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Cart and Cwidder (The Dalemark Quartet) by…
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Cart and Cwidder (The Dalemark Quartet) (original 1975; edition 2016)

by Diana Wynne Jones (Author)

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1,0261713,219 (3.81)43
When their father, a traveling minstrel, is killed, three children involved in rebellion and intrigue inherit a lute-like cwidder with more than musical powers.
Member:timspalding
Title:Cart and Cwidder (The Dalemark Quartet)
Authors:Diana Wynne Jones (Author)
Info:Harper Collins Childrens Books (2016)
Collections:Wishlist
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Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones (1975)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
It has been seven years since the death of Diana Wynne Jones, and I've been a fan of hers since childhood, but I had never read this series before.

The Dalemark Quartet, arguably the most effective series Jones ever wrote. Jones' genius didn't lend itself to sequels. When she created a world and characters she said all that she wanted to say in that first volume. That's why many sequels often had mostly new sets of characters, if not new worlds, and often, fell flat. Dalemark is a magical kingdom divided among feuding lords, with a sharp division between those in the North and those in the South. Ideology, prejudice, and history must be overcome and its fate rests in the hands of children, sometimes scattered over centuries.

'Cart and Cwidder' is the first novel of the series, and follows Moril and his siblings as they travel as musicians in their parent's cart. A journey across the treacherous South is dangerous enough without a price on their heads and being armed only with an ancestral cwidder, a musical instrument rumored to have rare powers.

This is a classic Jones novel, and I enjoyed the interplay between the young characters. It sketches out many elements of the plot that will be revealed as the story continues. In particular, the rules of magic were noteworthy, and the hints of the Undying, to be revealed further in later novels. This is a complete adventure, and can be read by itself.

Dalemark Quartet

Next: 'Drowned Ammet' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 20, 2019 |
The Dalemark tales (which I originally read ~ 20 years ago) draw somewhat from old Scottish myths. My re-reading (always a danger with nostalgic books) still scores 3-4 stars. This book tells about Moril Clennensson and his family of travelling Singers. Moril sees more than 'meets the eye' and the lives of itinerant musicians presents an early glimpse of the world of Dalemark. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jun 21, 2017 |
I love Ms. Jones with all of my heart, and that is why it pains me to admit that I didn't really enjoy these stories. There was no connection between the stories (although the first two novels are set during the same period, they concern two completely different cultures and geographic areas--the difference between A Horse and His Boy and Prince Caspian for instance), so there's really no point at having them all part of the same "quartet." Moreover, the stories just didn't grab me. I don't know why not, but these are probably her least-enjoyable works.
( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Originally published in 1975. I really wish I had read this short novel as a kid. I still enjoyed reading it now, but I think it would have been one of my favorite books if I had read it at a younger age.
Although a YA novel, with a fun and fast-moving, adventurous tone, this book doesn't shy away from ‘heavier' emotional issues and political situations.
The feudal land of Dalemark is divided, and the South is extremely politically repressive. But people depend on traveling minstrels for not only entertainment but news and mail delivery – so entertainers have a more free rein than most. Moril has spent his whole life traveling and performing with his family from a horse-drawn cart, singing and playing the cwidder across the land.
But when his father is murdered by a group of richly-dressed men, his mother immediately chooses to return to the stable, well-to-do suitor that she left for a musician years before. Moril and his brother and sister, driven both by suspicions that their mother's new beau had something to do with the murder, and a lack of enthusiasm for a bourgeois lifestyle, take the cart and strike out on their own, agreeing to take the young man who had been their family's passenger to his destination in the North.
More trouble awaits than they had bargained on however, as secrets regarding an underground political movement are revealed, and the children realize that their life was not all the happy-go-lucky glamour that it seemed. Soon they're well in over their heads – which makes it convenient that Moril's inherited cwidder, reputed to have belonged to the legendary bard Osfameron, may have more-than-simply-musical powers. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Man, was this ever dark and tense. I really liked it, though, and expect to enjoy the rest of the series! I enjoyed reading a DWJ novel with a slightly different worldbuilding style than her usual - vaguely like the Ingary books, but not quite.

I liked how the storytelling and musical aesthetic was very Celtic, specifically Welsh (the "branches" of the Adon's tale was a fun allusion to the branches of the Mabinogi.) ( )
  raschneid | Mar 31, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Call, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smee, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Jos. A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Juliet StanwellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Do come out of that dream, Moril," Lenina said.
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