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    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    The Westmark Trilogy by Lloyd Alexander
    Lloyd Alexander is one of those great fantasy writers who often gets overlooked in the scheme of things, I feel. When I was in college, I donated plasma to a plasma bank in order to buy his Prydain series in hardcover for my family. It wasn't until later that I came across the Westmark Trilogy; for a while this series had been out of print and so I made sure to not weed the series out of our collection. The copies may look a little old, but they're good (I believe they are now available again in paperback).
    The boy Theo is fleeing from criminal charges falls in with a charlatan, his dwarf attendant, and an urchin girl, traveling with them about the kingdom of Westmark, and ultimately arriving at the palace where the king is grieving over the loss of his daughter.
    The Kestral
    Theo is traveling through Westmark, learning about the country of which he will soon be Prince Consort. He is not surprised to find great poverty-Mickle (now known as Princess Augusta) could have told him that from her years on the street. His friend Florian could have told him about the aristocracy's graft and corruption. But neither could have foreseen a loaded pistol in the practiced hand of the assassin Skeit. The echoes of that shot ring from the muskets and cannons of a Westmark suddenly at war-a war that turns simple, honest men into cold-blooded killers, Mickle into a military commander, and Theo himself into a stranger...
    The Begger Queen
    Mickle, once a common street urchin, now rules Westmark as the wise Queen Augusta. Yet the kingdom is strangely restless. Ghosts of the past lurk everywhere, whispering of future war. Justin and his revolutionaries denounce the monarchy—even the benevolent Mickle. Cabbarus, banished from Westmark, plots to seize the throne and install a Reign of Terror.
    Theo, the famed Colonel Kestrel, remembers it all—the bloody battles, and the fight for his own soul. The past has retumed to haunt the present, and Theo, once again, must join in the struggle. Who will at last command the fate of Westmark?

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