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Enter Three Witches: A Story of Macbeth
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Enter Three Witches: A Story of Macbeth

by Caroline B. Cooney

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A fresh perspective on MACBETH from one of today's foremost YA writers. Three girls witness the action of Shakespeare's play firsthand -- and their lives are forever changed because of it.

Lady Mary is a ward of Lord and Lady Macbeth whose life is forever changed when her father, Lord Cawdor, betrays the Scottish king -- and is hanged as a traitor. In an


A fresh perspective on MACBETH from one of today's foremost YA writers. Three girls witness the action of Shakespeare's play firsthand -- and their lives are forever changed because of it.

Lady Mary is a ward of Lord and Lady Macbeth whose life is forever changed when her father, Lord Cawdor, betrays the Scottish king -- and is hanged as a traitor. In an instant, Mary has lost both her father and future. Now she's trapped in a castle with a power-hungry couple who will do anything to get what they want -- and are willing to crush anyone in their way. Including Mary. As the murderous events of Shakespeare's play unfold around her, Mary must struggle to survive -- and do what she can to prevent more deaths. But can a lone girl save lives when a legion of Scottish lords cannot?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Cooney (The Face on the Milk Carton; Code Orange) fashions a compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes peek into the rise and fall of Lord and Lady Macbeth, told from the points of view of several of the play's minor characters plus a handful of invented ones. As the central tale proceeds inexorably from triumph to betrayal to tragedy, several subplots unfold. Sweet-natured Lady Mary (daughter of the Thane of Cawdor) was sent to learn the domestic arts from elegant but icy Lady Macbeth. Her circumstances take a turn for the worse when her father is declared a traitor to the king, her fiancé dies in battle, and she is offered in marriage to Seyton, Macbeth's henchman, a ruthless man who will do whatever it takes to acquire a fortune. Banquo's son fights in his first battle and then must determine where his loyalties lie when Macbeth's thugs kill his father. Sturdy, independent-minded Swin runs the kitchen with an iron fist but dispenses unexpected kindness on the sly. Meanwhile, embittered Ildred comes to terms with a terrible betrayal and eventually rediscovers a rewarding way to live. These briskly narrated plot lines and more unfold in bite-size scenes, each prefaced by a related quote from the Bard's play. Thus, each of Shakespeare's lines gets enough space so that it can be savored by readers who might otherwise be intimidated by the dense, unfamiliar language. This more human-scale vision offers an easy way in for readers new to the play, and will also reward those familiar with the grand tragedy. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Fourteen-year-old Lady Mary is the ward of a most unusual couple—Lord and Lady Macbeth, no less. Mary at first seems almost invisible in their household. Able to mingle with nobles and servants alike, she is childishly innocent and filled with the touching hope that her promised Aslief will return from battle to claim her hand. Her destiny turns drastically when her father is hanged as a traitor, and she is banished to work in the scullery. The Shakespearian cast is here in full regalia: Macbeth and his lady, Banquo and King Duncan, and of course the infamous Weird Ones, complete with cat. The cat is brindled rather than traditionally "brinded" but it is clearly the one that mew'd thrice! Cooney is a deft manipulator of the induced shiver and of suspenseful foreshadowing. From the pricking of Mary's thumbs onward, she doesn't let us down. The story is told in a well-paced third person viewpoint that reveals servility and survival, jealousy and intrigue at every level. The narrative focuses mostly on Mary but zooms in as well on the alternating viewpoints of characters of Swin, slaughterer of sheep, Ildred, companion to Lady Macbeth, and other original additions to the cast. This is an entertaining novel that remains true to the rich material of its source while finding its own arc in the tale of its young protagonist. Quotes from the play serve as epigraphs and lines from it turn up in dialogue to lend nuance. Sources and adaptations are clearly elucidated in an author's note, in which Cooney exhorts young readers to follow this one up by reading the original that inspired it.
VOYA - Laura Panter
Fourteen-year-old Lady Mary, ward to Lord and Lady Macbeth, becomes embroiled in a fight to salvage her future after her father dies a traitor and the good King Duncan is murdered in his sleep. Duncan's murder forces his two sons to flee for fear of their own lives while Lord Macbeth is crowned the new king. Under Macbeth's rule, the castle at Inverness is besieged by treachery, madness, and the magic of witches as others in line for the throne are brutally murdered. In time, the loving bond shown between Lord and Lady Macbeth is slowly severed, leaving the new queen with nothing but her visions of insanity. Lady Mary spends her days in fear and turmoil as she tries to decipher whether Seyton, her newly betrothed, is an honorable noble or a murderer. To gain control of her life, Mary, with the assistance of Scottish army commander Banquo's supposedly dead son Fleance, valiantly strives to mastermind a plan to save herself and the kingdom before she too meets her death. Cooney crafts an engrossing novel of magic and greed with a touch of romance, using quotes from Shakespeare's Macbeth to foreshadow the action and provoke suspense. Surprises and plot twists cause the reader to feel a range of emotions for the characters, from pity and sadness to rage and shock, as events unfold. Those who shy away from Shakespearian literature should give this stellar novel a second glance as they will be delightfully surprised at how compelling a read drama and tragedy can be.
School Library Journal

Gr 8 & Up - This is a novelized version of Shakespeare's grim tale of the depths to which the lust for power can plunge the human soul. Fourteen-year-old Lady Mary, a ward of Lord and Lady Macbeth, tells of the interweaving of events that cause her master's downfall and thrust her world into turmoil. She is a court favorite, being groomed to be mistress of her own castle when she weds. However, when her father betrays King Duncan and is hanged as a traitor, she is suddenly an outcast-demoted to the position of a mere scullery maid-whose very life is in constant danger. How she grows from being a pampered child to a young woman of strength and courage who must face her fate and try to prevent more lives from being crushed by her power-hungry guardians is the crux of this engaging tale. Both the chapters and their parts are introduced with pertinent lines from the play, and the text uses some of the actual dialogue as well. While it may be difficult at first, the language is so interesting and appropriate that readers will soon become comfortable with the elevated tone. Mary's fully developed character is plagued with doubts and fears, yet driven to do what is right and just. As part of the ever-growing genre of prose adaptations of the Bard's works, Cooney's novel can take its place at the top with Lisa Klein's Ophelia(Bloomsbury, 2006), providing its readers with an engaging, realistic tale that will catapult them toward wanting to experience Shakespeare's original play.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.98(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

CAROLINE B. COONEY has written more than 75 novels for young adults. Her books have sold more than fifteen million copies and have been printed in many languages. She lived in Connecticut for many years, but has recently moved to South Carolina. Please visit her online at www.carolinebcooneybooks.com.

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