Westmark (Westmark Trilogy Series #1)

Westmark (Westmark Trilogy Series #1)

by Lloyd Alexander


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Winner of the American Book Award (now known as the National Book Award)
An ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

When Theo agrees to print a traveling showman's pamphlet, he only thinks of the money it will bring in. Instead, it sets off a chain reaction that results in the smashing of the press and the murder of his master. Caught on the wrong side of the law, Theo must flee the city. Soon, he has teamed up with the traveling showman Count Las Bombas (who is actually a con artist) and his servant. The trio is soon joined by Mickle, a clever, strong-willed girl with a mysterious past. Performing feats that astound and amaze, the motley crew falls into a trap set by Chief Minister Cabbarus, who is determined to wrest power from the grief-stricken king. Now they must not only save themselves-they must save the kingdom...

This is the first volume in Lloyd Alexander's classic Westmark trilogy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141310688
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 01/28/2002
Series: Westmark Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 382,393
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007) was the author of numerous books for children and adults, including highly acclaimed, classic fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain and The Westmark Trilogy. His books have won numerous awards and accolades including the Newbery Medal, the Newbery Honor and the National Book Award.

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Chapter One

Excerpted from "Westmark"
by .
Copyright © 2002 Lloyd Alexander.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Westmark (The Westmark Trilogy #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
does not have all the good qualities. drones on and does not start getting interesting until the 2nd half.
xicanti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young man gets caught up in his country's political situation after soldiers destroy his livelihood.Why had I never read this before? Why had I never even considered reading it? I've been a big fan of Lloyd Alexander's for almost fifteen years. I've loved everything of his I've read. And yet, I somehow missed out on most of his bibliography. Huh.I wish I'd read this fifteen years ago, but I'm not sure I would have appreciated it then. Alexander does some fantastic things with this story. He packs in tons of commentary on right and wrong, justifiable and inexcusable. Each of these characters has differing views on what is and is not appropriate, both on a personal level and on a political level, and it's difficult to say who's really right. Everyone gets plenty of opportunities to defend their stance, and everyone has valid points. The book really challenges the reader to think about where these people are coming from and how s/he would act in their place.And on top of that, it's just a good story. The plot is a bit unconventional, but I didn't find that this detracted from the story. Rather, it enhanced the issues Theo dealt with and helped make his choices clearer. The twists and turns were also set up very nicely; unfortunately, I had the final surprise spoiled for me by some ill-considered blurb reading, but I still found it interesting to see how Alexander laid out all the clues.The book is teeny-tiny, (184 pages in the hardcover edition), but I found that it had the same impact as something much longer. I highly recommend it to those who like their children's literature with a bit more of a punch.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in Alexander's Westmark Trilogy. I read Alexander's "Chronicles of Prydain" when I was in middle school and really liked it. When I realized that I had never read this series I had to grab it up. It is a wonderful young adult series and the fact that it still reads well (over twenty years after being written) is a testament to Alexander's exceptional style of fantasy writing.Theo is an apprentice to a printer in a time where the monarchy is becoming increasingly stringent about printed materials. During an inspection Theo and his master run afoul of the Royal inspectors and in a fit of rage Theo smashes one of the inspectors with a part of the printing press. Theo's master is killed and Theo becomes a criminal on the run. Shortly after fleeing town he meet up with Dr. Absalom, who is not as much of a doctor as he says and much more a rogue, and a midget named Musket. There crazy adventures eventually have them grouping up with Mickle, a girl thief who is much more than she first seems. Theo partakes in some wild adventures and struggles with the morals of the livelihood he is making as a rogue, he eventually tries to make a honest living, but that only ends up with him deeply embroiled in politics that could make or break the country.This book was a wonderful classic young adult fantasy. You have Cabbarus, the evil chief minister, who is a wonderful villain. You have an ailing king, who puts the lineage of the throne at risk. Theo is a young boy who struggles with his solid morals, as actions that should be honorable end up not being right. The characters are well-woven and make for interesting reading. In fact the characters show an admirable level of maturity and reasoning throughout the book. The plot moves a little slow, but everything that happens in this book happens for a reason so it is a very tightly woven story. The writing is excellent and fits the mode of the story perfectly.There are some excellent actions scenes, lots of intrigue, and plots woven within plots. This is a book that makes you think in order to follow all the threads of plot that are happening. There is a lot of delving into morals and violence and what is wrong and right. I was amazed at how complex the story was for such a short book. Definitely an excellent read. It would be appropriate for all ages, but younger readers might not be able to follow all the intrigue and ethics discussion that goes on.I look forward to reading the next book in this series The Kestrel. "Westmark" is a must read for young adult fantasy lovers. The plot may drag a bit at parts, but the story is intricate and interesting. I did like "The Chronicles of Prydain" better; those books were an easier and more engaging read, but "Westmark" is close in quality and definitely a classic.
ncgraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In bold, quasi-aggressive lettering, the cover of Westmark brands Lloyd Alexander a ¿grand master of fantasy.¿ As someone who has read the book twice over, I have to say that this is more than a trifle misleading. Alexander is a master, of course, but Westmark and its sequels don¿t exactly belong in the fantasy genre, at least not to the same extent as his other books. While they take place in an imaginary country, there is no magic. And instead of boasting knights, mages, and dragons among its inhabitants, Westmark is populated by mountebanks, revolutionaries, plotting courtiers, and other trouble-making denizens.The adventure begins with little prelude: we are quickly introduced to the orphaned Theo, currently serving as a printer¿s devil (that is, an apprentice), when government officials invade the shop and attempt to dismantle the press on suspicion of illegal activities. Theo and his master attempt to fight them off, and Theo almost kills one of the men. Now wanted for attempted murder, he must leave his hometown and flee across the country. Over the course of his journey he meets and bonds with a host of colorful characters: the florid and fantastical Count Las Bombas, who has no real profession except for swindling and bamboozling; his midget companion, the fearsome Musket; a mysterious waif known only as Mickle; the revolutionary Florian and his ¿children,¿ a dangerous group of radicals; and finally Cabbarus himself, the chief minister who is waging a war of terror upon Westmark.For years I remembered this as the most generic of the Westmark books, a typical Alexander ¿romp through the kingdom¿ that just happened to take place in a fascinating new world. Coming back, I see that I wasn¿t doing it justice. Certainly some of the characters resemble other figures from the author¿s oeuvre¿Count Las Bombas makes me think of Quicksilver from The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian and Fflewddur Fflam from the Prydain Chronicles, while Mickle belongs to that Alexander¿s own personal ¿race that knows Joseph,¿ the Society of Feisty Heroines¿but he gives them enough individual touches to make them unique. And the story as a whole has unusual weight. Theo isn¿t merely a callow youth seeking adventure: no, he¿s also a young man who has just realized he has the potential to kill another human being, and this haunts him. Westmark raises questions of violence, justice, power politics, and morality that will be further explored in The Kestrel and The Beggar Queen.One aspect of the book that I feel I must single out is the characterization of Cabbarus. Alexander isn¿t afraid of letting his readers into the villain¿s mind. No, he shows us all of its cruel inner workings, its strange justifications for violent acts, its self-deceiving pretense at selflessness. This is, quite simply, excellent writing.Lest I make the story sound too grim, I must add that it is also a good deal of fun. In fact, Alexander notes that part of his concept for the Westmark trilogy was to juxtapose tragedy with ¿events that [are] hysterically, incongruously funny.¿ But his humor here does devolve goofiness as in some of his lighter work; rather, it takes on the form of satire, and at points even gallows humor. Take this little funny from the book¿s first page:Theo ¿ was lucky enough to be an orphan, for the town fathers of Dorning prided themselves in looking after their needy. So, instead of sending him away to a King¿s Charity House, where he would be made miserable, they arranged the same for him locally.If I have one complaint about the book, it is that it isn¿t quite long enough. I would have liked for Alexander to pause here and there, smell the flowers, develop his characters a little more. As a result, this often feels a bit too much like set-up for the two next books.Still, if the last sentence doesn¿t give you goosebumps and send you immediately for The Kestrel, then y
randomnickname on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first book in a trilogy, this follows young Theo, a printers apprentice, and an assortment of misfits and rebels, as they conspire against the government. This is an insightful and nuanced series about political rebellion, power, war and the fallible humanity of people caught in the middle.
dreamless on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's got all the neatness of the French Revolution with none of the actual Europe, aimed squarely and succesfully at children/young adults. There's war, politics, and revolution, and the protagonists take part in all of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've loved almost every book I've read by Lloyd Alexander and the Westmark Trilogy is no exceptions. Long before the Hunger Games and before City of Ember there was Westmark! Great commentary on politics and war mixed with a great dose of adventure. Quick, easy, and fun to read, but it still has a lot to say. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Totally Awesome! I think it rocks a lot. Sweetness. Better than bacon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How many times have I read this trilogy? I've lost count. But whenever someone asks me, 'What do you recommend that I read?' the first reply off my lips is 'Westmark, of course.' It was the Westmark Trilogy that inspired me to write a book. With his usual dry wit, lively characters, and sweeping narrative, Alexander has produced a story so vivid and rousing that you want to just jump in and join Theo, Mickle, and Las Bombas. And its bittersweet ending leaves you more satisfied than most books I have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Llyod Alexander is one of the best writers ever. He wisks you away to places you've only - or never - imagined. He writes with the interesting plots of JRR Tolkien, the truth of C.S. Lewis, the passion of Susan Cooper, blending them all into a style all his own. Take a look. You'll love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The whole series is unforgetable! The characters are so awesome! I couldn't put the book down! THANKS LLOYD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of books but, this book keeps you hooked and makes you want to read on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am teaching in an International school here in Bangkok, Thailand, and I have to teach Advanced Reading to Grade 9 students. Westmark is a part of our textbook and I read it before I told students to read it, to see if it is really worth reading. I found out that it is really exciting and full of suspense. The reader would all the time be guessing what would happen next-- only to find out that the next event is more exciting than what was expected.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine told me that she had been reading some books by Lloyd Alexander--she said they were 'pretty good'. So, since I didn't have anything to read at the time, I checked them out of the library--and could not put them down. Literally. Lloyd Alexander is almost incredibly good at his job. Once you start reading his books, you're basically trapped and it's -very- hard to stop reading until you're done with all of them you can find, so I wouldn't recommend picking one up at ten o'clock at night! Not only are Lloyd Alexander's books absolutely enthralling, they're excellent in that they give your mind something to chew on. The plot is never hard to follow, but there is usually a moral dilemma that everyone needs to think about. Okay, the books are awesome, so I'll quit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is the best book i have ever read and i think all ages will enjoy it