THE LOST PEOPLE OF MALPLAQUET
Andrew Dalton

 


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Book Two of the Malplaquet Trilogy
Lutterworth Press, January 2007
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Youth Fantasy

A colony of Lilliputians flourishes in hiding on the huge estate of Malplaquet. In THE TEMPLES OF MALPLAQUET, the four separate cultures of Lilliputians learned to appreciate each other and share their skills. All their combined skills will be needed now that Biddle has found them.

The main reason the Lilliputians have been able to survive so long in the midst of a national school and showplace is that few people can see them. Not because they are six inches tall, but because they canít be seen. Looming disaster is caused by the gradual loss of their invisibility.

Three of the people who can see them are their human guardians: Granny, and her young apprentices Jamie and Vicki. This was how it was meant to be Ė each generation the People have a guardian with the special talent to see them. It was not meant to be as things are now, with specially sighted villains deployed about the grounds trying to capture them; and Biddle, descendant of the man from whom the People originally escaped, worming his way into a position of influence at Malplaquet.

Jamie, his brother Charlie, and their friends are clearly laid out as the good guys and bad guys, but at that point things get complicated. They behave as young people normally behave, not as representatives of good and evil with white hats and black hats. Author Andrew Dalton teaches ethics, and he isnít going to let his young peopleís lives be simple. Even though the ethical issues arise in an adventurous story, they play a large part in the middle section of this book, and remain to be resolved in the third one.

T.H. Whiteís classic MISTRESS MASHAMíS REPOSE laid the fantasy foundation and Dalton has taken full advantage of it. His familiarity with the setting of Stowe School, on which Malplaquet was based, brings the trilogy to life for us.

THE LOST PEOPLE OF MALPLAQUET has the same entertaining satire as THE TEMPLES OF MALPLAQUET, with perhaps a bit more of an edge. The climax is a laugh-out-loud riot with more than a touch of Monty Python, in which all the charactersí accumulated worries are released like a punctured balloon. But donít forget Daltonís love of the sinister cliffhanger. There will be no stopping until we have read the final book, THE UNVEILING OF MALPLAQUET.

Feb 2007

 

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