Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Mistmantle Chronicles: Book Three – The Heir of Mistmantle

The Mistmantle Chronicles: Book Three – The Heir of Mistmantle

M.I. McAllister
Illustrator:  Omar Rayyan 
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Hyperion, 2007   ISBN: 978-0786854905

Everyone on the island of Mistmantle is excited for in just one day the infant daughter of their good king and queen will be having her Naming Ceremony. Urchin and his friend Needle know too that they will soon be invited to join the Circle, the select group of advisors who serve King Crispin. Being so young, the coming invitation is a particular honor.

All goes well at the Naming Ceremony. Princess Catkin behaves beautifully and all the guests have a wonderful time. Then Urchin goes to watch the baby for a while and discovers that the Princess and her minder, a squirrel called Linty, are missing. It would appear that Linty’s two babies were victims of the cull during Husk’s terrible regime and the poor creature is not quite in her right mind. She has kidnapped the princess and no one knows where she might have gone. Soon the island is covered with animals of all kinds searching for the missing baby but they all come back to the tower empty handed.

Matters are made even worse by the spread of a horrible disease which soon makes many of the animals on the island very sick indeed. Some begin to die. Queen Cedar’s healing skills are needed and fewer animals are available to continue the search for the missing baby squirrel.

As if this is not bad enough heavy rains begin to fall and it begins to look as if some of the tunnels might collapse. Many of the animals remember terrible landslides which caused great losses in the past. Could such a thing happen again now? As quickly as possible King Crispin and his best workers do what they can to shore up the most unstable areas, evacuating families and getting them to safety.

As all these disasters trouble the animals, rumors begin to fly that Husk is not dead at all and that he is still on the island. Rumbles of discontent begin to circulate and some of the animals begin to say that King Crispin should never have taken a “foreign” squirrel to be his wife. Surely he, and they, would have been better off with someone who was born and raised on Mistmantle.

Will the creatures of Mistmantle and be able to survive all these troubles and will they be able to come through it all united once more?

In this third book in the Mistmantle series M. I. McAllister advances her remarkable story in thoroughly fascinating ways. Urchin, who had such grand dreams when he was little, is now a squirrel who can be relied upon to help his king and the creatures of Mistmantle when crises develop. Other animals too find their way and prove their mettle, serving their community, and earning the admiration of their peers.

Beautifully written and cleverly crafted, this is a book which is both a delight to read and which is hard to put down once it is begun.