A humorous fantasy from Diana Wynne Jones. In a world next door to ours, the tourist industry is devastating the population by its desire to experience all the fantasy cliches - Dark Lords, impoverished villages, dragons etc. The Head of the University resolves to shut the tours down; the only problem being the ruthless tour-master - and his all-powerful demons. To save them all, the incompetent wizard Derk is appointed as Dark Lord in the hope that he will ruin the tours, and sure enough proceeds to fail at everything due to his general uselessness. But can failing at everything lead to a win this time?
So…this is a weird one. Although it’s, I assume, a children’s novel, I think in many ways this book will appeal far more to adults. Those with an interest in fantasy fiction will particularly enjoy the way in which the novel parodies some of the most popular tropes. In the same vein, the humour in this book feels very specific. While definitely not for everyone, I do think most children and many adults would get a kick out of reading The Dark Lord of Derkholm.