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The Cuckoo Tree [Hardcover]

Joan Aiken
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1989
A gang of murderers and a ruthless plot are just some of the sinister hazards placed in the path of trusty Dido Twite.

"Joan Aiken is such a spellbinder that it all rings true". --The Standard

"A writer of wild humour" --Oxford Companion to Children's Literature

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

"For all Joan Aiken fans who delight in her special brand of suspense and mystery, she has now concocted a parade of circumstances and characters resulting in a historical spoof that focuses on a wild scheme to foil the coronation of James IV." —Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly

"Immensely exciting, weird, and funny, Miss Aiken is at her best." —London Evening Standard

“The author is better at creating villains than anybody since Dickens.” — Time Magazine Time Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Joan Aiken, daughter of the American writer Conrad Aiken, was born in Rye, Sussex, England, and has written more than sixty books for children, including The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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4.0 out of 5 stars A Deeper, More Scary Adventure than Usual Nov. 28 2003
Format:Paperback
After her light-hearted adventures on the island of Nantucket in the previous installment in Joan Aiken's "Wolves" Saga, Dido Twite comes up against darker enemies once she reaches English soil once more. At the end of the last book, Dido left Nantucket with Captain Hughes, who since then has become rather ill. When the carriage they're riding in overtips thanks to a dodgy cabby-driver, Dido goes for help and soon finds herself in the company of more weird and wonderful acquantices - so many in fact, that they add up to more than all of the previous books put together!
Finding shelter for Captain Hughes thanks to the Tegleaze Manor House and its inhabitants (the spoilt young heir Tobis, the matriarchal and domineering Lady Tegleaze and the strange, creepy Tante Sannie) Dido soon suspects the makings of another Hanoverian plot to usurp the British throne and wreck King Richard the Fourth's coronation. But many factions are at work within the plot: the illusive Mr Mystery and his bizarre, life-like puppets, the witch Mrs Lubagge whose dislike for Dido could prove dangerous, Tante Sannie and her Joobie nuts, and even her own father - the self-important Mr Twite, last seen in "Black Hearts in Battersea"!
But Dido is not entirely alone; there is the blind, but kindly Tom Firkin, the terrified Cris and his mysterious "Aswell", Yan and his band of smuggling "Gentlemen" and of course Lord Sope and his bun-loving elephant Rachel. But into these friends and allies Aiken still places a sense of displacement for young Dido, a feeling of being a cuckoo in a nest that does not belong to her, though at the conclusion of the story one gets the hope that this will not always be so, as a past friend comes in search of her...
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By Lee
Format:Paperback
This book was rather scary, and it continues in the fantastical tradition of The Stolen Lake. This does nothing to diminish its excellence, though. Perhaps very young children shouldn't read it, because it only really gets into the fun, rollicking Aiken tradition towards the end, before which point the reader has been thoroughly freaked out and learned to trust no-one. I should say that this is best enjoyed as a die-hard fan, but probably only a fan would read this far ahead in the series, so I do highly recommend this book. Witches, smugglers, hallucinogenic nuts and a small town whose folk all seem to be decidedly untrustworthy set the initial flavour of this book. When reading it, I saw the parts where Dido was with Mr. Firkin as the "safe" parts, because I knew nothing would happen to her, but whenever she left his company I started worrying INSANELY. This was the first book where I wasn't sure that everything would be all right in the end. I mean, obviously it would for Dido - but what about Captain Hughes?
But once Dido, Cris and Tobit team up with the Wineberry boys (who are totally loveable) things get back to normal, or relatively so, and it becomes a fun romp to the end. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has read and liked the other books, but I don't think that someone who just picks it up randomly would enjoy it as much, because the style of writing needs to be accustomed to. For all fans - READ THIS ONE TOO!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful, eerie but Dido brings out the good nature in it July 26 2001
By Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was rather scary, and it continues in the fantastical tradition of The Stolen Lake. This does nothing to diminish its excellence, though. Perhaps very young children shouldn't read it, because it only really gets into the fun, rollicking Aiken tradition towards the end, before which point the reader has been thoroughly freaked out and learned to trust no-one. I should say that this is best enjoyed as a die-hard fan, but probably only a fan would read this far ahead in the series, so I do highly recommend this book. Witches, smugglers, hallucinogenic nuts and a small town whose folk all seem to be decidedly untrustworthy set the initial flavour of this book. When reading it, I saw the parts where Dido was with Mr. Firkin as the "safe" parts, because I knew nothing would happen to her, but whenever she left his company I started worrying INSANELY. This was the first book where I wasn't sure that everything would be all right in the end. I mean, obviously it would for Dido - but what about Captain Hughes?
But once Dido, Cris and Tobit team up with the Wineberry boys (who are totally loveable) things get back to normal, or relatively so, and it becomes a fun romp to the end. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has read and liked the other books, but I don't think that someone who just picks it up randomly would enjoy it as much, because the style of writing needs to be accustomed to. For all fans - READ THIS ONE TOO!!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Deeper, More Scary Adventure than Usual Nov. 28 2003
By R. M. Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After her light-hearted adventures on the island of Nantucket in the previous installment in Joan Aiken's "Wolves" Saga, Dido Twite comes up against darker enemies once she reaches English soil once more. At the end of the last book, Dido left Nantucket with Captain Hughes, who since then has become rather ill. When the carriage they're riding in overtips thanks to a dodgy cabby-driver, Dido goes for help and soon finds herself in the company of more weird and wonderful acquantices - so many in fact, that they add up to more than all of the previous books put together!
Finding shelter for Captain Hughes thanks to the Tegleaze Manor House and its inhabitants (the spoilt young heir Tobis, the matriarchal and domineering Lady Tegleaze and the strange, creepy Tante Sannie) Dido soon suspects the makings of another Hanoverian plot to usurp the British throne and wreck King Richard the Fourth's coronation. But many factions are at work within the plot: the illusive Mr Mystery and his bizarre, life-like puppets, the witch Mrs Lubagge whose dislike for Dido could prove dangerous, Tante Sannie and her Joobie nuts, and even her own father - the self-important Mr Twite, last seen in "Black Hearts in Battersea"!
But Dido is not entirely alone; there is the blind, but kindly Tom Firkin, the terrified Cris and his mysterious "Aswell", Yan and his band of smuggling "Gentlemen" and of course Lord Sope and his bun-loving elephant Rachel. But into these friends and allies Aiken still places a sense of displacement for young Dido, a feeling of being a cuckoo in a nest that does not belong to her, though at the conclusion of the story one gets the hope that this will not always be so, as a past friend comes in search of her...
In many ways "The Cuckoo Tree" is quite different from the previous books in the series, despite the traditional story of the Hanoverian plot and its increasingly dubious means of putting Prince George on the throne (if you thought the giant gun was extreme, wait till you've seen what they've cooked up here!) But the cast of characters in "The Cuckoo Tree" is much more vast than usual, to the point where it got difficult to keep track of them all, and certain parts a little darker than usual, with the use of witchcraft and attempted murder. Furthermore, some ideas, such as Aswell, Tante's eventual fate, and Dido's increasing loneliness are more suited to an older audience than the light-heartedness of the former books. But for me anyway, these deeper levels only make the books more fascinating, and I hope the trend continues in further books in the series.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Safe in England's arms...or not Oct. 13 2004
By Chrijeff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After almost three years and a succession of voyages "twice round the world," scrappy Cockney Dido Twite finally sets foot in England once again. Unfortunately she's still 60 miles from her beloved London, and getting across that distance proves to be just as difficult as her previous adventures put together. Seeking help for her travelling companion, Captain Hughes, RN, after a coach wreck, she runs into first a mysterious band of what eventually turn out to be smugglers (but very upright ones, King's men to the last), then the oddly assorted inhabitants of run-down Tegleaze Manor. The Captain is carrying a vital dispatch for the First Lord of the Admiralty, and it soon becomes apparent to Dido that the rascally Hanoverians know about it (and may even have arranged the wreck). There's also witchery--perhaps even voodoo--afoot, and a plot to deprive young Sir Tobit of his inheritance. But Dido proves equal to it all, with the help of the kindly blind shepherd Mr. Firkin and the delightful chief smuggler Yan Wineberry (who reminds me of a British Han Solo, and who seems to be related to half the South of England, as well as being known and trusted to various high government figures). A new Stuart king, Richard IV, is introduced, the Preventives (government revenue officers) are revealed to be hand in glove with the Hanoverians, and Dido is reunited with her rascally but musically brilliant father, who for all his cavalier treatment of her seems to care enough to plead for her life when she is captured by the conspirators. Though often deliciously shuddersome, the book retains the quality of its predecessors, and Dido is certainly up to her usual standard.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant March 26 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is one of my favourite books by Joan Aiken, fitting well into the 'Dido' series. Wild humour and a twisting plot involving witchcraft, murder and hypnotism sets the scene in the unexpected location of London. The enemies to the crown are up to their usual tricks again this time aided by the dark presence of Mrs Lubbage and Tante Sannie from the tropics, can Dido and friends save the day? A plot to roll St James' cathedral into the Thames using giant roller-skates is just one example of Joan Aiken's imagination in this Novel. If you're a fan, don't hesitate to buy!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars alternative history and suspense July 3 2006
By K. WEST - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
another great book from Joan Aiken. Wonderfully strong female lead and interesting alternative history.
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