to put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2007


    These books are some of the best books i have ever read, and trustme, i have read alottttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    Definitely Not Boring......

    This series is anything and everything but boring. Imaginative, rich in fantasy and a definite adventure with every page. Highly recommended for all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2006

    Best One Yet!!

    In my opinion this is by far the best book in the series yet!! I couldn't put it down!! If you like adventure stories I highly recommend this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2006

    This series is so creative!

    Never before have i read anything as different and creative as this series...and i thought after reading harry potter, nothing else could be more creative. But this series--and in particular this book, was very well written. The plot was extremely suspenseful, and the ending a real cliff hanger. I cant wait for Sir Thursday!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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