Hungry for magic and adventure, I went back to this series after reading the Harry Potter
books, and found them even better than I ahd remembered them. If you give them to children, please be sure to tell them that the "history"
in the books is imaginary, and the behavior of the wolves is not at all true to life! Each book stands alone and, indeed, if you try
to make sense of the overall story in sequence, you will find discrepancies. Never mind; it's fantasy.
Nevertheless, I recommend reading them in order if you can, so as to enjoy the development of Dido's character in particular. She is
sadly missing from the first book, but you've got to read that one in order to understand Simon's background. A couple of shady characters
from The Wolves of Willoughby Chase reappear unexpectedly in
Nightbirds on Nantucket.
The whole series is back in print, although the books are not always easy to find.
Here they are listed in order.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase; Joan Aiken
Black Hearts at Battersea; Joan Aiken
Recommended for ages 8 (mature) to ancient.
Nightbirds on Nantucket; Joan Aiken
The Stolen Lake; Joan Aiken
Dido Twite meets King Arthur in South America. Really!
The Cuckoo Tree; Joan Aiken
Dido and Pa; Joan Aiken
Dido Twite returns from her adventures in the Atlantic to reunite with Simon (now a Duke) in London, where she
finds that once again her nefarious musician father is up to his eyebrows in 'Hanoverian' plots against the Stuart throne.
This book introduces Is, the heroine of the next two novels.
Is Underground; Joan Aiken Paperback
Dark social commentary makes this one of Aiken's best, but not for younger children.
Cold Shoulder Road; Joan Aiken. 1996
Dangerous Games; Joan Aiken
From the Publisher:
Joan Aiken [is] the critically acclaimed author of
Cold Shoulder Road and The
Wolves of Willoughby Chase. In Dangerous Games,
Dido Twite... returns for another rollicking adventure,
this time to the island of Aratu. [She] has set sail again, in search of Lord Herodsfoot, a nobleman that scours the
earth for new and interesting games. It is hoped that Lord Herodsfoot will have discovered a cure for the ailing King
James of England, who seems to have a mysterious disease that no one can cure. Dido and her crew land on the island
of Aratu, a place that very few people have visited, perhaps because of the deadly pearl snakes and sting monkeys
that inhabit the island. But getting to Aratu is just the beginning of Dido's adventures. Danger seems to be lurking
everywhere: mysterious men are watching her and women are not welcome anywhere ~ unless their faces are veiled or
wrapped in leaves. As she investigates, Dido learns of a plot to overthrow the island's king. Will she and her
friends reach the king in time to save him? And will they be able to help King James before it is too late?
Readers will be on the edge of their seats as they join Dido for her latest spirited ride.
Midwinter Nightingale; Joan Aiken
The Witch of Clatteringshaws; Joan Aiken