Midwinter Nightingale (Wolves Chronicles Series #10) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Dido and Simon are in danger in this new addition to the Wolves Chronicles. Dido, back in England from America, is almost instantly kidnapped and taken to a derelict mansion surrounded by a deadly moat. The evil baron residing there, who is also a werewolf, wants desperately to know where King Dick is hidden. For the king is dying, and the evil baron wants to put his own demented son on the throne. Meanwhile Simon is with the ailing king. Not only does King Dick want Simon to paint a portrait of him and his ...
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Midwinter Nightingale (Wolves Chronicles Series #10)

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Overview

Dido and Simon are in danger in this new addition to the Wolves Chronicles. Dido, back in England from America, is almost instantly kidnapped and taken to a derelict mansion surrounded by a deadly moat. The evil baron residing there, who is also a werewolf, wants desperately to know where King Dick is hidden. For the king is dying, and the evil baron wants to put his own demented son on the throne. Meanwhile Simon is with the ailing king. Not only does King Dick want Simon to paint a portrait of him and his family, but Simon is also next in line for the throne. However, they do need to find the coronet for the ceremony that will crown Simon. Though the coronet is rumored to be in the derelict mansion where Dido is imprisoned, no one can find it. It’s one cliffhanging, hair-raising chapter after another in this tongue-in-cheek, devilishly delicious adventure.


From the Hardcover edition.

The Wolves Chronicles continue as Dido and her friend Simon, Duke of Battersea, have many perilous adventures trying to protect the ailing King James from the plotting of the evil Baron Magnus who is determined that his brutish son Lothar will be the next king of England.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Sorrow and a magnificent bleakness suffuse this excellent addition to the saga begun with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase," said PW in a starred review. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Dido Twite is a heroine with a lot of pluck and a lot of luck, much of it bad. But good luck seems to come along when she needs it most. She and her pal, Simon, the Duke of Battersea, are among the few true allies of King Richard in a parallel Dickensian England. Since the king is dying without an heir, the villains of the story are eager to find out where he is sequestered so they can control who the next king will be. They are sure Dido knows where he is. So she is abducted and taken to Fogrum Hall, a place from which no one has ever escaped alive. She is imprisoned without food, interrogated and made to feel her only means of escape is telling something she doesn't know. How will she ever cope with the seemingly hopeless situation? Will she or Simon be able protect the king and locate the coronet that is essential for crowning the successor to the throne? Finding the answers to these questions will hold the reader's attention. This book, the eighth in the "Wolves of Willoughby Chase" series, lacks the sort of background information helpful to a reader new to the series, so will be more appreciated by those who are already fans. The author, who has written more than 100 books for young readers and adults, has received many awards. Recently, she was named as a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. 2003, Delacorte Press/Random House Children's Books, Ages 9 up.
— Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Forty years after the publication of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Doubleday, 1963), Aiken presents a new and vibrant adventure of indomitable Dido Twite in this eighth book in the series. Dido gets involved in a plot by an exceedingly evil werewolf-Baron fresh from 15 years incarceration in the Tower of London. The Baron connives to place his own son on the throne of England, rather than Dido's friend Simon. Energetic, imaginative characterization, suspense, and superb timing drive the story to a satisfying conclusion. Although titles in the "Wolves" series may be read independently, readers of the earlier books are the best audience for this romp of a Victorian parody. Aiken's faux-historical novels should appeal to readers of Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (HarperCollins).-Susan Patron, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Croopus! No sooner does Dido Twite step off the boat after a long vacation in the Americas, than she's catapulted into a whirl of high-level chicanery. It seems that dying King Richard IV has disappeared, just as a motley assortment of enemies-including various elder relatives and a vengeful werewolf with two decidedly bad-news offspring-have allied to stage a coup, with the help of an invading army of Burgundians. And while Dido's escaping from kidnap, torture, poison, and fire, her young friend Simon, Duke of Battersea, finds himself charged with keeping the delirious king both happy and safe from discovery, flood, and variously armed assailants. Strewing the proceeds with corpses (though keeping most of them offstage), Aiken sends the principals blundering through foggy marshes to a grand climax in which the schemers do each other in, and Simon suddenly, unwillingly finds himself the new king. Fans of the long-running "Wolves" series or not, readers won't be able to turn the pages of its wild, nonstop new entry fast enough. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307538390
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/12/2009
  • Series: Wolves Chronicles Series , #10
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 353,749
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Joan Aiken is the author of over 100 books for children and adults.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

chapter one

The Wetlands Express was notorious for running well behind schedule, and today the passengers could see that it was going to be even later than usual by the time it reached Distance Edge Junction. Here the train was due to divide in half, a passenger coach and four freight cars turning south to Windfall Clumps, while the main part continued westward toward the Combe country, the mountains and the sea.

Simon, looking out the rain-streaked window into the creeping landscape, began to fear that dark would have fallen by the time he reached his destination. He was bound for a solitary manor house situated in a wilderness known as the Devil’s Playground because its thickets and swampy woods and overgrown hedgerows were so tangled and mazelike that travelers had been known to get lost among them and wander in circles for days on end.

Rain splashed down the dirty glass, blurring the view of soggy meadows and waterlogged woodlands. Then—quite unexpectedly—the train jerked to a stop. Peering out, Simon saw that they had come to a tiny wayside halt; he could just make out the words FROG MERE on the single signboard. In the long pause that followed, nothing could be heard but the slap of rain on the roof and a deep sigh from the engine, as if the train were expressing its intention of never moving again.

But then the silence was broken by the slam of a door. Somebody—astonishingly in such a godforsaken spot—somebody had entered or left the train. Now footsteps came clacking in a purposeful way along the corridor, and the door to Simon’s compartment was vigorously slid open.

Simon sighed, almost as deeply as the train. He was not at all anxious for company.

The girl who came in gave him an intent, considering look, half frowning, half friendly, before settling herself in the diagonal corner with a swish and flounce of dark brown velvet skirts and a twitch of her long fur driving coat. She neatly aligned her feet in well-polished boots and then, when she had made herself thoroughly comfortable, gave Simon another long, shrewd scrutiny.

“You look human, anyway!” she remarked. “Really, when a person travels across this country, they hardly know what to expect. I’ve been told there’s still marsh men with webbed feet! So I do like to pick a compartment where there’s somebody who at least looks as if he would know what to do if the train broke down.”

Simon was doubtful whether he deserved this compliment. And he was not at all flattered by her wish to join him. The errand that brought him to this wild secluded country was a particularly private one and he wanted no hint of its nature to leak out. But he had a kind heart and did not like to snub the girl who had chosen his company.

He had to admit that she looked inoffensive enough. Her hair was dark and short and curved close about her head under a fur cap. Her round freckled face was not pretty—her pink cheeks were too plump, her nose and mouth too big—but she looked lively and keen, dimples showed in her cheeks and a pair of dark gray eyes laughed at Simon as she settled a foreign-looking cat in a cage on the seat beside her.

“I won’t eat you, I promise! And nor will Malkin here, will you, puss? I can see that you are wishing me at the world’s end. But I swear that I am really very harmless. I’ll even guarantee not to talk at all if you prefer silence. But if you like to talk—as I do—my name is Jorinda.”

“Mine is Simon.”

As soon as he had said this, Simon wished he had held his tongue. But the name did not seem to strike any chord in Jorinda, who, taking this as an acceptance of her offer to chat, went on doing so in a low husky confiding voice with a hint of a chuckle in it.

“You see, it is like this: My brother has finished school—at least, he was dismissed for bad behavior—if the truth be told—so I decided that I might as well quit my own abode of instruction in Bath (where they quite washed their hands of me in any case; they say I am incapable of grasping anything beyond ABC) so as to be back at Granda’s manor before news about my brother reaches him—and so cushion the blow for the old boy. Don’t you think that is best? Don’t you think it a sensible plan?”

“Will your grandfather be very angry with your brother?”

“Oh, yes! Prodigiously! The last time Lot was expelled, Granda had a seizure, and foamed at the mouth, and Dr. Fribble had to bleed him and cauterize and phlebotomize him and put him to bed for three weeks with cold compresses and antiphlogistine and nettle gin—that was after Granda had chased Lot round the stable with a walrus tusk and knocked out two of Lot’s front teeth. One trouble is, you see, that Lot is only my half brother; he isn’t Granda’s grandson. Granda never really wanted to have us wished on him. He was only persuaded by Lord Hatchery, who is our cousin and Master of Foxhounds.”

“Is your brother younger than you?”

She shook her head.

Simon thought she looked rather old to be still at school. Seventeen or eighteen, perhaps? He wondered why she spoke of her grandfather and not her father or mother—where were they? But he was not really interested in her confidences and decided that this would be a good moment, while the train was at a standstill, to walk along to the horse box and check on the well-being of his mare, Magpie.

“I’m just going to visit my mare,” he said to the girl. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He stood up.

But Jorinda had already plunged into an account of how her brother, who was the cleverest person she knew, had been sent to school at Fogrum Hall after being thrown out of Harrow.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

chapter one

The Wetlands Express was notorious for running well behind schedule, and today the passengers could see that it was going to be even later than usual by the time it reached Distance Edge Junction. Here the train was due to divide in half, a passenger coach and four freight cars turning south to Windfall Clumps, while the main part continued westward toward the Combe country, the mountains and the sea.

Simon, looking out the rain-streaked window into the creeping landscape, began to fear that dark would have fallen by the time he reached his destination. He was bound for a solitary manor house situated in a wilderness known as the Devil's Playground because its thickets and swampy woods and overgrown hedgerows were so tangled and mazelike that travelers had been known to get lost among them and wander in circles for days on end.

Rain splashed down the dirty glass, blurring the view of soggy meadows and waterlogged woodlands. Then—quite unexpectedly—the train jerked to a stop. Peering out, Simon saw that they had come to a tiny wayside halt; he could just make out the words FROG MERE on the single signboard. In the long pause that followed, nothing could be heard but the slap of rain on the roof and a deep sigh from the engine, as if the train were expressing its intention of never moving again.

But then the silence was broken by the slam of a door. Somebody—astonishingly in such a godforsaken spot—somebody had entered or left the train. Now footsteps came clacking in a purposeful way along the corridor, and the door to Simon's compartment was vigorously slid open.

Simon sighed, almost as deeply as the train.He was not at all anxious for company.

The girl who came in gave him an intent, considering look, half frowning, half friendly, before settling herself in the diagonal corner with a swish and flounce of dark brown velvet skirts and a twitch of her long fur driving coat. She neatly aligned her feet in well-polished boots and then, when she had made herself thoroughly comfortable, gave Simon another long, shrewd scrutiny.

"You look human, anyway!" she remarked. "Really, when a person travels across this country, they hardly know what to expect. I've been told there's still marsh men with webbed feet! So I do like to pick a compartment where there's somebody who at least looks as if he would know what to do if the train broke down."

Simon was doubtful whether he deserved this compliment. And he was not at all flattered by her wish to join him. The errand that brought him to this wild secluded country was a particularly private one and he wanted no hint of its nature to leak out. But he had a kind heart and did not like to snub the girl who had chosen his company.

He had to admit that she looked inoffensive enough. Her hair was dark and short and curved close about her head under a fur cap. Her round freckled face was not pretty—her pink cheeks were too plump, her nose and mouth too big—but she looked lively and keen, dimples showed in her cheeks and a pair of dark gray eyes laughed at Simon as she settled a foreign-looking cat in a cage on the seat beside her.

"I won't eat you, I promise! And nor will Malkin here, will you, puss? I can see that you are wishing me at the world's end. But I swear that I am really very harmless. I'll even guarantee not to talk at all if you prefer silence. But if you like to talk—as I do—my name is Jorinda."

"Mine is Simon."

As soon as he had said this, Simon wished he had held his tongue. But the name did not seem to strike any chord in Jorinda, who, taking this as an acceptance of her offer to chat, went on doing so in a low husky confiding voice with a hint of a chuckle in it.

"You see, it is like this: My brother has finished school—at least, he was dismissed for bad behavior—if the truth be told—so I decided that I might as well quit my own abode of instruction in Bath (where they quite washed their hands of me in any case; they say I am incapable of grasping anything beyond ABC) so as to be back at Granda's manor before news about my brother reaches him—and so cushion the blow for the old boy. Don't you think that is best? Don't you think it a sensible plan?"

"Will your grandfather be very angry with your brother?"

"Oh, yes! Prodigiously! The last time Lot was expelled, Granda had a seizure, and foamed at the mouth, and Dr. Fribble had to bleed him and cauterize and phlebotomize him and put him to bed for three weeks with cold compresses and antiphlogistine and nettle gin—that was after Granda had chased Lot round the stable with a walrus tusk and knocked out two of Lot's front teeth. One trouble is, you see, that Lot is only my half brother; he isn't Granda's grandson. Granda never really wanted to have us wished on him. He was only persuaded by Lord Hatchery, who is our cousin and Master of Foxhounds."

"Is your brother younger than you?"

She shook her head.

Simon thought she looked rather old to be still at school. Seventeen or eighteen, perhaps? He wondered why she spoke of her grandfather and not her father or mother—where were they? But he was not really interested in her confidences and decided that this would be a good moment, while the train was at a standstill, to walk along to the horse box and check on the well-being of his mare, Magpie.

"I'm just going to visit my mare," he said to the girl. "I'll be back in a few minutes." He stood up.

But Jorinda had already plunged into an account of how her brother, who was the cleverest person she knew, had been sent to school at Fogrum Hall after being thrown out of Harrow.
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