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Bookends: The Architect’s Will is Done October 22, 2011

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends.
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Bookends: The Architect’s Will is Done

By Dan Davidson

October 19, 2011

Star, Oct. 21/11

– 750 words –

The Keys to the Kingdom: Lord Sunday

By Garth Nix

Scholastic Books

320 pages

$8.99

Some time ago the Architect who created everything got weary of it all and left His/Her creation. He/She left in the charge of seven special Denizens, who were called Trustees: Mr. Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday and Lord Sunday. To them he gave instruments of power, called keys. With them they were to rule the levels of the House, that extra-dimensional otherworld of which the Secondary Realms (like our Earth) are but dim echoes of that greater reality.

The Architect also left behind a Will, which would, at some point, name a successor to His/Her exalted position.

This proved to be a problem for the ruling Trustees, who could not, after a time, imagine having to kowtow to anyone greater than themselves. They split the will in seven parts and hid them within their domains. Over a long, long span of time they went slightly mad. Each became an embodiment of one of the seven deadly sins (sloth, greed, gluttony, wrath, lust, envy and pride) and they began to plot against each other. The one thing they had in common was the resolution that the Will of the Architect, which decreed that someday a mortal must take up the mantle, must never be fulfilled.

Some 1800 pages ago the Will escaped captivity and sought out a worthy recipient among the Secondary Realms, where the mortals live. Mortals, you see, evolved from the Nothing which was used to create everything, but they were not direct creations of the Architect, and so could add a fresh imaginative DNA to a tired creation.

The bit of the Will possessed an aide of Mister Monday’s and tricked him into giving his talisman to Arthur Penhaligon, the somewhat sickly scion of a strangely functional family living in Australia. With the aid of a strange book, which is also left behind with the “key”, Arthur finds his way into the House, the larger, original Kingdom. During the next week (though time passes very differently in the House) Arthur is persuaded (because the very survival of Earth depends upon it), to take up the task of reclaiming all the bits of the Will and the Keys to the Kingdom.

Most of the early books in this saga were able to stand alone, but by midway Nix was into leaving us with cliffhangers, and book six was a doozy. Each of Arthur’s victories came at a personal cost. He was slowly becoming less and less human and more and more one of the immortal denizens of the Kingdom. He was stronger, taller, better looking and no longer suffered from asthma. As he internalized the powers of the keys he found himself thinking thoughts that were unlike his natural inclinations, and worried that he might save the universe only at the cost of losing himself.

As the story progressed two individuals, both girls, became very important to developments, and the last book is almost as much about them as it is about Arthur. Leaf is a denizen of the Kingdom, an ancient ragamuffin who finds a purpose to her long life in helping Arthur on his quests.

From our world there is Leaf, a friend of Arthur’s who was scooped up by mistake in the third book and becomes entangled in the Trustee’s plots.

In the final chapter of this saga, Superior Saturday and Lord Sunday are at war over possession of the top rooms in the House. Meanwhile the Nothing from which everything was created is slowly, and then more rapidly, eating its way up the levels of the Kingdom, destroying everything in its path.

There are many battles in the various books of this series, but the constant struggle in this final book tops them all and ends in levels of destruction which are quite absolute. Arthur fulfills his destiny in ways that he never anticipated and truths are revealed which were hinted at but never spelled right out in the earlier volumes. Some of the middle books did drag a bit, but this final one is action from start to finish. For me the end came somewhere over Newfoundland on a flight home from Ireland where I had begun the book just before boarding the plane in Dublin. It proved to be an excellent antidote to the boredom of a long airplane ride.

-30-

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