Professor Brinton Garrett expects to find a helpless orphan when he and his wife go to Strafford, PA to help Vesper Holly settle her father’s estate. What he finds is a strong-willed, daring 16-year-old determined to complete her father’s research.
Before long, Garrett is on his way to Illyria, a small country near the Adriatic Sea. Vesper is convinced that her father’s theory that the Illyriad, the land’s great epic, is true. Soon she ropes her “Uncle Brinnie” into accompanying her to this hotbed of political unrest.
There they find a young king, a manipulative chief minister and an army of revolutionaries. Despite Garrett’s attempts to instill common sense in his young ward, Vesper jumps from the pan into the fire. They travel through the countryside with a ne’er-do-well guide, lose their supplies and are chase by the chief minister’s henchmen. Ever the optimist, though, Vesper is sure things will go her way – and somehow they do.
Readers will fall in love with the indomitable Vesper Holly in this, her first adventure. With subtle humor, Lloyd Alexander juxtaposes a vivacious heroine and her level-headed guardian in an action-packed plot. Middle school students looking for an entertaining series for the summer will not be disappointed.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother.