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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Music of Zombies

The latest in the Five Kingdoms series, The Music of Zombies by Vivian French was published in August this year. In this story, a deadly train  of events are set in motion by the self-centred and not terribly bright Prince Albion of Cockenzie Road. He plans the most magnificent day of celebrations for his kingdom's national day - processions, speeches and competitions including a talent show which Prince Albion predicts he himself will win.  After all, his grateful subjects will have had a Cockenzie Road Day to remember so are bound to vote for him in gratitude.
Zombie musician Fiddleduster Squint has other ideas, he thinks the talent show prize is his by rights and a fiendish plot is hatched. Refused entry to the kingdom by the magical barrier which keeps out evil creatures, Fiddleduster Squint and his shadow enlist the unwitting help of some sleepy giants to break the barrier and leave everyone in the Five Kingdoms helpless against the power of the Zombie's music.
As usual it is up to Gracie Gillypot, Prince Marcus, Gubble the Troll and Marlon the bat to save the Kingdoms and everyone living there. Helped out by Alf, Marlon's nephew and Marcus' twin brother Ariosto, our heroes manage to defeat the zombies. Then it is a race to reach the giants and persuade them not to cause disastrous earthquakes which will destroy all of the Five Kingdoms.
Ross Collins has done his usual superlative job illustrating this story - the Zombies are truly evil, the Giants a bit confused-looking about the world they have been woken into, and Gubble must be one of the cutest trolls in fiction.