cover image The Drackenberg Adventure

The Drackenberg Adventure

Lloyd Alexander. Dutton Books, $12.95 (152pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44389-6

In her latest bout with villainy, Vesper Holly of The Illyrian Adventure and The El Dorado Adventure is accompanied by her legal guardians Professor Brinton and his wife Mary to Drackenberg to attend the Diamond Jubilee of the Grand Duchess. Immediately upon their arrival, Vesper and her companions become involved in Drackenberg's struggle to remain independent from neighboring Carpatia. The appearance of Vesper's archenemy, the dastardly Dr. Helvitius, is a sure sign that trouble is soon to follow. In the course of their stay, Vesper and Brinnie travel with a band of gypsies in order to rescue Mary from kidnappers, recover a lost masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, discover a way to revive Drackenberg's economy and foil (for the time being, anyway) the evil machinations of Dr. Helvitius. Although the Vesper Holly novels rarely touch on the serious topics explored in some of Alexander's earlier novels (The Prydain Chronicles and The Westmark Trilogy), each effervescent addition to the series is a pleasure to read. Deft storytelling combines with thorough research to create a seamless, fantastic vision of 19th century life. Ages 10-14. (April)