The Last Siege

The Last Siege

by Jonathan Stroud
     
 

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A chance encounter on the snowy slopes of a castle moat throws together three lonely teenagers: Emily, Simon, and the highly imaginative and enigmatic Marcus.

At first, the castle’s ruins are merely the backdrop to a day in the snow. But when the three break in to the forbidden interior of the keep, they find the castle taking on a different, and deeper,

Overview

A chance encounter on the snowy slopes of a castle moat throws together three lonely teenagers: Emily, Simon, and the highly imaginative and enigmatic Marcus.

At first, the castle’s ruins are merely the backdrop to a day in the snow. But when the three break in to the forbidden interior of the keep, they find the castle taking on a different, and deeper, meaning. Despite the freezing conditions, they spend the night there, to experience the power of occupation.

But when the reenactment gets out of control a very real siege ensues, and their playful dare soon turns into a frenzy of nightmarish action

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Diane Emge Colson
Three teens meet on the snow-covered grounds of a ruined castle and form a tentative friendship. Emily is the practical only child of distracted parents, Simon is the youngest in a brood of hoodlums, and Marcus is a boy burdened by secrets. Spurred by Marcus's intense interest in the violent history of the castle and its keep, the three embark on an unauthorized exploration of the ruins. Their investigations become even more daring when they decide to spend the night at the castle, an evening embellished with Marcus's tale of a long-ago castle siege that ended in tragedy. When morning comes, the trio oversleeps. Marcus becomes completely unhinged when he realizes that his father will discover his overnight absence. When Emily and Simon next see Marcus, his face is covered in bruises, a punishment from his father. With mixed emotions, Emily and Simon join Marcus when he takes refuge in the castle, resulting in a modern-day version of the medieval siege. Many of Stroud's fans will be interested in this stand-alone novel, originally published in the U.K. in 2003, although it lacks the complexity and imagination of The Bartimaeus Trilogy. The character development is sketchy, with a leaning toward stereotypes: Emily is stolid, Simon proves his manhood, and Marcus is mysteriously troubled. The correlation between the historical siege of the castle and the present drama is also weak. This paperback release of a 2003 British novel is presumably intended to piggyback on the author's newfound popularity. Libraries with a strong Bartimaeus following will probably want to invest in this one.
Children's Literature - Cindy L. Carolan
Having snowball fights and sledding on the grounds of an old castle's ruins sound like delightful ways to spend part of one's Christmas holiday. A bunch of teenagers are doing exactly that, when a most unlikely group of three of them, by sheer happenstance, team up to break in and spend the night in the castle. The ringleader is Marcus, who lives alone with his allegedly abusive father who works nights in a factory; Emily, the sole girl in the trio, who has no complaints about her family situation other than boredom; and Simon, whose large family spends a fair amount of time in and out of prison and pubs. When the group takes their occupation of the castle a bit too far, it appears that a real battle will ensue, with dire consequences. Aside from thin character development, the book is readable and will interest history aficionados and castle fans with descriptions of things such as "murder-holes," openings cut in entrance passages to allow substances such as burning oil to be poured down upon unwanted visitors. This British author has been writing since age seven and is probably most well known for his New York Times best-selling "Bartimaeus" trilogy. Recommended.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423101079
Publisher:
Miramax Books for Kids
Publication date:
10/28/2006
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Jonathan Stroud is the New York Times best-selling author of the Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand, Golem’s Eye and Ptolemy’s Gate, all available on audio from Listening Library. He is also the author of The Leap and Buried Fire. He lives in England with his family.

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