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Westmark trilogy 01 - Westmark
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Westmark (1981) is a fantasy novel by Lloyd Alexander, named for a fictional kingdom that is its setting. Alternatively, Westmark is a trilogy named for the novel, its first book. The novel won a 1982 National Book Award.
Showing influences of the French existentialist writers whose works Alexander translated early in his career, the series is far darker and more adult than his previous books for children including The Chronicles of Prydain. Although classified as fantasy, there is no magic, nor any sign of religious belief, in Westmark or the succeeding volumes.
The novel tells a story of political upheaval and revolution strikingly similar to the history of the French Revolution, as seen through the eyes of a young printer's apprentice who goes on the run after his master is murdered. It leads directly into the second volume of the trilogy, The Kestrel.
It is a complicated and politically dangerous period in Westmark. The country's ruler, King Augustine IV, has slipped into dementia, depression and illness since the supposed death of his only child, Princess Augusta, over six years ago. Despite the efforts of the queen, Caroline, and the court physician, Dr. Torrens, the King is increasingly manipulated by his chief minister, Cabbarus, who has designs on the throne. While the ill king is kept distracted by a series of mystics and charlatans who claim to be able to speak to his dead child, Cabbarus increases his control over Westmark, restricting freedoms and abusing the king's powers...
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