Joan’s Books


You will find all her books in different groups with roll over tags so you can find what YOU like!

Books Page

From the age of five until her eightieth year Joan wrote stories. Whether you like myths, magic, fantasy history, adventure or romances there are stories here for everyone!

Come to the  BOOKS PAGE  of the Joan Aiken Website and start exploring…

or the full BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGE  where all the books are listed alphabetically, chronologically or in Book Groups

Happy Reading!

Interesting  Reader thread below on The Wolves Chronicles and How to read them – in historical order? All thoughts welcome…many mysteries here!

16 thoughts on “Joan’s Books

  1. I read my first Joan Aiken book at the end of last year (at the age of 54). The Wolves of Willoughby Chase led on to the next books in the series (I have now bought the whole series but haven’t yet read them all). I don’t know why I didn’t come across them and read them earlier because I was familiar with the name of “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase”.

    I have chosen to read them in the order they were written rather than according to the chronology of the story lines. I don’t know whether that will make any difference.



      Interesting! There isn’t a short answer I’m afraid…

      There were only three written out of chronological order.
      The first of these, The Whispering Mountain should be seen as a prequel to the whole series, because it concerns the young Prince of Wales ( Davie Jamie Charlie Neddie Geordie Harry Dick Tudor Stuart! ) the son of James III, who becomes Richard IV at the end of The Cuckoo Tree. This was actually the next book in the series that Joan wrote, but the earlier book also mentions a baby son by Davie’s first marriage, the next Davie Prince of Wales, who has to be fifteen by the time we get to ‘Is’ and ‘Cold Shoulder Road’ so the action of the previous book has to have taken place much earlier. However the style of The Whispering Mountain also fits the early period of the sequence, although written later than, for instance ‘Wolves’, as it is actually more 18th than 19th century in style, like the hero Owen’s wonderful little book of knowledge.

      (The two ‘IS’ books mentioned above were written in sequence and benefit from being read in order, as they do play a part in the historical timeline of the collapsing kingdom.)

      Dido’s two extra adventures at sea – The Stolen Lake and Limbo Lodge (also known in the US as Dangerous Games) were written later, and are perhaps more mature in style, but chronologically fit in before Dido’s return to England for Richard’s coronation. They can be read as separate adventures, as they don’t contribute structurally to the historical background, but do add enormously to our respect for Dido and go some way to explain her extraordinary character development!

      I have laid them out on the Website – The Wolves Chronicles – in chronological order because reading them in this way does add to the reader’s growing sense of the changing Kingdom, the darkening world, and to the characters own maturing and growing up process, but Joan also made sure that each book stood as a complete work on its own.

      Unfortunately she was less strict with herself about the historical consistencies – but that’s another story!


      • You and I have already had a little discussion about the Wolves chronology, Lizza, and it recently came up in a conversation between Lizzie Ross and myself ( You may be glad to know that I’ve decided to do a re-read of them all to check my notes, compose reviews and prepare a draft for a study guide. I’ll continue to pass them by you, of course, if you don’t mind!


      • Hi there, I missed this as it came up out of order (mysteriously…?) I would of course be absolutely delighted to hear the outcome of any of your researches – what a wonderful project you are setting yourself!  I keep thinking of a charming letter from a fan I quoted on Joan’s letters page – -‘So many books, so little time!’


  2. The situation is perhaps totally different, but my preference comes from reading Lewis’s Narnia series. I read them in the order that they were written (Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe first) and enjoyed the little insights revealed about that book in the later Magicians Nephew, where the reader found out about the origin of Narnia and things like the wardrobe and the lamppost from the first book.

    I have seen that recent sets of the Narnia books include The Magicians Nephew as book one in the series. I think reading that book first would spoil some of the joy and surprise of recognition when those origins are revealed within the story.

    But as I said, the situation with the “Wolves” series is perhaps totally different.


    • I know battle rages (though it’s never The Last Battle!) over what order to read them in. I did read the first two a while ago in publication order after watching a BBC adaptation, but more recently I read them all in chronological order (, and this is my current thinking on the dilemma.

      My feeling is that the books are best read — when you are younger — in publication order, so that the narratives pull your imagination along. When, as an older reader, you return to them, chronological order may be preferable, for two reasons. One is that you are no longer worried by spoilers (as given away by taking The Magician’s Nephew first). The other reason is that we as adults are more aware of historical context and have developed a timeline view of the past; whereas children have a more pick & mix view of the past, with millennia jumbled up as Prehistory (everything that happened before they were born or as far back as their personal memories stretch). For many British schoolkids (and, sadly, a fair proportion of adults) Vikings and Romans and Tudors and Anglo-Saxons are from some unimaginable Neverland, often reinforced by project-based learning (not that this is necessarily a bad thing). I recall a daytrip visitor to Stonehenge who, asked by her companion who built it, responded I dunno, the Vikings?, and though this was a few years back I suspect that such a lack of perspective is still prevalent today.

      As for the Dido books (yes I know, Dido isn’t in all of them) they could be read in any order — I thoroughly enjoyed The Stolen Lake as my introduction — though the last two or three titles make more sense when you’ve read some the earlier ones. When I go for a third reading I shall, however, be reading them chronologically. Even though I’m not convinced that The Whispering Mountain really is a prequel!


  3. So many books! So little time! It’s such a lovely quote, isn’t it? And I’ve seen it so many times I could almost swear that I said it first! But a little online research suggests that it’s a quote from Frank Zappa, though I don’t know if it’s something he wrote, part of an interview or even an extract from a song lyric.

    Other online discussion theorised that it’s a variation on “So much to do, so little time!” and attributed to the White Rabbit. I couldn’t put my finger on where it occurs in Carroll’s text, if indeed it does. Then I see that Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in the film of the same name says “So much time, and so little to see!” before correcting himself with “Strike that, reverse it.” Is that based on something Roald Dahl wrote or a contribution from a scriptwriter or Wilder himself?

    And then it gets more complicated. There’s a song sung by Louis Armstrong with the lyrics
    “There’s so little time and so much to do | There’s so little time for dreams to come true | Many a ship to sail, many a magic land | Many a moonlit trail, many a road to walk hand in hand.” The song’s called, appropriately, So Little Time (So Much to Do), and may be what the film is referencing. I’m utterly confused.

    Whatever its origins, that little phrase is one that assumes more urgency for me (and all our generation, I expect) with every passing moment.


  4. I LOVED “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” because I really like those kinds of books where bad guys get their comeuppance at the end and I really enjoyed it. Is “Dangerous Games” the sequel?


    • Hi Kaizie,
      Great to get your message – yes, I’m Joan Aiken’s daughter so I was lucky enough to be around when she was writing all the ‘Wolves’ books – there are twelve of them altogether, and you’ll find them all on this page of the website –
      Dangerous Games is a great one – but I’d recommend Black Hearts in Battersea next -Simon from the book you read meets a girl called Dido Twite and she turns up later in Dangerous Games and many of the others. I guess you are writing from somewhere in the USA? I hope you manage to find more Joan Aiken books to enjoy.
      Best wishes, Lizza


      • I guess I never got a notification, so I’m responding now. Thanks for replying 🙂 yes, I’m somewhere in the US. Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll look for Black Hearts in Battersea the next time I’m at the library. Feel free to ignore this question, I can always wing it on my own, but should I read Dangerous Games after Black Hearts and read the series in order from then on? Thank you for replying, sorry I didn’t get back sooner. I had a lot of growing up to do. ;P

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hello again, lovely to hear back from you! As you can see from other messages here, and from what Joan Aiken used to say herself, all her books should be able to stand alone. But Dido who first appears as a small ‘brat’ in Black Hearts also had quite a bit of growing up to do, and you would maybe enjoy sharing her journey! See if your library can get you Black Hearts in Battersea, and then maybe Night Birds on Nantucket – they are two of my favourites – then you can try any of the others and probably enjoy them more. Let me know? Happy reading …


  5. I was delighted to find Joan’s books now in ebook format. i had bought all of her books, hard cover ans paperback for my children. However now in my 70s with an inherited vision problem I can only read on ipad ir kindle in large dark print. when I discovered the books online I eagerly looked to buy and download only to find the price structure set far too high for each individual book. $10.99 for 300 pages is out of the question.

    I do however wish you well and may these lovely books uplift and entertain many young readers once again.


    • Thank you, that’s useful to know – I’ll certainly look into it. Joan’s books are available from several different publishers, and I’m sure they would wish to make them readily accessible. I love them too, and do all I can to pass them on!


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