Vesper and her friends are sailing off to the newly discovered archeological site of Troy. But danger is close behind—and the party is tricked and imprisoned in a fabulous palace called Xanadu. Xanadu’s master is none other than Vesper’s archenemy, Dr. Helvitius, who has a diabolical scheme to dominate the world. His first goal is to destroy Vesper, who has thwarted him once too often. Escape seems impossible. But if anyone can do it, Vesper can!
About the Author
Born on January 30, 1924, in Philadelphia, storyteller Lloyd Alexander spent his childhood filling his imagination with fantasies about other lands and eras. For ten years of his writing career, Alexander wrote for adults, then changed gears and wrote fiction for young people. Alexander has received a Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor Award, a National Book Award, and several IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Awards. He is also the author of many ALA Notable Children’s Books and School Library Journal Best Books of the Year.
What People are Saying About This
...Vesper is as plucky as ever in this splendid addition to a solid series. (Booklist, starred review)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's funny, but I feel like a great deal of my childhood reading was wrapped up in Lloyd Alexander (this is no understatement if you wikipedia this guy and see just how prolific he was). I may have loved The Chronicles of Prydain but I really fell in love with Vesper Holly. To this day, "Vesper" is still in the running for baby names if I should ever have a little girl.So a while ago, I discovered the "Never-Ending Book Quiz" on Goodreads and I started thinking about all the good books that deserved trivia questions. And naturally, I thought of Vesper. So I went online to remember all the exact titles and there on the list was a book I had never read before... The Xanadu Adventure published in 2005. I was graduating college in 2005, so I suppose it isn't surprising that I wasn't searching the young readers' section for unread gems, but I was still surprised that I had not yet heard of this sixth Vesper Holly book, printed fifteen years after the fifth. I ordered it immediately from an amazon seller and a few days ago, it arrived.In The Xanadu Adventure, you find all the little touches that have come to characterize Vesper Holly books for me... the random expedition to an exotic locale, the cliffhanger endings to the short chapters, the narrator Brinnie's tendency to jump to conclusions, Vesper's cool-headed sense of reason, and, of course, our arch-nemesis Dr. Helvitius. In this adventure, we set off in search of Troy, but instead, we find an artificial Xanadu created by the wealthy and ridiculous Dr. Helvitius (all the truly great villains are wealthy and ridiculous, you know). Oh, and we also find a whole civilization of people (amazingly enough, an undiscovered people who are clearly the descendants of escaped Trojans) that possess the key to deciphering the language the Weed is studying, which sent us off on this adventure in the first place. As we've gone along in the Vesper Holly books, we've acquired a few characters that we can't seem to shake. In the beginning, it was just Vesper and her guardian Brinnie running from place to place. Then we found Smiler and Slider, handy twins that are characterized by their mechanical know-how (particularly when it comes to boats that are of questionable sea-worthiness) and brute strength. There's Aunt Mary, Brinnie's wife who is surprisingly resourceful and nimble, much to her husband's surprise. And let us not forget "the Weed," a young man with academic pursuits who stumbled into our story and Vesper's heart. I can't say that I don't enjoy the side-characters, but there was something a little less complicated about Vesper and Brinnie on their own in foreign countries. The more characters we acquired, the closer I knew we were coming to an eventual end of the stories. We were weighted down with people and soon it would be too much for such a troupe to wander into adventure.And even while Vesper was always a bright and energetic young woman, it's in this book more than any other that you realize time has passed and we're not dealing with static characters whose ages do not change. There's always something a little melancholy about watching a character you love grow up. It's not like Vesper's an old woman or anything, but even the idea of her actually getting married and having a child is a bit much for me. I suppose it was good of Alexander to let us know that she's taken care-of and that even in marital bliss, she won't be losing her spunkiness... but I don't know if I needed assurance on that front.Alexander, however, might have... I hadn't known this before finishing this book, but apparently Alexander had a step-daughter (his wife's daughter, whom he adopted) who passed away in 1990 - the same year the last Vesper Holly book was published. I won't speculate more on that, but it does add a note of melancholy as to why it might have taken fifteen years to see Vesper's final adventure in print. In any case, The Xanadu Adventure is certainly a worthy Vesper Holly send-off and for a
This book by Lloyd Alexander is the last book in a series of books starring Vesper Holly, an Indiana Jones type adventurer in female form. I read this book to fulfill my `X¿ title requirement and to celebrate Children¿s Book Week.Vesper, along with boyfriend `The Weed¿ and mentor Brinnie and his wife Mary, go off in search of the ancient city of Troy. The action takes place just as Schliemann is discovering the ancient site, but the group is thwarted when they are taken to a different site believed to be Troy by Dr. Dionescu. An old nemesis turns up to further delay their plans.The title of the book is taken from the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ¿Kubla Khan.¿ "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree : Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea."I haven¿t read the previous books in this series at all, but I suspect this one very nicely wraps it up for the fans. I was particularly impressed with the history interwoven into the story as well as the vocabulary used.Lloyd Alexander is best known for his The Chronicles of Prydain, a series that my own sons both loved. Mr. Alexander died earlier this year at the age of 83.
I must admit, this isn't remotely Lloyd Alexander's best. It's not even close. It's not even worth five stars unless you've read and loved all of Vesper Holly's adventures since you were a little girl. If you're like me and you're around thirty and that describes you, this is the most fitting conclusion to the series Alexander could offer. If you've never read Vesper Holly, begin at the beginning with The Illyrian Adventure and travel with her all the way to the end of all of her adventures before picking up this title. This is truly a nostalgia piece in which Vesper's last adventure touches on each of her previous journeys. Inside jokes abound and it leads to a very appropriate conclusion. What I respect the most is how Lloyd Alexander let our favorite late 19th-century feminist get married (it's hardly a spoiler...believe me, it's pretty obvious it's coming) and have a baby. This Vesper is still our feminist hero and yet she settles down to have her own family. She has it all. Vesper is all of us...what we want for ourselves and for our daughters. I cried at the end...with joy for Vesper who I imagined myself to be as a child. Share her adventures with every girl you meet. This title, however, should be saved until the end of high school or, better, after graduating college. It is the Vesper we are not yet ready to become until we're older and wiser. To suggest this title too soon would be to counteract the power of Vesper's story: that girls are every bit as smart (and often smarter) than boys.