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In the coils of the snake
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  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. Taking place 30 years after the events of Close Kin (2004) , this satisfying conclusion to the Hollow Kingdom trilogy more closely examines relations between the tough, practical goblins and the sensitive, graceful elves, the two magical races dwelling in Dunkle's Victorian England. As in previous books, a plot rich in cultural misunderstandings swirls forth from the goblins' tradition of intermarrying with elves to bolster faltering bloodlines. Events center on an elf traded to goblin Catspaw as the new King's Bride, and Miranda, a human ward of the goblins who has been seized by the elven lord. The captives heighten tensions that drive the races toward a climactic clash, even as the two displaced women find things to appreciate, and perhaps even love, about their captors. Although the romance, as always, tends to mix strangely with themes of imprisonment and cool reproductive imperatives, the grounding in a fully imagined history, the chaste tenor of on-screen interactions between mates, the inventive role of magic, and the sympathetic portrayals of both societies clear space in readers' minds to accept all aspects of the premise. Followers of the series will revel in this (evidently) final opportunity to lose themselves in Dunkle's distinctive, intriguingly disquieting vision. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2006 Booklist
<p> "What is the spell for?" Miranda asked curiously, stepping close beside him to squeeze through the first ring of trees. She didn't know of any goblin spells that used flowers unless they were crushed like herbs. <br> "Do you really want to know?" murmured the elf absently, looking up at the dark crowns of the ancient oaks. <br> "Yes," she said. She had always liked magic. He glanced back down at her then. <br> "It's for you," he said. And the instant they passed the great trunks, his hand closed over her wrist. </p> <p> The powerful final volume of the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy </p> <p>Miranda has waited her whole life to come home to the goblin kingdom, but she never imagined she'd feel so alone there. Her beloved Marak, the center of her world since childhood, has reached the end of his reign.</p> <p>But Marak didn't raise a coward. Miranda needs all her courage when a mysterious elf lord takes her prisoner, reigniting an age-old battle. Caught between two hostile races, she becomes their greatest reason for war--and their only hope for a future.</p> <p>In this final volume of the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, Clare B. Dunkle draws readers deep into her magical realm for one last incredible story.</p>
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