After the presumed death of their long-absent father, Edred inherits the title of Lord Arden and moves with his sister Elfrida into the decrepit family castle where they find an ancient spell that conjures up the magical Mouldiwarp and, with his help, set off on a journey through time in search of the lost Arden treasure.
This is one of the Edith Nesbit books which I have NOT read as a child (actually, I think it is the only one). I bought it in England on my fifteenth summer and read it on the flight back home.
The truth is, that when I took it off the shelf yesterday, in search of something which will be a bit more interesting (and magical) then the Hemingway I was reading, which was starting to bore me - I didn't really remember the plot.
What dissapointed me in the book was its' similiarity to other books which she has written. The clever, magical being, who fulfills the childrens' wishes and then later rescues them out of the trouble which they manage to get themselves into, and is always grumpy and cross even though he secretly harbours those kids a lot of affection. And also the obssesive quest for treasure.
But apart from that, it was a lovely book. I especially liked the fact that the girl was braver than her brother most of the time.
A cute book, and charming and magical and just plain good.
This isn't one of my favourites, though, because (a) the magic system was weird and inconsistent, (b) I'm not a huge fan of "let's time travel to different periods" books (I love time travel books, but for the plot twists and turns they can engender, not for a light history lesson), and (c) the characters themselves weren't so thrilling.
It may say something that I thought the tightest, tensest passages were literally about developing photographic prints. Seriously! That was a great scene.
If you're an E. Nesbit fan and you enjoy light historical time travel books, then this will be much more up your alley. Also, I'm 54, so not the original target marget.
(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve!