The Stolen Lake
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Readers who have followed Dido Twite’s escapades in BLACK HEARTS IN BATTERSEA and NIGHTBIRDS ON NANTUCKET will welcome her return in her wildest adventure yet.
Now back in print, THE CUCKOO TREE and THE STOLEN LAKE continue the Wolves Chronicles, the exhilarating and imaginative series that stemmed from Joan Aiken’s classic THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE.
A dazzling piece of dramatic, snowballing adventure, THE STOLEN LAKE is full of fantastical details: revolving palaces, witches who are also court dressmakers, an apocalyptic volcanic eruption, and an infernal country with a noticeable lack of female children. On her way back to London aboard the British man-of-war Thrush, twelve-year-old Dido Twite finds herself and the crew summoned to the aid of the tyrannical queen of New Cumbria. A neighboring king has stolen the queen’s lake and is holding it for ransom, and it’s up to Dido and the crew to face fire, flood, execution, and wild beasts to get the lake back or else.
sound of a distant waterfall. After an hour or so, Dido began to catch sounds in the forest: the shrill cries of night birds, the wail of a peafowl, the hiccuping cry of a screech owl; the mewling cry of a great cat, the bellow of an alligator, the bark of apes, the grunting of wild pigs. Sure is a lot going on in those woods, thought Dido. I ain't sorry we're doing this bit by boat. Guess I wouldn't care to live in Bath Regis if the only way to the sea is through this forest. There's too many
salt, and dried fish; a boxcar crammed to its thatched roof with standing passengers, all wrapped snugly in the local garb of ponchos and long cloaks, which they called ruanas; and a first-class car which, for the benefit of the foreigners, was supplied with a few narrow wooden benches. The train ran on three rails, the center one having large cog teeth, which engaged with similar teeth on a set of wheels under the cars, so that, however steep the slope, the train could never slip backward. Gay
must be light, but very sustaining." The porridge (though it looked exceedingly nasty) reminded Dido that she was hungry, too. "Your Royalty," she said, having glanced round to make sure that Dr. Jones was out of earshot (but who knew how many listeners were hiding behind the curtains?), "I reckon I will go on that errand to King Mabon—that is, if you still wants me to? So—if you'd jist give me that travel permit you said as how—" The queen looked for a moment almost disappointed. What might
practice taking tea. Thumb and three fingers together on the handle—small finger extended.... Good. Let me hear your tea table conversation." "No sugar, thank you, Your Majesty. Merely a drop of cream. There; that is just as I like it. Pray, ma'am, from which Tradesman do you obtain your tay?" "No, Dido, no! Not 'Pry, from which tridesman dew yew obtine yer tie?' 'From which place do you obtain your tay?'" "From which plaice dew yew obteeyne yewer teeaye?" Mr. Holystone threw up his eyes to
disappeared into a dark cleft among the hills. It was now becoming really dark. Following Mr. Holystone's instructions for doing so, Dido found the Southern Cross; then she heard the pinnace being whistled for, so she tucked the telescope under her duffel jacket and went below. As she descended the companionway, Mr. Brandywinde and the captain came out of the dining room. "Perhaps by tomorrow," the captain was saying, "you will have received more information as to this—this loss that Her Majesty