Review Blog

May 10 2011

The secret kingdom by Jenny Nimmo

cover image

Random House Australia, 2011. ISBN 9781742751986. Pbk 243p
(Ages 10+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. When Timoken and his sister are given precious gifts from their parents when the enemy is about to slaughter the inhabitants of the castle, the pair flees. Timoken is given a web woven from the thread of the last moon spider, which gives him extra powers, and it is this that his enemy, the viridees, want. He and his sister Zobayda, elude the enemy over many years, taking the elixir to give them eternal youth. Meeting a camel whose master has been killed, he becomes part of their family, as do the three leopard cubs who they save. When the viridees confront Timoken and his sister she leaps over the waterfall to her death to save her brother, and he goes on, wary, fighting the enemy along the way, all the while searching for a place of safety, a home.
One night a boy stumbles across him with an amazing story of slavery, and so Timoken stops to help him, rescuing the other children and the girl, Beri, from being sold the following day. They then go to Toledo, where Beri is from, and here Timoken has a life and death struggle with the new leader of the viridee, the half human, half viridee sorcerer son of Lord Degal, killer of Timoken's parents.
Reading Nimmo's The snow spider trilogy years ago left me breathless. And this is is no different. Original, entertaining and highly adventurous, the efforts of Timoken in finding a place of safety where he and his family can live put their lives is mesmerizing, as he fights the dreaded enemy who chase him for two hundred years.
Fran Knight

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