Malise, the Witch of Clatteringshaws lives in a disused Ladies Convenience at the end of a coach park in Caledonia overlooking Loch Grieve (inhabited by Hobyahs and a monster). In the prologue to the story, Malise discovers a newborn infant in the rubbish bin in the coach park. Down in London Simon Battersea has inherited the throne of England and ...
Malise, the Witch of Clatteringshaws lives in a disused Ladies Convenience at the end of a coach park in Caledonia overlooking Loch Grieve (inhabited by Hobyahs and a monster). In the prologue to the story, Malise discovers a newborn infant in the rubbish bin in the coach park. Down in London Simon Battersea has inherited the throne of England and although accompanied by his friend Dido he is not happy with his lot. On hearing of other possible claimants to the throne and that the Witch may be able to help her, Dido departs to Scotland to follow the clues. Meanwhile England is invaded by the Saxon Wends and Simon also goes northwards with his army; all participants being reluctant to fight, the situation is resolved by a game of Hnefatefl between Simon and the Wendish leader (Simon wins). Everyone meets up in Clatteringshaws. Dido is successful in her hunt for a legitimate heir - Piers Crackenthorpe (the 'Woodlouse' thought to be drowned in the moat of Fogrum Hall in Midwinter Nightingale) and Simon hands over the realm with relief. Simon and Dido are free to live their own lives as they wish.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-01-24 This highly satisfying offering from Aiken (The Wolves of Willoughby Chase), who died last year, continues the chronicle of the resilient Dido Twite, taking up the tale soon after the action chronicled in Midwinter Nightingale. Hoping to save her friend Simon from his stultifying existence as newly crowned King of England, Dido journeys to Scotland to find someone (anyone!) with a greater claim to the throne. Meanwhile, just outside of the Scottish village of Clatteringshaws, in a converted restroom in a disused coach park (this far north it seems that Dido's alternate version of England has more in common with today's version than it usually does), a lonely witch broods over a youthful mistake and keeps half an eye on the progress of Fred, the orphaned child she found a home for 15 years before. After numerous twists and turns, not to mention several satisfyingly close calls (all narrated at whiplash pace, in crackling, comical language), Aiken resolves matters in typically grand fashion: impostors are exposed, secret identities revealed and, on top of all that, a peaceful solution is found for an army of Wends that has invaded from overseas. Aiken's generous parting gift to her readers is Dido and Simon's "happy ending," which leaves the door open, in readers' minds at least, for a future of further adventures. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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