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Eight Days of Luke [Paperback]

Diana Wynne Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct. 4 1988 Swift Books
"Just kindle a flame and I'll be with you," says Luke. David thinks he's joking, but certainly, whenever he strikes a match, Luke appears immediately. But David's new friend seems to have some dark secrets.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

David dreads the upcoming holidays. Usually it means he is sent to camp or on an educational tour. This year, things are worsehis great-aunt and -uncle are confused about the last day of school and must cancel their own trip because they haven't scheduled something for David. Even worse, David finds that he can't seem to do anything right, and is constantly in trouble. Then, while playing in the garden, David unleashes unseen forces from another world; only with the help of the mysterious Luke can he send the forces back to the earth. Summer becomes more interestingLuke can charm David's relatives into letting them do almost anythinguntil David learns that the forces he freed are beyond his control. Loosely based on Norse mythology, this story is a smooth blend of myth and reality, a task that Jones ( A Tale of Time City ) performs with ease and assurance. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


A marvelous, mysterious adventure...an enjoyable puzzle...Another piece of fun from a master of whimsy. (School Library Journal)

An immensely enjoyable and dramatic story which should not be missed. (Times Literary Supplement (London))

A smooth blend of myth and reality, a task that Jones performs with ease and assurance. (Publishers Weekly)

Filled with tension and intrigue...A rich complexity distinguishes Jones storytelling. (ALA Booklist) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "A jolly good read" Oct. 4 2003
By A Customer
The story takes place on several levels and combines contemporary family conflict with Norse mythology. It draws together problems of disparate members of a family which are largely resolved after the young boy finds Luke, who has a strange ability with fire.
The story does not stand still and it's great fun for both children and adults.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norse mythology and rotten relatives: What more do you need? Aug. 31 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
David's life with his abominable relatives--hypochondriac Bernard, fault-finding Dot, self-righteous Ronald, and exasperating Astrid--abruptly changes when, in a fit of fury against his relatives, he creates a curse (appropriately fierce-sounding gibberish) and recites it in his back yard. Instead of something nasty for his relatives, however, he gets Luke: a mysterious, redheaded young man with an affinity for fire and a talent for troublemaking.
Luke's appearance is only the beginning of a bizarre set of events and peculiar visitations, from the malevolent Mr. Chew, to the preternaturally hearty Frys, to the twin ravens that constantly hang around David. The enigmatic Mr. Wedding has his own agenda, and some mystery hangs around the young man with the dragons. Before long, David finds himself moving between two worlds--his normal, everyday life with his relatives, and an unpredictable, mystical realm--and they both keep getting stranger.
As an admitted mythology addict, I loved "Eight Days of Luke." Figuring out, piece by piece, who the characters really are was half the fun in this book. The other half is Jones' delightful writing and the various complications that ensue as Luke (and what might be termed his set of bizarre relatives) enter into David's everyday life. Myth, folklore, and back-to-school shopping all combine in this novel; more impressively, they fit together naturally.
Everything I have ever read by Diana Wynne Jones has been excellent, and "Eight Days of Luke" was no disappointment. Even if you've never been one for mythology, read and enjoy!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great Feb. 10 2002
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
In the surge of fantasy books being reprinted, the formerly unavailable works of Diana Wynne-Jones are becoming available. "Eight Days of Luke" is a delight for fantasy and mythology buffs alike.
David dreads coming home for vacation. As his parents are dead, he lives with his horrible relatives: Uncle Bernard, Aunt Dot, Cousin Ronald and his wife Astrid, and the sinister housekeeper, all of whom insist that he be grateful to them. They tell him what to wear, how to speak, what to do, constantly talk about what a burden and a pain he is, and spend the rest of the time listening to Astrid and Bernard compare imaginary ailments.
While out doing yardwork, David utters a gibberish curse -- only to have a nearby wall erupt in a shower of snakes. Another boy named Luke appears, and offers to help David. Why? He says that David freed him, and David goes along with this. Luke charms David's nasty family, and as a result Astrid slowly begins to befriend David.
But Luke quickly displays that he can be dangerous as well as helpful. And he is strangely wary of the new people in the neighborhood: the Frys, one-eyed Mr. Wedding, and sinister gardener Mr. Chew. He claims that he was framed for something he didn't do -- but how is David going to help him?
Perhaps the only drawback of this book is that you need some basic knowledge of Norse mythology to know who people like the Frys, Mr. Wedding and Luke are; those who are not familiar with the myths may be hopelessly lost. So brush up on the basics before reading. As for the finale -- well, you'll definitely need to know about Norse myths. Jones doesn't tell us too much, but she doesn't tell us a lot either. The three old women will be recognizable easily, though: Similar characters have been featured in many other works of fantasy.
David is a completely realistic young boy, and I was pleased to see the "conversion" of one of his annoying relatives. Luke manages to be sympathetic and interesting despite the fact that he's a little amoral and has a perilous sense of fun. I was also glad that the "nasty relatives" didn't fall into the Roald Dahl/Harry Potter trap of being cartoonishly bad. They're bad because they are rigid and disdainful -- nasty in ways that are almost hilariously realistic. (The scene where David keeps score as Astrid and Bernard compare psychosomatic problems is a hoot!)
Soon to be reprinted, this is a lesser-known gem that is often overshadowed by Jones's other more popular works. Though shorter than many of her other books, this is a great read for adults and kids alike..
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Gaiman "borrowed" this premise for "American Gods" April 27 2003
By Sabrina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With Mrs. Wynne Jones' full permission of course (they're great friends). This is a very entertaining book with a story featuring events not unlike those of the children in A Series Of Unfortunate Events, or probably more to the point, all of Dickens' hapless child protagonists. Still, it has all the hallmarks of the best DWJ stories: a feisty, resourceful hero, other characters who are, somewhat frighteningly, not what they seem, and sudden trips to magical landscapes which appear just around the corner from one's otherwise normal town. It's a wonderful book to read aloud.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eight Days of Luke March 8 2009
By John C. Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not, in my opinion, the best story Diana Wynne Jones has ever written, but it is still a good story, and a fun read. The one thing I think would help it out would be to put the postscript at the beginning, so readers could understand more about the characters and the meaning of the escapades. Even with a classical education, and eight years at university resulting in three degrees, I found myself not always up on what the Norse gods were up to.And it helped to know.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Sept. 9 2008
By Shieldmaiden73 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Aside the the fact that Loki is *not* a fire god (mistranslation by Wagner and confusion with the Norse personification of fire...LOGI) it was a great read.

I can see how Gaiman used it as his inspiration for American Gods. Read them both.
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