The Homeward Bounders

The Homeward Bounders

4.8 5
by Diana Wynne Jones

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If he finds the right world, Jamie can get Home again.

When Jamie stumbled upon the powerful Them playing Their mysterious games, They threw him out to the Boundaries of the worlds. Since then, he's been yanked from world to world, doomed to wonder in hope of one day finding his way back to his own city.

Bit by bit, though, Jamie realizes there are


If he finds the right world, Jamie can get Home again.

When Jamie stumbled upon the powerful Them playing Their mysterious games, They threw him out to the Boundaries of the worlds. Since then, he's been yanked from world to world, doomed to wonder in hope of one day finding his way back to his own city.

Bit by bit, though, Jamie realizes there are rules They have to play by. He forms an alliance with two other lost Homeward Bounders—bitter, powerful Helen and demon-hunter Joris—and takes a desperate chance, hoping that the three wanders can find a way back to their home worlds at last.

Once he becomes a pawn in a game played by a powerful group he calls Them, 12-year-old Jamie is repeatedly catapulted through space and time.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Twelve-year-old Jamie stumbles across an odd enclave tucked away in the city he loves to explore. His brief introduction to Them sends him as an exile into other worlds where he becomes a Homeward Bounder, forever in search of his true Home. As he learns the strange system of the Bounds, he also meets fellow exiles: Helen of the magic arm and Joris the slave demon slayer. Only in sharing their forbidden knowledge of the enemy can Jamie and his friends confront Them in a bold attempt to save their own lost worlds. Another title in the massive reissue of Diana Wynne Jones's equally massive fantasy oeuvre, Jamie's first-person account is direct and compelling. Only Jones—well, perhaps Terry Pratchett as well—could satisfactorily settle the fates of the Flying Dutchman (although Tom Holt did take a stab at this) and the Wandering Jew. Her stroke of genius was in also resurrecting Prometheus. But 'nuff said. Dash out, procure the book, and settle in for a good read. 2002 (orig. 1981), Greenwillow,
— Kathleen Karr <%ISBN%>0688006787

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Age Range:
13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Have you heard of the Flying Dutchman? No? Nor of the Wandering Jew? Well, it doesn't matter. I'll tell you about them in the right place; and about Helen and Joris, Adam and Konstam, and Vanessa, the sister Adam wanted to sell as a slave. They were all Homeward Bounders like me. And I'll tell about Them too, who made us that way.

All in good time. I'll tell about this machine I'm talking into first. It's one of Theirs. They have everything. It has a high piece in front that comes to a neat square with a net over it. You talk into that. As soon as you talk, a little black piece at the back starts hopping and jabbering up and down like an excited idiot, and paper starts rolling over a roller from somewhere underneath. The hopping bit jabbers along the paper, printing out exactly the words you say as fast as you can say them. And it puts in commas and full-stops and things of its own accord. It doesn't seem to worry it what you say. I called it some rude words when I was trying it out, just to see, and it wrote them all down, with exclamation marks after them.

When it's written about a foot of talk, it cuts that off and shoots it out into a tray in front, so that you can read it over, or take it away if you want. And it does this without ever stopping jabbering. If you stop talking, it goes on hopping up and down for a while, in an expectant sort of way, waiting for you to go on. If you don't go on, it slows down and stops, looking sad and disappointed. It put me off at first, doing that. I had to practice with it. I don't like it to stop. The silence creeps in then. I'm the only one in the Place now. Everyone has gone, evenhim -- the one whose name I don't know.

MY name is Jamie Hamilton and I was a perfectly ordinary boy once. I am still, in a way. I look about thirteen. But you wouldn't believe how old I am. I was twelve when this happened to me. A year is an awful long time to a Homeward Bounder.

I really enjoyed my twelve years of ordinary life. Home to me is a big city, and always will be. We lived in a really big, dirty, slummy city. The back of our house looked out on to a lovely cosy courtyard, where everyone came out and talked in fine weather, and everyone knew everyone else. The front of our house was our grocery shop, and all the neighbors shopped there. We were open every day, including Sunday. My mother was a bit of a sharp woman. She was always having rows in the courtyard, usually about credit. She used to say the neighbors expected to buy things for nothing just because they lived in the court, and she told them so to their faces. But no one could have been kinder than my mother when a neighbor's daughter was run over by a brewer's wagon. I often hope they were as kind to her over me.

My father was big and soft-spoken and kind all the time. He used to let people buy things for nothing. When my mother objected, he used to say, "Now, Margaret, they needed it." And usually that stopped the argument.

The arguments my father couldn't seem to stop were always over me. The main one was because I was in my last year at school. School cost money. My school cost rather more than my father could afford, because it had pretensions to grandeur. It was called Churt House, and it was in a dreary building like a chapel, and I remember it as if it were yesterday. We had all sorts of pretend-posh customs -- like calling our teachers Dominies and a School Song -- and that was why my mother liked it.

My mother desperately wanted me to grow up to be something better than a grocer. She was convinced I was clever, and she wanted a doctor in the family. She saw me as a famous surgeon, consulted by Royalty, so she naturally wanted me to stay on at school. My father was dead against it. He said he hadn't the money. He wanted me at home, to help in the shop. They argued about it all the last year I was at home.

Me -- I don't know which side I was on. School bored me stiff. All that sitting and learning lists: lists of spelling, lists of tables, lists of History dates, lists of Geography places. I'd rather do anything else, even now, than learn a list. About the only part of school I enjoyed was the feud we had with the really posh school up the road. It was called Queen Elizabeth Academy, and the boys there wore shiny hats and learned music and things. They despised us -- rightly -- for pretending to be better than we were, and we despised them just as much for the silly hats and the music. We used to have some really good fights on the way home. But the rest of school bored me solid.

On the other hand, the shop bored me almost as much. I'd always rather leave the shop to my brother, Rob. He was younger than me. He thought it was the greatest treat on earth to count change and put up sugar in blue paper bags. My little sister, Elsie, liked the shop too, only she'd always rather play football with me.

Football was the thing I really loved. We used to play in the back alley, between our court and the one behind, our court stick the kids from the other one...

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

Meet the Author

DIANA WYNNE JONES was born in August 1934 in London, where she had a chaotic and unsettled childhood against the background of World War II. The family moved around a lot, finally settling in rural Essex. As children, Diana and her two sisters were deprived of a good, steady supply of books by a father, ‘who could beat Scrooge in a meanness contest’. So, armed with a vivid imagination and an insatiable quest for good books to read, she decided that she would have to write them herself.

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The Homeward Bounders 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read several of her other books and I like how she developed this story. It's in keeping with her writing style. If you like the Chrestomaci series, I think you'll like this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an incredible book! I reccomend it to anyone who loves fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I regularly obsess over Diana's books, and this is one of her very best. I found it first at a library, but was not able to finish or check it out-despair! It took me quite a while to find another copy, but I was glad I had when I did-and recently I bought it. This is an awesome book!