is a fantasy novel
by Lloyd Alexander
that received an American Book Award
. It is the first book of the Westmark trilogy
, followed by The Kestrel
and The Beggar Queen.
Showing influences from the French existentialist
writers whose works Alexander translated early in his career, the series is far darker and more adult than Alexander's previous works such as The Chronicles of Prydain
. Although often classified as fantasy, there is no magic, nor any sign of any sort of religious belief, in Westmark,
or the succeeding volumes. It is set in a fictional country, however, though there are mentions to Upper Brasil and the Roman Pantheon.
Set in the fictional
kingdom of Westmark in a time period approximately equivalent to the 18th century, it tells a story of political upheaval and revolution strikingly similar to the history of the French Revolution
, as seen through the eyes of a young printer's apprentice who goes on the run after his master is murdered. Westmark
leads directly into the second volume of the trilogy, The Kestrel.
It is a complicated and politically dangerous period in Westmark. The country's ruler, King Augustine IV, has slipped into dementia, depression and illness since the supposed death of his only child, the Princess Augusta, over six years ago. Despite the efforts of the Queen, Caroline, and the court physician, Dr. Torrens, the... Read More