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Dark Lord of Derkholm
[Cover Thumbnail] [Cover Thumbnail]
US Hardcover, Greenwillow Books 1998, ISBN 0-668-16004-2. Cover art by Jos. A. Smith.

published 1998.

Deb's Comments

I'd recommend reading Dark Lord after reading Tough Guide to Fantasyland, though it doesn't really matter in what order you read them. I loved this book. But then, I would, wouldn't I? I mean, I love them all.

What was really compelling about this book was not so much the lessons it learned from Tough Guide, but the lessons Diana learned from writing A Sudden Wild Magic -- namely, that there is no easy division between children's, YA, and adult novels. Dark Lord causes us to sympathise with both the adult and the adolescent heroes[*], all of whom go through major growth as the story progresses. Diana did not hold back from depicting extreme violence and one harrowing near-rape, but she did hold back from presenting them in any unecessarily graphic manner -- none of which detracts from the text's overt anti-violence message. (As for covert textual meanings, you'll have to find them yourself. As usual, there's plenty of layers going on here...

[*]and, to a lesser extent, the heroines. There's a topic for a paper. Why does Diana write better male characters in general? Does it have something to do with having sons? But she also has sisters...

Dark Lord of Derkholm
1999: Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
Diana's remarks upon winning the award (scroll down)

Year of the Griffin

Elda is off to the Wizard University.