Willoughby the Narrator is the seventh in The Princelings of the East series. Willoughby first appeared in the Talent Seekers, as a mysterious ninja and mentor to Humphrey.
As might be expected from a Narrator, Willoughby tells his story with style and panache, starting with his somewhat surprising arrival in the Realms. The first part of the book takes us from the realisation that he was stuck here, through his adventures as he finds a way of making a living until he can return to where he belongs. That all ends when he falls from a high tower at Castle Deeping during the battles between Deeping and White Horse, as detailed in the Talent Seekers, and not elaborated on in his tale. Willoughby concentrates on the new story – what happened next, what he got up to as an itinerant narrator, and how he eventually compromised his career with undercover work for the rich and powerful, and had to start again. He treats us to a number of his special tales in the process, all the while reporting the changes in the social structure of the Realms as the Troubles deepen. Where will it all end?
Willoughby demanded that his story should be told. I more or less completed part one, wondering whether to retell his role in the Talent Seekers, or to give a modest summary, which is what my Willoughby eventually did. ‘Eventually,’ because nearly two years went by before I took up his story again. Once I realised where the story ended, for now, I could get going again. Willoughby’s story becomes entwined with that of Fred and George, the original Princelings, so there will be more to hear from him before the end of the saga.
Lovers of the series will enjoy this latest adventure, but newcomers may find it easier to start with book 1 or book 5. It’s a mystery adventure in a world not quite like ours, suitable for age 10 and upwards.