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The Well Between the Worlds (Lyonesse Series #1)

The Well Between the Worlds (Lyonesse Series #1)

4.0 4
by Sam Llewellyn

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Critically acclaimed author Sam Llewellyn brings to life the vivid and epic legend of a land of magic and monsters, and one boy who may rule it all.

Lyonesse is the land of legends and magic. It's the forgetten land where King Arthur once resided with Merlin and his Knights of the Round Table. But thousands of years after the great king walked this country, it


Critically acclaimed author Sam Llewellyn brings to life the vivid and epic legend of a land of magic and monsters, and one boy who may rule it all.

Lyonesse is the land of legends and magic. It's the forgetten land where King Arthur once resided with Merlin and his Knights of the Round Table. But thousands of years after the great king walked this country, it has become a place of shadows, where men hunt and capture the monsters that lurk below in the dark depths of the sea. Lyonesse is slowly sinking, and it is up to one boy, Idris, to save his people and his land. Can he stand up to the forces of evil that aim to stop him?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Drawing on centuries-old native lore, British author Llewellyn explores the mythical, now-sunken Lyonesse, the setting for the proto-legends of King Arthur. The people of Lyonesse have learned to keep their land afloat, in part by building machines, in part by reaching a truce with the monsters that swim in its bottomless wells-or so 11-year-old Idris (the Arthur figure) thinks. But when Idris turns out to be a Cross (with both monster and human forebears), he learns deadlier truths. Realizing that he can hear the thoughts of both monsters and men, he concludes that neither are to be trusted-and before long he sees that he may play a crucial role in Lyonesse's destiny. Assuming readers can get past the misleading cover art, which features a particularly creepy, shark-toothed behemoth, those with a taste for Arthuriana will find Llewellyn's versions of such Camelot characters as Merlin and Morgan engrossing; more general fans of high fantasy will appreciate the imaginative world-building. Kids will need to read closely to follow the thickly layered plot through all of its turns; those who do will be eager for the planned sequel. Ages 9-12. (Feb.)

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VOYA - Rayna Patton
Idris Limpet seems like an ordinary eleven-year-old son from a poor family in an insignificant town. But strangely, some powerful people seem to think he would be better dead. Condemned to death by drowning, he is saved by a mysterious stranger called Ambrose, who travels with him to Wellvale, a large walled city filled with wells that mark rifts between two worlds. The wells are used by men to harvest alien monsters who, like phosphorus, self-combust in air. The wells also spill quantities of well water into Lyonesse that flood and poison the land. Enrolled in a school for "monstergrooms," who tend the monsters until they are used as fuel, Indris discovers that Wellvale has deadly secrets. Sea Eagle, who rules Lyonesse, and her son Dolphin, are forbidden "crosses" between human and monster. Her goal is to have the alien ocean world drown Lyonesse completely. She is also the murderous second wife of the king of Lyonesse, whom she poisoned after killing his first wife. Two infant children of the king were saved and hidden. Indris is one of them, the rightful heir of Lyonesse. How can he claim his throne and close the wells between the worlds? Seldom does one find a new fantasy that is so richly textured, so original in concept, and with such a wonderfully interesting story. Llewellyn creates characters that live on the page. Fantasy lovers will be impatient to find out where their paths take them Reviewer: Rayna Patton
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

In this unique and gripping fantasy, the world is divided into different realms. A society of humans exists aboveground, though corruption now taints their once-verdant kingdom, Lyonesse. Belowground exists a watery underworld populated by aquatic, amorphous monsters. The two worlds open to one another through a series of stone wells. Lyonesse, by order of the Queen regent, fishes the wells to catch the monsters. They are then dried and burned to produce power. It's a violent and destructive process, as operating the wells releases poisoned water, slowly sinking the kingdom. Its only hope lies in 11-year-old Idris Limpet, a boy rescued minutes before his execution and then trained as a monstergroom. He must find a way to overthrow the Queen regent and restore balance before Lyonesse is drowned by corruption. Llewellyn's writing style is crisp, and he keeps the action moving. The author's strength lies in his ability to make a seemingly incomprehensible world appear perfectly plausible.-Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Quietly superb prose and a memorable, unassuming hero make this Arthurian-flavored world fresh and beautiful even when it's bitterly ugly. A spurious accusation of swimming (implying he's a Cross between human and monster) yanks 11-year-old Idris out of his calm seaside life. A stranger spirits him away from the death sentence to a choking, fetid city, the Valley of Apples. There Idris trains as a monstergroom, capturing screaming monsters-"burners"-from massive Wells rising from a world of water. The narrative deftly depicts the blend of men's cruel greed with unthinking habit as they use these combustive burners to fuel machines used for luxury and dam-building as Lyonesse sinks lower than the encircling sea. Llewellyn writes with a gentle hand, neither minimizing nor bombarding readers with moral interpretation. Idris's subtle fortitude and inherent generosity survive his discovery that he's rightful King and must wrest the land from a Cross regent trying to drown everything in dark, alien waters. Flawed by a gratuitous, pervasive equation of evil with fat, but mainly a rich and unpretentious gem. (map, author's note) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Lyonesse Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Sam Llewellyn has published half a dozen children's books, including the chronicles of Lyonesse: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS and DARKSOLSTICE, and the Little Darlings series. He also works as a journalist for British and American newspapers and magazines such as the LONDON TIMES and DAILY TELEGRAPH. Sam now lives with his wife, award-winning children's writer Karen Wallace, and their two sons in a medieval house in the Welsh border country.

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The Well Between the Worlds (Lyonesse Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a boy who was raised in a fishing town with a loving family. He was your average twelve-year-old who liked adventures and playing with friends after school.

Little did he know that this current adventure had just begun. With a twist of events, this young boy was fighting for his life and finding out things about himself that put him and everyone that knew him in more danger than ever before.

I greatly enjoyed this book. At times it lacked detail and became hard to follow, but overall it was a great book.

It shows the real side of humans. Some are out to help people and others are there to only help themselves. It is a nice change to your classic 'monster' story or King Arthur tale. Many books have the same theme and you can predict what is going to happen way before it does. With THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS, though, it is another story.

The plot is different from anything I have ever read and I loved it. It was also unpredictable for the most part. There are times where I was sure that I knew what the main character was going to do but was surprisingly wrong and a new twist unfolded. I could not put the book down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next and what this young boy was going to do.

I can't wait for the next book in the LYONESSE series to come out so I can discover where this young hero's journey veers off to next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lyonesse used to be a nice place. Then it started sinking into the ocean, bad people take over, and poison water starts seeping in from Wells filled with monsters that lead to another world. Idris Limpet lives in the backwater fishing village of Westgate until he escapes execution by drowning from the evil Captain Ironhorse, who claims Idris is half-monster. He goes to work for the mage Ambrose, catching mosnters from the Wells. He begins to realize he has a destiny. And yes, there is a sword in a stone. The Well Between the Worlds is the first book in the Lyonesse series. This is a very unique story of a fight between good and evil. Llewellyn's worldbuilding is quite original--the book has to be read to understand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago