The Illyrian Adventure

by Lloyd Alexander

Paperback, 1990



Call number

PB Ale

Call number

PB Ale

Local notes

PB Ale




Yearling (1990), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 144 pages


On a visit to a remote European kingdom in 1872, a fearless sixteen-year-old orphan and her guardian research an ancient legend and become enmeshed in a dangerous rebellion.


Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 1989)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Children's Fiction — 1990)
Iowa Teen Award (Nominee — 1989)
Carolyn W. Field Award (Winner — Children's — 1987)

Original publication date


Physical description

144 p.; 5 x 0.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
UGH. The story is fluffy, but not terrible; the characters, however, are unbearable. Vesper is an utter spoiled brat, and by the time they met with the King (the first time) I was rooting for someone - anyone - to tell her no and make it stick. Unfortunately she has the author on her side, so when
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she decides to do something rash or just plain stupid, or makes some mental leap to a solution, she's always right. Arrgh! The device of almost never having the narrator actually speak was rather annoying - he explains what he said, but I think he has one actual quoted line in the entire book (in which he sounds like the idiot he is). He's trying to be the adult, but (see above) his choices are always the wrong ones (and Vesper's the right ones). He also regularly misjudges people; anyone he thinks is a good guy is going to be a bad one, and vice versa. That's lampshaded once, but I was already too annoyed to be amused. The rest of the characters are bare sketches - Vesper and Brinnie aren't much deeper, but a little. I read the whole thing, and I won't read any more in this series. Unlike most of Alexander's stuff, there's not enough story to draw me through the annoyance of the characters.
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LibraryThing member wishgranted
Knowledgable and fearless Vesper Holly leads her friends into adventure. Foiling the selfish efforts of her nemesis, Dr. Helviticus, is her aim and honor.
LibraryThing member heidialice
Vesper Holly drags the ever-patient Brinnie to a fictional Eastern European nation during the late 1800s to find out the truth about an ancient myth that her father was investigating before he died. She brokers a peace agreement between warring ethnic tribes, outwits her arch-nemesis and recovers
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priceless artifacts. All in a day's work for Vesper Holly.

The premise here is a bit weak, but a nicely-told adventure story. Brinnie still annoys me, but provides a striking contrast to reckless Vesper. Probably not the best option for empowered young heroines these days, but one of the few I remember from back in my youth.
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LibraryThing member themulhern
So light that it can not hold the reader's interest for very long. The most exciting thing about it is that the heroine is from the Phiadelphia era and so the local places will interest readers from that locality.
LibraryThing member soraki
Vesper and her guardian Brinnie travel to the Eastern European country of Illyria in 1872 to continue her father's archaeological dig. However, the Illyrians are on the brink of revolution against their Zentan overlords, and someone tries to stab Vesper the day she arrives in Illyria.

This is the
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first swashbuckling adventure story by Lloyd Alexander featuring the intrepid Vesper and clueless Brinnie.
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LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
A short, quick teen adventure from Alexander. Fun, but light, and not as good as the other book I've read from Alexander recently (The Rope Trick). "Illyria" is an old name for the area that now includes Croatia, where I was this spring (and which I'm still editing/uploading my photos from!), but I
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have to say i didn't get a very specific sense of place from the book. It's more of a fantasy-feeling country, although it's a historical adventure, not a fantasy one. Set in the 19th century, it has to do with a ridiculously self-sufficient and resourceful orphan, Vesper Holly (female and redheaded of course, I think Alexander's got a thing for them). Her new 'guardian', an elderly man who was a friend of her late father's, is quite overwhelmed by her, and is helpless in the wake of Vesper's headstrong notions, which involve running off to Illyria to investigate a theory of her father's, and result in both getting caught up in a political struggle between rebels and a clueless king. The interactions between Vesper and her guardian are quite funny, but the political situation is rather grotesquely simplified (and too easily fixed), considering the actual history of the region. Enjoyable, but I'm not rushing out to get the rest of this series.
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LibraryThing member helver
A young heiress, Vesper Holly, takes her guardian, Brinnie, on an archaeological expedition in the hopes of validating her late father's last theses.

A very straight-laced book. Very staid and proper. The twists in the plot aren't all that twisty and nothing really surprising happens. Not much humor
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outside of a little self-deprecating humor at the narrator's (Brinnie's) expense. I think time hasn't done much for this book - some of the attitudes appear to be a little stereo-typed from a racial and gender perspective - although at the time, it may have been Alexander's intention to break some of the gender stereotypes by having the female lead character be a heroine in all senses of the word.
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