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Joan Aiken was born in Sussex in 1924. She was the daughter of the American poet, Conrad Aiken; her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge, is also a novelist. Before joining the 'family business' herself, Joan had a variety of jobs, including working for the BBC, the United Nations Information Centre and then as features editor for a short story magazine. Her first children's novel, The Kingdom of the Cave, was published in 1960.

Joan Aiken wrote over a hundred books for young readers and adults and is recognized as one of the classic authors of the twentieth century. Amanda Craig, writing in The Times, said, 'She was a consummate story-teller, one that each generation discovers anew.' Her best-known books are those in the James III saga, of which The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was the first title, published in 1962 and awarded the Lewis Carroll prize. Both that and Black Hearts in Battersea have been filmed. Her books are internationally acclaimed and she received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the United States as well as the Guardian Award for Fiction in this country for The Whispering Mountain.

Joan Aiken was decorated with an MBE for her services to children's books. She died in 2004.


The Whispering Mountain (Prequel to the Wolves Chronicles series)

Joan Aiken

Prize winning WOLVES CHRONICLES PREQUEL reissued in A Puffin Book - All 12 Wolves books now in print for the first time ever.

In THE WHISPERING MOUNTAIN by Joan Aiken, the small town of Pennygaff, the legendary Harp of Teirtu is found - and lost again. For young Owen Hughes and his friend Arabis, it is the start of a hair-raising race to save the harp from sinister Lord Malyn. As they struggle to keep it out of his hands, they are plunged into a wild adventure involving murder, kidnapping, underground worlds, savage beasts, floods, avalanche, the mysterious children of the Pit - and above all, a man who will stop at nothing to get the harp back again.
Winner of the 1969 Guardian Fiction Award.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Joan Aiken

In a period of English History that never happened, when Good King James III is on the throne, and the whole country is ravaged by wolves which have migrated through the newly-opened Channel Tunnel. When orphans Bonnie and Sylvia fall into the hands of evil Miss Slighcarp, they need all their wits - and the help of Simon the goose-boy - to escape unscathed, for the governess is more cruel and merciless than the wolves that surround the great house of Willoughby Chase.

Filled with brilliantly-drawn Dickensian characters, it would make an excellent choice for strong preteen readers who like an old-fashioned story with a strong plot and good characterisation. This book often appears on lists of best-loved children's books.

The Song Of Mat And Ben

Joan Aiken

There is eerie trouble once again in the Cornish village of St Boan, often known as Thunder's Pocket. Some hundred-year-old water pipes are being replaced and the digging has disturbed the ghosts of the past, namely the twins Matthew and Ben Pernel who were killed in mysterious circumstances and their musician father blamed. The three are now trying to be reunited but less innocent forces are also at work and the present townspeople are involved as the unhappy incidents of a hundred years ago are relived. Aunt Lal calls on her nephew Ned to help. She believes only he can bring the Pernels together again and thus truly bury the past. But even Ned is not immune to the horrors of the disturbed spirits. A thrilling sequel to In Thunder's Pocket by this prestigious author.

Go Saddle The Sea

Joan Aiken

Despised by his Spanish relatives and ignored by his distant grandfather, twelve-year-old orphan Felix Brooke is lonely and unhappy. So when he's given a parcel with a blood-stained letter from his dead father, it inspires him to track down his long-lost English family. Felix packs his bag, jumps on his trusty mule and heads for the coast and a new life. But his journey across the mountains and over the sea does not prove to be plain sailing - as Felix soon discovers . . .

The Teeth of the Gale

Joan Aiken

"Don Francisco wants you home, and in double-quick time, too. We must leave tomorrow at dawn . . ."

Felix's heart sinks at Pedro's words. What can be wrong? Is his beloved grandfather ill? Dashing and loyal, he speeds towards Villaverde - and a rescue mission.

Donna Conchita's children are kidnapped and Felix may be reunited with the feisty Juana, if he agrees to help. Despite warnings of a conspiracy and his own suspicions of a trap, Felix fearlessly plunges into a plot thick with intrigue and danger. His grandfather said it was a matter of life and death - but whose?

Bridle The Wind

Joan Aiken

Packed-off to boarding school and bullied by his peers, Felix feels sad and trapped. Although he has a home in England, his heart lies in Spain - so he runs away. But Felix's journey is cut short when his ship is caught in a storm off the French coast. Despite being shipwrecked and then held prisoner in a remote monastery, Felix's spirit is far from broken - and he needs all the strength he can muster to battle against the demonic Abbot Vespasian and his evil powers . . .

Bone And Dream : A St. Boan Mystery

Joan Aiken

In this third St Boan mystery, Ned is summoned once again by his Aunt Lal to help the famous but cantankerous poet, Sir Thomas Menhenitt. In confronting the poet's problems, Ned rescues Sir Tom's granddaughter, Jonquil from a bizarre and highly dangerous situation.


Joan Aiken

Dido's sister, Is, travels north to try and find her lost cousin. But instead of the promised Playland, she discovers an underground kingdom where children work as slaves in the worst conditions imaginable - under the rule of the sinister Gold Kingy. . .