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Eight Days of Luke

Eight Days of Luke

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Eight Days of Luke

évaluations:
4/5 (18 évaluations)
Longueur:
253 pages
4 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 25, 2012
ISBN:
9780062244536
Format:
Livre

Description

"Just kindle a flame and I'll be with you."

It's summer vacation, but David's miserably stuck with his unpleasant relatives. Then a strange boy named Luke turns up, charming and fun, joking that David has released him from a prison. Or is he joking? He certainly seems to have strange powers, and control over fire . . .

Luke has family problems of his own, and some very dark secrets. And when David agrees to a bargain with the mysterious Mr. Wedding, he finds himself in a dangerous hunt for a lost treasure, one that will determine Luke's fate!

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 25, 2012
ISBN:
9780062244536
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

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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Eight Days of Luke - Diana Wynne Jones

DEDICATION

For Colin

CONTENTS

Cover

Title Page

Dedication

1. The First Trouble

2. The Second Trouble

3. Luke

4. The Third Trouble

5. The Fire

6. Mr. Chew

7. Flowers

8. Mr. Wedding

9. The Raven

10. Thursday

11. The Frys

12. The Sisters

13. Wallsey

14. Thunderly Hill

Afterword

Excerpt from Howl’s Moving Castle

Chapter One: In Which Sophie Talks to Hats

Excerpt from The Merlin Conspiracy

Chapter One

Excerpt from Dark Lord of Derkholm

Chapter One

Excerpt from Archer’s Goon

Chapter One

About the Author

Credits

Copyright

About the Publisher

1

THE FIRST TROUBLE

Unlike most boys, David dreaded the holidays. His parents were dead and he lived with his Great-Aunt Dot, Great-Uncle Bernard, their son Cousin Ronald and Cousin Ronald’s wife Astrid; and all these four people insisted that he should be grateful for the way they looked after him.

David tried to be grateful. They sent him to a boarding school which, as schools go, was not bad. Most holidays they arranged for him to go on an Educational Tour or to a Holiday Camp, and these were usually interesting enough to make up for David’s not knowing any of the other boys who went on them. He did feel grateful when Cousin Ronald pointed out that he had opportunities which few other boys were given. But when he was at home in Ashbury and not on a Tour or at Camp, he found it much harder to be grateful. And the older he grew, the harder he found it.

This particular summer no Tour or Camp seemed to have been arranged. Aunt Dot usually sent David a postcard before the end of term to tell him what Tour he was going on, and this time no postcard had come. David’s heart sank a little on the way home, when he thought about it; but he was in a very cheerful mood and did not think about it much. He had taken five wickets for four runs in the match against Radley House, and had capped this by bowling his own games master middle stump, first ball, in the Staff match. It was enough to make anyone cheerful. Cousin Ronald was interested in cricket. He could tell Cousin Ronald all about it.

The railway work-to-rule meant that David had to wait two hours for a train in Birmingham, but he was so happy thinking just how he would tell Cousin Ronald about those wickets that he did not mind at all. He merely bought some bubble gum and sat cheerfully chewing as he thought.

When his train drew in among the red houses of Ashbury, however, his heart sank another notch or so, and by the time he had changed from the Wednesday Hill bus to the Lockend bus, he was feeling definitely depressed. But as he stood up to get off the bus, he remembered that the Clarksons lived at the corner of the road, and cheered up a little. The Clarksons were the only children near and they were both younger than David, but they liked cricket and they were not bad fun, considering. The only trouble was that Aunt Dot said they were vulgar. David could never see why. He thought, as he climbed off the bus, that it was a habit of Aunt Dot’s to call things vulgar—like Kent at school calling everything spastic—and it didn’t mean a thing.

As he turned the corner, David took a look over the Clarksons’ front gate. There was none of the usual clutter of bicycles lying about, and someone had weeded the front drive and planted a lot of useless flowers. That was ominous. David’s heart went down another notch. He walked on up the road and opened the gate to Uncle Bernard’s big red house, where there were never any weeds, or bicycles, and lines of geraniums were drawn up like guards on either side of the drive. David went up the steps and opened the front door and the smell of the house hit him. David had lately developed a theory that the sense of smell was much more important to the human race than anyone believed. The house smelled thick and dampish, of polish and old cabbage, the most dismal smell David knew. Like a proof of his theory, his heart went down about seven notches with a rush.

The hall was empty. This meant that, because of the railway work-to-rule, his trunk had not arrived yet. That was a nuisance. David’s cricket bat and the only pair of trousers that still fitted him had been in that trunk. It meant borrowing a bat and being stuck with short, tight school trousers until it arrived. He was rather sadly looking at the empty space in the hall where his trunk usually stood, when the door of the study opened. Cousin Ronald, balder and stouter and busier-looking than ever, came hurrying out, and with him came a gush of cricket commentary from the radio in the study.

David remembered his six triumphant wickets. Oh, Cousin Ronald, do you know what? he said happily.

Cousin Ronald seemed dumbfounded. He stopped in his tracks and stared at David. "What are you doing here?" he said.

It’s holidays. We broke up yesterday, David said. But do you know what—?

Oh, this is too bad! Cousin Ronald interrupted peevishly. And I suppose they’ve sent you home early because of some blasted epidemic and we’ll all catch it now.

No. Honestly, protested David. It’s just the end of term. He was beginning to lose all his joy in telling Cousin Ronald about those wickets; but it was too fine not to tell, so he tried again. And do you know—?

"It can’t be the end of term! said Cousin Ronald. Not already, boy."

Well, it is, said David.

What a confounded nuisance! Cousin Ronald exclaimed, and plunged back into the study again and shut himself and the cricket commentary away inside it.

More than a little dashed, David went slowly away upstairs, trying not to feel miserable, trying to think about the cricket books in his bedroom. He came across Uncle Bernard on the first landing. Uncle Bernard did not seem to see David. He just tottered away to the bathroom looking frail and vague. David was heartily relieved. When Uncle Bernard noticed him, he always noticed the color of David’s fingernails, the length of his hair and the fact that his tie was comfortably in his pocket. It was much better not to be noticed by Uncle Bernard. David turned thankfully to go up the second flight of stairs and found Aunt Dot’s tall figure coming down them.

David! exclaimed Aunt Dot. "Whatever are you doing here?"

It’s the holidays, David explained once more. We broke up yesterday.

"Broke up yesterday! said Aunt Dot. I thought there was another week to go. It was extremely thoughtless of you not to let me know. Since David knew that the school always sent Aunt Dot a list of terms and holidays, he said nothing. What a nuisance! said Aunt Dot. Well, since you’re here, David, go and wash and I’ll see Mrs. Thirsk. Supper’s in half an hour. She came on downstairs. David, knowing what a point Aunt Dot made of politeness, stood aside to let her pass. But Aunt Dot stopped again. Good gracious, David! she said. Whose clothes are you wearing?"

No one’s, said David. Mine, I mean.

They’ve shrunk abominably, said Aunt Dot. I shall write to the school and complain.

Oh, please don’t, said David. It’s not the clothes—really. I think I grew very fast or something.

Nobody grows that fast, Aunt Dot decreed. Those clothes were a good fit at Easter. You must go straight upstairs and see if you have anything else to wear. You can’t come to supper looking like that. And she sailed away downstairs.

David went on up to his bare, tidy bedroom. While he searched for clothes, he could not help forlornly wondering whether any of his school friends were having such a cheerless homecoming as he was. He rather thought that most of them had parents and brothers and things who were actually glad to see them. Some of the lucky so-and-sos even had dogs. David would have liked a dog above all things. But the thought of Uncle Bernard being asked to countenance a dog was almost frightening.

The only clothes he could find were smaller than the ones he had on. When Mrs. Thirsk rang the gong, David was forced to go down to supper as he was. He met Mrs. Thirsk in the passage and she looked him over with utter contempt.

You do look a proper scarecrow, she said. Your Uncle’s going to have something to say about that hair of yours, if I know anything about anything.

Yes, but you don’t, said David.

Don’t what? said Mrs. Thirsk.

Know anything about anything, said David, and he escaped into the dining room, feeling a little better for having annoyed Mrs. Thirsk. He had been at war with Mrs. Thirsk from the moment he came to live in Uncle Bernard’s house. Mrs. Thirsk hated boys. David loathed every inch of Mrs. Thirsk, from her blank square face to her blunt square feet. So he smiled a little as he slipped into the dining room.

The smile vanished when he found Astrid there. Astrid was sitting beside the French window with her feet up, because, as everyone knew only too well, her health was bad. Astrid was quite pretty. She had fairish hair and big blue eyes, but her face was always pale and peevish, or it would have looked prettier. She dressed very smartly and told everyone she was twenty-five—she had been telling everyone this, to David’s certain knowledge, for six years now.

At the sight of David, she gave a cry of dismay. "Never tell me you’re back already! Oh, this is too bad! Ronald, you might have warned me!" she said, as Cousin Ronald came in.

Cousin Ronald was carrying a sheet of paper which David recognized as the list of holiday dates that the school had sent last autumn. It came as a shock to me too, he said. But they do seem to give the twentieth here.

But you told me the twenty-eighth! Astrid said indignantly.

Aunt Dot came in at this moment, with her diary open in front of her nose. David drifted away to the other end of the room. Ronald, said Aunt Dot, I have the end of term down here clearly as the twenty-eighth. Why was I misinformed?

Trust Ronald to get it wrong! said Astrid. If we have to miss going to Scarborough because of this, I don’t know what I shall do. One of my heads is coming on already.

David, having no wish to hear any more about Astrid’s head, reached out and gently twiddled the knobs of the radio on the sideboard. He was in luck. An announcer said: Now, cricket. England in the Third Test are—

David! said Aunt Dot. People are talking. Turn that off at once.

Sighing, David turned the knob and silenced the announcer. But, at the same moment, Cousin Ronald hurried across the room, saying irritably: I tell you I’ve no idea how it happened! and snapped the radio on again.

Five wickets for fourteen runs, said the radio.

Quiet, Cousin Ronald said severely. I have to know how England are doing against the Australians.

To David’s secret indignation, no one made the slightest objection. Everyone stopped talking while the radio told them that England were 112 for eight when rain stopped play. By this time Uncle Bernard had tottered in, still frail from finding David had come home, and Mrs. Thirsk was bringing in a tray of thick brown soup. Everyone sat down and began to eat. The thick brown soup tasted thick and brown.

David was very quiet and very careful of his manners. He did not want Aunt Dot to notice he was still in the same clothes, and he did not want Uncle Bernard to notice him at all. For a while he was lucky. Uncle Bernard and Astrid were busy with their usual contest to see who could be illest. Uncle Bernard began it by asking Astrid in a gentle, failing voice how she was.

Oh, not too bad, Dad-in-law, she answered bravely. It’s only one of my heads this evening. How are you?

I never complain, said Uncle Bernard untruthfully, but I am forced to admit that my lumbago is very troublesome tonight—though it’s these fluttering pains in my chest which are the greatest nuisance.

I get those too, said Astrid. Dr. Ryder gave me some tablets for them, but they’ve made no difference. I’ve been fluttering away all afternoon. Do they make you breathless? I can hardly breathe with them.

I gasp for air all the time, retorted Uncle Bernard, gently and sadly. My lungs have been in a bad way for years.

Oh, so have mine! cried Astrid, not to be outdone.

At this stage in the contest, David had awarded Astrid four points, and Uncle Bernard three, with a bonus point to Uncle Bernard for never complaining. He rather hoped Astrid would win for once.

I don’t know how I shall get through the summer, Astrid said. David gave her another half-mark for that. These shooting pains in my shoulders just get worse too. That was another full point, making Astrid five-and-a-half. Particularly, she said peevishly, as it looks as if we aren’t going to Scarborough after all.

She looked at David then, and David, terrified that Uncle Bernard was now going to notice him, finished his soup as quietly as he could and wished he had not given Astrid that extra half-mark. But Uncle Bernard was moving in to score heavily and had no attention to spare for David just then.

My dear, he said, I was always against your going to Scarborough. You’d never stand the journey. That made another bonus point. And for myself, said Uncle Bernard, you could take me to Scarborough any number of times and it would do me no good. It would do me no good even if I lived there permanently. No—I prefer to live out my few remaining days quietly here in Ashbury.

That made a good eight points. Uncle Bernard had flattened Astrid and sat back to enjoy his victory. Astrid had not a word to say, but Aunt Dot, who was never ill and had no patience with anyone who was, snapped crossly: I must say, Bernard, I wish you’d told me before that you didn’t want to go to Scarborough.

My dear, how could I, when I knew a holiday would give you such pleasure? said Uncle Bernard, scoring a further bonus point for martyrdom and self-sacrifice—though David rather thought that the contest was now over and it was against the rules to go on scoring. But then, he remembered, Uncle Bernard never did play fair.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Thirsk took away the soup bowls and handed out plates of thick brown meat covered with thick brown gravy. David, nibbling it, wondered why people ever complained of the meals at school. School food never tasted this bad, and there was always plenty of it. Mrs. Thirsk had never been known to provide enough for a second helping. David thought that perhaps she knew one helping was all anyone could take. Here he looked up and saw Uncle Bernard staring at him. Having polished off Astrid, Uncle Bernard was about to begin on David.

David tried to prevent him, by saying brightly to Aunt Dot: Aunt Dot, may I go round and see the Clarksons after supper?

No, David, Aunt Dot said, with satisfaction. I’m glad to say those dreadful Clarksons have moved at last. They tell me the new people are a very much better class of person.

Oh, said David. He felt as if his last hope of enjoying this holiday had now gone. But hope dies hard. Have the new people any children? he asked despairingly.

Good heavens no! said Aunt Dot. The Frys are an elderly couple. Mr. Fry retired some years ago. David said nothing. The last hope was truly gone. There was nothing to do but sit and wait for the various miseries in store for him. And they were not long coming. David, said Aunt Dot, I thought I told you to change your clothes.

David tried to explain that he had now no clothes that fitted him any better. Aunt Dot swept his explanation aside and scolded him soundly, both for growing so inconsiderately fast and for arriving in advance of his trunk. It did no good for David to point out that people of his age did grow, nor to suggest that it was the railway’s fault about the trunk. When I want your opinion, said Aunt Dot, I shall ask for it. This is most vexing. And tomorrow is Sunday, so that it will be Monday before Astrid can take you into town for new clothes.

This brought Astrid and Cousin Ronald out against David too. No one, said Cousin Ronald, no one objects less than me to spending money when it’s necessary, but this is sheer waste, David.

Since David was now goaded to the point where he wanted to say that Cousin Ronald always, invariably, objected to people spending money, it was perhaps fortunate that Astrid got in first.

Town always brings on my head! she complained. And shops make me feel faint. You might say you’re grateful, at least, David.

I am. Truly, David protested. But I can’t help growing.

All this while, Uncle Bernard had been hovering on the edge of the action, waiting for an opening. Now, just as Mrs. Thirsk came to bring pudding, he pounced. Growing, he said. And I suppose you can’t help your hair growing either? You must have it cut at once, boy. The odd thing about Uncle Bernard was that when he attacked David he never seemed in the least frail or ill. Hanging round your ears in that unmanly way! he said vigorously. I’m surprised they haven’t made you have it cut at school.

Mrs. Thirsk shot David a malicious, meaning look, and David was naturally forced to defend himself. The other boys all have hair much longer than this, he said. No one minds these days, Uncle Bernard.

Well I do mind, said Uncle Bernard. I’m ashamed to look at you. You’ll have it all off on Monday.

No, said David. I—

What? said Uncle Bernard. Do you have the face to contradict me? Boys do not decide the length of their hair, let me tell you. Their guardians do. And boys do not contradict their guardians, David.

I’m not really contradicting, David said earnestly. Because Mrs. Thirsk was there, he was desperately set on winning, but he knew that he dared not seem rude or ungrateful. It’s just that I want to grow my hair, Uncle Bernard. And it’ll cost less money if I don’t have it cut, won’t it?

Money, said Uncle Bernard unfairly, "is no object with me when it’s a question of right and wrong. And it is wrong for you to be seen with hair that length."

Not these days, David explained politely. It’s the fashion, you see, and it really isn’t wrong. I expect you’re a bit out of date, Uncle Bernard. He smiled kindly and, he hoped, firmly at Uncle Bernard, and was a little put out to hear Astrid snorting with laughter across the table.

I never heard such a thing! said Uncle Bernard. Then he went frail and added pathetically: And I hope I shall never hear such a thing again.

David, to his amazement, saw that he was winning. He had Uncle Bernard on the run. It was so unheard of that, for a moment, David could not think of anything to say that would clinch his victory. And while he wondered, Mrs. Thirsk turned his success into total failure.

Yes, she said, "and did you ever see such a thing as this, either?" Triumphantly, she placed a small mat with crochet edging in front of Uncle Bernard. In the middle of the

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3.9
18 évaluations / 11 Avis
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  • (3/5)
    To begin with I wasn't too impressed with this book. Maybe I've come to expect too much from Diana Wynne Jones. However, later in the book I began to like it better. Besides, this is one of the author's earlier books, and clearly intended for a young audience. After I finished it, I found that I was after all quite happy about it.
  • (4/5)
    This is a re-read -- I probably haven't read it in over 30 years, and there were a lot of details that had been completely forgotten. What I remembered of this one is the exploration of ideas from mythology that don't require that the reader have any understanding of the myths, including the summoning of 'Luke' by the main character, David, by the breaking of the bonds by the random recitation of the necessary words. On rereading, I noticed that there are many little details that can be useful for a more knowledgeable reader to feel smug about, but I didn't feel that it mattered that I couldn't work out who one of the characters was. What I hadn't remembered of the story is how much of it was about the emotional neglect and abuse of the main character by his family, and how the summoning of 'Luke' changes that all, not only for him, but people around him. While David is certainly complicit in this change, he is not the person with the agency to effect it -- possibly a common theme through many of Jones' books. And the way that David's view of his aunt by marriage changes as she takes opportunities to spend time with him, away from the rest of the family (which leads directly to one of the conclusions of the book, but I'll leave that out here). While this is one of my four (or so) favourite books written by Jones', I don't actually think it is one of her stronger ones. The worldbuilding, including the incorporation of Norse mythology, is good, but sometimes patchy. The characterisation is mostly fine, but sometimes a bit wooden. The writing is mostly smooth, but aspects of both the worldbuilding and the characterisation kept throwing me out of the story -- I was sometimes too busy wondering what it was that I was missing in a particular scene to actually read it properly the first time through, and thus ended up rereading multiple pages. The plot is fairly straightforward. While I found it clunky in places, I'm not sure how much of that is due to the other aspects already mentioned.This is a relatively early book of Jones', and thus it is understandable that it doesn't have the strength of some of her later ones (it was first published in 1975; her earliest [Changeover] was published in 1970), but I actually don't think that it is as strong as others she was publishing at the time or shortly after (eg. Homeward Bounders)
  • (4/5)
    I'm afraid that I can't do this review without being mildly spoilery, but it's okay since everyone else is doing the same -- even though it is, I fear, perhaps not as obvious as I think it is. Anyway, you've had your chance to look away, here's the spoiler: this is based, to some extent, on Norse mythology. And Luke is Loki. That was apparent to me just about straight away, though through the wonders of my new medication I have no idea whether I read about that in the collection of Diana Wynne Jones' essays (yay side effects!). Still, I fear with Myth & Saga, Introduction to Old Norse and Old Norse Literature behind me, it could never have come as a surprise to me.

    What did come as a surprise to me was that I was kept guessing a little. I don't think knowing it's based on Norse mythology spoils anything: what would spoil things is knowing what Loki's done wrong this time, the exact identities of everyone in the background, and so on. But with the addition of David to the mix, an ordinary modern-ish boy who plays cricket and has a horrible family, and with the fact that he doesn't know what he's doing half the time, that helps keep things interesting.

    (I'm not promising that you won't work out the whole thing ages before I did. I repeat: yay side effects. But as I said, a side effect of being a glutton for punishment and taking Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse is that I'm pretty sharp when it comes to Norse myth. Certain things, like Mr Wednesday = Woden are the no-brainiest of no-brainers for me; I know it like I know that I was born on a Sunday and am therefore bonny and blithe and good and gay, though only because Christians moved the Sabbath to Sunday, otherwise who knows what Sunday's fate would have been. Anyway, I digress.)

    It's a quick and undemanding read, and what I always find most refreshing in Diana Wynne Jones' work is that she damn well expects the reader to keep up. Don't know your Norse myths? Not her problem.
  • (3/5)
    Jones, D.W. (1975). Eight Days of Luke. New York: Greenwillow Books.226 pages.Appetizer: David Allard is on break from school and instead of being sent of on an educational tour, his relatives have forgotten he was supposed to come home and so he is stuck with them and their criticisms of him.At first it seems like it will be a complete torture, but after chanting a random mix of words, a strange boy named Luke appears. Luke claims that David released him from his prison and is indebted to him. David just thinks Luke is one of the kids from the neighborhood, but when it becomes clear that Luke has a magical talent with fire and strangers appear looking for Luke, another each day. David makes a deal with one of the strange men to try to keep Luke out of his prison for good, if only David can prevent the strangers from finding Luke for one week.Although the actual story is subtle and readers who aren't already familiar with Norse mythology may not even notice that all of the strangers who visit David trying to find Luke are gods from Norse myth (and Luke himself is also one of the gods). It becomes a little more obvious by the end, but I feel like this is one of those books where a teacher has to explain some of the details to get the broader significance. Otherwise it's just this boy who helps this other boy. And there are weird adults. Unhappy relatives. Unexplained magic. People unsurprised by unexplained magic. And lots of talk about cricket.I've met dozens of readers who are in love with Diana Wynne Jones's books. Literally. They want to marry her despite the age difference. But I have to say, when I had read some of her young adult books in the past, I had trouble getting into them. Her characters just don't draw me in. I had less trouble with this as I read Eight Days of Luke. I think I had an easier time because this is more of a middle grade book and because, after Luke was introduced, it was a pretty fast-paced read.I still felt the book lacked tension though. It's one of those older fantasy novels in which a character only has a limited time to, say, save the world, perhaps. And instead of immediately running off to save said world, the protagonist has tea. Or runs off to play cricket. And I'm left wondering if this is proper day-saving behavior. Because if I were ever tasked with saving the world, I'd make sure that that bit of work would be my number one priority. I'd be on top of it. Probably, I'd even make a check list on a sticky note to make sure I didn't forget any of the world-saving steps. You hear that, fates/hero-audition-panel? I would devote all my efforts to saving the world. No tea or cricket for me. Just full-time world saving effort. Now, I wouldn't say the world is actually at stake in Eight Days of Luke, but David also delayed his efforts to save Luke because he feared he'd be inconveniencing his aunt who would have to give him a ride. Or something. *Yawn* How un-tense is that situation? It's like getting a myth-y brain massage that, at the end of the massage session, you can't help but wonder of you were cheated because you fell asleep and couldn't properly keep track of the time the massage took. But on the plus side, you're tension free.Who else could use a massage right now?ALSO, also, whenever I read the title of this book in my head, I inevitably wound up with the song Eight Days a Week by the Beatles stuck in my head. That woke me up a little. Then I had to sing the song out-loud as I wandered around my place. My cats did not appreciate the noise. My neighbors probably didn't either. Who can't carry a tune? This girl.Eeeeeeight DAAAAys a WeeeeEEEEEEK! I LoooOOOOOOoooOOOOoooove You!Dinner Conversation:"Unlike most boys, David dreaded the holidays. His parents were dead and he lived with his Great-Aunt Dot, Great-Uncle Bernard, their son Cousin Ronald and Cousin Ronald's wife Astrid; and all these four people insisted that he should be grateful for the way they looked after him.David tried to be grateful. They sent him to a boarding school which, as schools go, was not bad. Most holidays they arranged for him to go on an Educational Tour or to a Holiday Camp, and these were usually interesting enough to make up for David's not knowing any of the other boys who went to them. He did feel grateful when Cousin Ronald pointed out that he had opportunities which few other boys were given. But when he was at home in Ashbury and not on a Tour or at Camp, he found it much harder to be grateful. And the older he grew, the harder he found it." (p. 1)"At last he found the best combination of all. He could really almost believe it was words, fierce, terrible words. They asked to be said. And they asked to be said, too, in an important, impressive way, loudly, from somewhere high up. David climbed to the top of the compost heap, crushing baby marrows underfoot, and, leaning on the handle of the spade, he stretched the other hand skyward and recited his words. Afterward, he never remembered what they were. He knew they were magnificent, but he forgot them as soon as he said them. And when he had spoken them, for good measure, he picked up a handful of compost and bowled it at the wall.As soon as he did that, the wall started to fall down." (pp. 28-29)."I'm truly grateful to you. You let me out of a really horrible prison." He smiled happily and pointed with one slightly blistered finger to the ground under the wall.This was too much for David, who, after all, had been there to see that nothing but flames and snakes had come from the ground. "Pull the other leg," he said.Luke looked at him with one eyebrow up and a mischievous, calculating look on his filthy face. He seemed to be deciding just how much nonsense David could be brought to swallow. Then he laughed. "Have it your own way," he said. "But I am grateful, and I'll do anything I can in return." (p. 37)."...You have to say that if I can keep Luke safe till the end of the holidays, then you'll stop looking for him and won't punish him or hurt him if you find him after that.""Agreed," said Mr. Wedding. "But let's not make it so long. Let's say that if you can keep Luke safe until next Sunday, then he's safe for good. All right?"This shook David a little. Mr. Wedding must be very sure of winning to set such a short limit. But he felt he had agreed to too much already to refuse a detail like that. "All right," he said." (pp. 114-115)Tasty Rating: !!!
  • (4/5)
    David has gone home for the holidays to find himself unexpected and at a loss for what to do. Then one day when he loses his temper Luke turns up, full of jokes, plans and mischief and David finds himself caught up in some serious adventures. I did catch where she was heading with this story fairly early on, and it was a fun trip. A bit of a period piece in places but fairly good and very readable.
  • (5/5)
    DWJ's gods are rather kindlier than they ever used to be, but it is, after all, a children's book. Her adult characters are, as is quite often the case with her, more monstrous than anything the otherworld can throw at us.
  • (5/5)
    I remember when I first read this book I had no idea what was going on and then I got to the end and was like "woah." This book combines two of my favorite things about DWJ, how she takes mythology and retells it with real people and real emotions and just the right amount of mystery, and how she creates a huge mess that seemingly has no hope of resolution and then she resolves it in a really interesting and logical way. Only you couldn't see the logic until she'd done it. I prefer the second half of this book to the first half, the first half is really boyish and talks about cricket a lot.
  • (3/5)
    To begin with I wasn't too impressed with this book. Maybe I've come to expect too much from Diana Wynne Jones. However, later in the book I began to like it better. Besides, this is one of the author's earlier books, and clearly intended for a young audience. After I finished it, I found that I was after all quite happy about it.
  • (4/5)
    Fun, with the sequence of arrivals - but as myth-in-current-times goes, The Game is better. Which is funny, because I'm much more familiar with these myths. But I really don't like the kid. I can see why he behaves the way he does, it's perfectly reasonable, and I don't want to be around him.
  • (2/5)
    Not as good as other books by Diana Wynne Jones. It was okay, but I wasn't engaged during the entire book.
  • (5/5)
    a great exploration of norse myth, done with all of dwj's wit and wisdom.