The children of London are disappearing—can Is solve the mystery before she vanishes too?
Is Twite, younger sister of the daring Dido, is on a desperate mission. An uncle she never knew just showed up at the cottage she shares with her sister Penny. He is being pursued by ravening wolves, and before he dies, the uncle begs her to find his missing son—Is’s cousin, Arun.
The quest takes Is to London—a city mysteriously devoid of children, including the king’s only son and heir. Is soon finds herself aboard the Playland Express, a secret midnight train that leaves town once a month, just before the new moon. The kids aboard believe they’re headed to a far-off kingdom filled with fun and games. In reality, Playland is a freezing underground city ruled by the greedy “Gold Kingy,” who has lured the youngsters there under false pretenses. His real objective is to put them to work in the coal mines. But the worst is yet to come: Gold Kingy is none other than Is’s other uncle Roy! Now it’s up to Is to avoid a terrible fate and use her wits, ingenuity, and powers of telepathic communication to free the children.
Is Underground is the 8th book in the award-winning Wolves Chronicles, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
This ebook features an illustrated personal history of Joan Aiken including rare images from the author’s estate.
The latest addition to the cycle begun with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is just the sort of serious and thrilling fare young readers crave, a rip-roaring adventure in which a handful of good-hearted folk are pitted against a truly menacing villain. The children of London are steadily vanishing, and no one knows why. Is Twite (younger sister of Dido Twite, from Dido and Pa and Nightbirds on Nantucket ) sets out to discover the whereabouts of two lost children, her cousin Arun and Davie, the King's only son. Soon Is finds herself aboard a secret midnight train heading north to Playland, which--according to one of the many urchins also en route--is ``a reel prime place . . . no work to do unless you fancies workin', fun an' frolic an' dancin' every night.'' In reality, the children's destination is a ghastly, underground slave labor camp ruled by the sinister Gold Kingy. Is realizes that she has been sent to rescue the children trapped in Gold Kingy's mines. Though jam-packed with strange details, quirky snatches of dialect and odd bits of rhyme, the story fairly gallops along; its momentum is only increased by Aiken's keen sense for the absolute terror of life under a dictatorship. No heavy-handed political allegory, this is a story of zest and sparkle, sad and frightening and defiantly hopeful all at once. Ages 10-14.