Power of Three

Power of Three

3.7 7
by Diana Wynne Jones

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Ayna could predict the future.
Cari could find what was lost.
Gair thought he was ordinary.

The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people's enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous

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Ayna could predict the future.
Cari could find what was lost.
Gair thought he was ordinary.

The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people's enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous and violent.

But it's not until their home is invaded that Gair learns of a dying curse that endangers all three peoples of the Moor. A curse that ordinary Gair, with the help of his extraordinary brother and sister, may be able to break, but only at the most dreadful risk to all three, and to the Moor itself.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Another title in the massive reissue of Diana Wynne Jones's equally massive fantasy oeuvre, this is one of her earliest efforts. As such, she toys with themes that she will return to over the years. Yes, there are the fey children: siblings Ayna, Gair, and Ceri. When their mound home on the English moor is threatened by a combination of onslaughts from two age-old enemies, they must learn to work together using their individual gifts in a dangerous attempt to save their way of life. But wait—is it possible that these enemies (the Giants, and an underwater-living people known as Dorig) might not be as terrible as painted? Wynne Jones has some fun dabbling with mediation themes. She also unveils a surprise as one slowly discovers that the various players might not be from such disparate worlds after all. Containing inklings of The Dalemark Quartet as well as themes later pursued in her alternate universe books, it's an amusing introduction to her style. 2003 (orig. 1976), Greenwillow, Ages 10 up.
— Kathleen Karr

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HarperCollins Publishers
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8 - 12 Years

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Chapter One

This is the story of the children of Adara -- of Ayna and Ceri who both had Gifts, and of Gair, who thought he was ordinary. But, as all the things which later happened on the Moor go back to something Adara's brother Orban did one summer day when Adara herself was only seven years old, this is the first thing to be told.

The Moor was never quite free of mist. Even at bright noon that bright summer day there was a smokiness to the trees and the very corn, so that it could have been a green landscape reflected in one of its own sluggish, peaty dikes. The reason was that the Moor was a sunken plain, almost entirely surrounded by low green hills. Much of it was still marsh, and the Sun drew vapors from it constantly.

Orban was swaggering along a straight green track, away from Otmound, which stood low and turfy behind him, slightly in advance of the ring of hills round the Moor. Beyond it, away to his left, was its companion, the Haunted Mound, which had a huge boulder planted crookedly on top of it, no one knew why. Orban could see it when he turned to warn his sister, loftily over his shoulder, not to go near marsh or standing water. He was annoyed with her for following him, but he did not want to get into trouble for not taking care of her.

It was one of those times when the Giants were at war among themselves. From time to time, from beyond the mists at the edge of the Moor, came the blank thump and rumble of their weapons. Orban took no notice. Giants did not interest him. The track he was on was an old Giants' road. If he looked down through the turf, he could see the great stones of it, too heavy for men to lift, and he thought he might kill a few Giants some day. But his mind was mostly taken up with Orban, who was twelve years old and going to be Chief. Orban had a fine new sword. He swished it importantly and fingered the thick gold collar round his neck that marked him as the son of a Chief.

"Hurry up, or the Dorig will get you!" he called back to Adara.

Adara, being only seven, was nervous of the Giants and their noise. It was mixed up in her mind with the sound of thunder, when, it always seemed to her, even bigger Giants rolled wooden balls around in the sky. But she did not want Orban to think she was afraid, so she hurried beside him down the green track and pretended not to hear the noise.

Orban had come out to be alone with his new sword and his own glory, but, since Adara had followed him out, he decided to unveil his glory to her a little. "I know ten times as much as you do," he told her. "I know you do," Adara answered humbly.

Orban scowled. One does not want glory accepted as a matter of course. One wants to shock and astonish people with it. "I bet you didn't know the Haunted Mound is stuffed with the ghosts of dead Dorig," he said. "The Otmounders killed them all, hundreds of years ago. The only good Dorig is a dead Dorig."

This was common knowledge. But, since Adara really thought Orban was the cleverest person she knew, she politely said nothing.

"Dorig are just vermin," Orban continued, displeased by her silence. "Cold-blooded vermin. They can't sing, or weave, or fight, or work gold. They just lie underwater and wait to pull you under. Did you know half the hills round the Moor used to be full of people, until the Dorig killed them all off?" "I thought that was the Plague," Adara said timidly.

"You're stupid," said Orban. Adara, seeing it had been a mistake to correct him, said humbly that she knew she was. This did not please Orban either. He sought about for some method of startling Adara into a true sense of his superiority. The prospect was not promising. The track led among tufts of rushes, straight into misty distance. There was a hedge and a dike half a field away. A band of mist lay over a dip in the old road and a spindly blackbird was watching them from it. The blackbird would have to do. "You see that blackbird?" said Orban. A blunt volley of noise from the Giants made Adara jump. She looked round and discovered that Otmound was already misty with distance. "Let's go home," she said.

"This is one thing you don't know. Go home if you want," said Orban. "But if that blackbird is really a Dorig, I can make it shift to its proper shape. I know the words. Shall I say them?"

"No. Let's go home," Adara said, shivering.

"Baby!" said Orban. "You watch." And he marched toward the bird, saying the words and swishing his sword in time to them.

Nothing happened, because Orban got the words wrong. Nothing whatsoever would have happened, had not Adara, who hated Orban to look a fool, obligingly said the words right for him.

A wave of cold air swept out of the hollow, making both children shiver. They were too horrified to move. The blackbird, after a frantic flutter of protest, dissolved into mist thicker and grayer than the haze around it. The mist swirled, and solidified into a shape much larger. It was the pale, scaly figure of a Dorig, right enough. It was crouched on one knee in the dip, staring toward them in horror, and holding in both hands a twisted green-gold collar not unlike Orban's or Adara's.

"Now look what you've done!" Orban snarled at Adara. But, as he said it, he realized that the Dorig was not really very large. He had been told that Dorig usually stood head and shoulders above a grown man, but this one was probably only as high as his chin. It had a weak and spindly look, too. It did not seem to have a weapon and, better still, Orban knew that those words, once spoken, would prevent the creature shifting shape until Sundown. There was no chance of it turning into an adder or a wolf.

Power of Three. Copyright © by Diana Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934‒2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.

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