The Last Siege Jonathan Stroud, Corgi, 262pp, pb, $16.95
ISBN 0-552-55146-5 [NZ agents: Random House]
When three resentful teenagers unexpectedly meet up in the snowbound ruins of a medieval castle, the reader expects fantasy, especially from the author of The Amulet of Samarkand. Instead, Stroud lets his lonely trio act out their own fantasies.
Spurred on by Marcus’s enthusiasm for the castle’s past, Emily and Simon help him to capture it and hold it against imaginary enemies. When the police arrive, it becomes clear that Marcus has not been telling the truth and both Simon and Emily have to make painful decisions. A gripping novel, with interesting characterisation.
This review by Trevor Agnew was first published in The Press, Christchurch, on 25th September 2004.