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Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
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Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998)

by Diana Wynne Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Derkholm (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,832433,807 (4.13)156
  1. 100
    The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel by Diana Wynne Jones (foggidawn, Mossa)
  2. 70
    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Both are send-ups of fantasy conventions (and D-heavy titles!): Dealing with Dragons focuses more on fairy tales while Dark Lord of Derkholm deals more with high/quest fantasy.
  3. 20
    Witch and Wombat by Carolyn Cushman (infiniteletters)
  4. 10
    The Dreamland Chronicles by Wm. Mark Simmons (TomWaitsTables)
  5. 10
    Frankie! by Wilanne Schneider Belden (infiniteletters)
  6. 11
    Magic Kingdom For Sale—SOLD! by Terry Brooks (erikrebooted)
    erikrebooted: Another crossover between the mundane and the magical.
  7. 00
    Bored of the Rings by Harvard Lampoon (TomWaitsTables)
  8. 11
    Grunts! by Mary Gentle (lquilter)
    lquilter: Send-ups of the tropes. *Dark Lord of Derkholm* is rather more humorous; *Grunts!* is rather more darkly and scatalogically humorous.
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» See also 156 mentions

English (41)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (43)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
A sci-fi vibe in this book, with Pilgrim Tours to re-enact magical adventures for the tourists from other worlds. Meanwhile the Tour organizer is stealing the essence of this world for 'otherworld'. I found the devastation and pillaging that was supposed to 'entertain' the tourists depressing. I had great sympathy for the "Dark Lord" who was just an actor. It was classic DWJ with a twisty plotline, so overall an intriguing story. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jun 23, 2017 |
a world is being exploited for its fantasy elements. Tours go through and the people living there have to put on a world wide show. All because one man in our world has control of a demon. It bordered on the funny, but glossed over the horror of what the Tours actually meant-people dying in battle, land and buildings destroyed, livelihoods ruined-if you sat down and thought about it, what was going on was horrific. But it was a good juvie read. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
“My kingdom is being ravaged,” he said, “I have been selected as Evil King fifteen times in the last twenty years, with the result that I have a tour through there once a week, invading my court and trying to kill me or my courtiers. My wife has left me and taken the children with her for safety. The towns and countryside are being devastated. If the army of the Dark Lord doesn’t march through and sack my city, then the Forces of Good do it next time. I admit I’m being paid quite well for this, but the money I earn is so urgently needed to repair the capital for the next Pilgrim Party that there is almost none to spare for helping the farmers.”

Elves, demons, dwarves, dragons, wizards, griffins. (Oh my!)

All this and more in one book.

What? You need more?

How about Friendly Cows and garden monsters? Or flying pigs and talking horses? Magic spells and battles?

And Pilgrim Parties, organised by a man from another world – Mr Chesney who holds a demon captive in his pocket to make the magic world do his bidding. The people of Mr Chesney’s world pay good money to him to dress up, to be fought with, chased by avians, led by wizards as they journey through this other world of magic. It’s not just about illusions and magic though, people from both worlds actually get killed (some pilgrims are marked ‘expendable’ and aren’t meant to make it back home) and the lands racked and ruined.

This time, the Wizard Derk has been chosen to play the Dark Lord (and also chief tour coordinator), his son Blade is to be a Wizard Guide leading one of the many Pilgrim Parties, and their lovely home to be magicked into an evil citadel. It’s not an easy job but Derk is managing well enough, until a dragon puts him out of action, and Blade, his bossy bardic sister Shona and their five griffin brothers and sisters have to figure things out in his place.

“Just remember that when the Pilgrim Parties arrive there, they will expect to see hovels, abject poverty, and heaps of squalor and that I expect them to get it. I also expect you to do something about this house of yours. A Dark Lord’s Citadel must always be a black castle with a labyrinthine interior lit by baleful fires – you will find our specifications in the guide Mr Addis will give you – and it would be helpful if you could introduce emaciated prisoners and some grim servitors to solemnise the frivolous effects of these monsters of yours.”

The Dark Lord of Derkholm was just such great fun. A romp! A hoot! A whole cast characters who frustrate, endear and amuse. No wonder I sighed when it was over – all too soon!

Originally posted at http://olduvaireads.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/the-dark-lord-of-derkholm/ ( )
2 vote RealLifeReading | Jan 19, 2016 |
Wizard Derk has been chosen to be the Dark Lord for this year's Pilgram Tours. Every year, Mr. Chesney brings tourists from another world to have a traditional fantasy quest experience. The people of Derk's world are forced to change their world to meet the expectation of Mr. Chesney's tourists. Being Dark Lord is a tough job and Derk is not excited about his duties. He would much rather create more magical creatures, such as the Griffins he created and raised as his children (along side his human son and daughter).

This was the first novel I have read by Diana Wynne Jones. I really appreciate her creativity and sense of humor. This book is a fun story, a parody on the typical epic fantasy formula, and a commentary on exploitation of others. The characters are fun and likeable, if a little underdeveloped. The ending seemed a bit rushed but overall it was a good read. I will definitely read the next book that Jones wrote about these characters. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 17, 2016 |
Wizard Derk has been chosen to be the Dark Lord for this year's Pilgram Tours. Every year, Mr. Chesney brings tourists from another world to have a traditional fantasy quest experience. The people of Derk's world are forced to change their world to meet the expectation of Mr. Chesney's tourists. Being Dark Lord is a tough job and Derk is not excited about his duties. He would much rather create more magical creatures, such as the Griffins he created and raised as his children (along side his human son and daughter).

This was the first novel I have read by Diana Wynne Jones. I really appreciate her creativity and sense of humor. This book is a fun story, a parody on the typical epic fantasy formula, and a commentary on exploitation of others. The characters are fun and likeable, if a little underdeveloped. The ending seemed a bit rushed but overall it was a good read. I will definitely read the next book that Jones wrote about these characters. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Campion, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paarma, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith,Jos.A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary
Comic fantasy
makes valid point: don't despoil
the lands you visit.
(ed.pendragon)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064473368, Mass Market Paperback)

If, next door to our ordinary world, there existed a world full of magic, wouldn't you want to visit it? That's the situation that Diana Wynne Jones explores in Dark Lord of Derkholm, and she makes an effective and comical tale of it.

Groups of tourists, called Pilgrim Parties and organized by the cold-hearted profiteer Mr. Chesney, take a portal to the magical realm, where they are shepherded about the countryside by a wizard guide. Mr. Chesney sets the rules, such as that all wizard guides must have long white beards--even 14-year-old Blade--and every Party gets to "slay" the Dark Lord. No wizard wants to be chosen as the year's Dark Lord, because Mr. Chesney demands large battles that cause great devastation in the local villages and farms, and he doesn't pay very well, but he does have a captive demon to enforce his will. This year, things are going especially badly for the chosen Dark Lord, Derk. He can't seem to keep his evil forces on the right track, despite help from his son Blade, his daughter Shona the bard, and his griffin sons and daughters. His chief aide, Barnabas, is drinking heavily and muddling his spells. And the dwarfs are taking their baskets of gold as tribute to the one they say is the real Dark Lord--Mr. Chesney.

Jones spoofs many of the trappings of fantasy epics, while at the same time portraying a family, with its surface squabbles and underlying love, through a rollicking and somewhat unwieldy story. Her messages about exploitation and responsibility come through clearly. Although not as tightly focused as some of her earlier novels, the galloping pace makes Dark Lord of Derkholm a quick, fun read for her numerous fans. --Blaise Selby

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:28 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Derk, an unconventional wizard, and his magical family become involved in a plan to put a stop to the devastating tours of their world arranged by the tyrannical Mr. Chesney.

» see all 3 descriptions

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