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Cart and Cwidder (1975)

by Diana Wynne Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dalemark Quartet (1)

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1,0652014,283 (3.8)47
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.
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» See also 47 mentions

English (19)  Swedish (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This is one of Jones' early works and while it's not as polished as some of her more famous later books, Cart and Cwidder is still filled with warm, often practical characters trying to operate in chaotic situations and places, which I feel is usually the best element of her stories. ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
Considering how much I loved the Crestomanci and Howl's Moving Castle series as a child I am shocked that I never actually read the Dalemark series. I have a vague recollection (which may be false) of trying to read them long ago - and hating them - but during this attempt I had the exact opposite reaction! The story is action-packed, the detals are rich, and Jones' character come alive on the pages as she creates a new world with new conflicts for readers to explore. I am sure that this series will become quite enthralling as Jones weaves a tale of magic, music, and personal discovery in the remaining three novels. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
So close to 5 stars from me (Diana Wynne Jones is a wonderful, wonderful writer), but I had some trouble accepting that the characters would be so chill about the astonishing life events befalling them—the mother, in particular, didn't ring true to me. Sorry, Ms. Jones. Otherwise it's the usual melange of likable viewpoint character, distinctive supporting cast, slightly tricksy plot, the occasional unexpected reveal, and a lot of frustration—I'm reading a collection of her short stories at the same time, and it seems like frustrated exasperation is the main mental state of most of her protagonists, you expect them to walk around going "urgh!" all the time (and then after venting, getting down to business, of course).

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, I'm a bit more ruthless. ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Oct 13, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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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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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.

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