|Beyond the Kingdoms|
|Original title||The Land Of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms|
|Cover Artist||Brandon Dorman / David Gilson (FR)|
|Publisher||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
|Release date||7 July 2015|
|Genre||fantasy, children's literature|
|Preceded by||A Grimm Warning|
|Followed by||An Author's Odyssey|
The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms is the fourth children's fiction novel in The Land of Stories series written by Chris Colfer. The book was published on July 7th by Little, Brown and Company (a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.), New York.
Click here for a preview from TLOS 4 (chapter 1) on the official website: http://thelandofstories.com/book-four-preview
The Prologue and chapter 1 can be read with Apple devices via iTunes here.
Publisher's Summary & Jacket Interior Summary
Publisher's Summary : "The Masked Man posesses a powerful magic potion that turns every book it touches into a portal, and he is recruiting an army of literature's greatest villains! So begins a race through the magical Land of Oz, the fantastical world of Neverland, the madness of Wonderland, and beyond. Can twins Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man?"
Jacket Interior Summary : "Fairy tales are just the beginning.
The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it's up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him...except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they're in danger.
With only the help of the ragtag group of Goldilocks, Jack, Red Riding Hood, and Mother Goose and her gander, Lester, the Bailey twins discover the Masked Man's secret scheme: He possesses a powerful magic potion that turns every book it touches into a portal, and he is recruiting an army of literature's greatest villains!
So begins a race through the magical Land of Oz, the fantastical world of Neverland, the madness of Wonderland, and beyond. Can Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man, or will they be one step behind until it's too late?
Fairy tales and classic stories collide in the fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms!"
Dedications, Literary Quotes & Acknowledgements
Dedication: To my parents, for always loving and supporting me. There wasn't a parenting book in the world that could have prepared you for my eccentricity. I'm sorry for denting the coffee table with my ninja swords. Yes, it was me.
Epigraph: "Books are a uniquely portable magic." -Stephen King.
Acknowledgements: A big thank you to Rob Weisbach, Alla Plotkin, Rachel Karten, Derek Kroeger, Glenn Rigberg, Lorrie Bartlett, Meredith Wechter, Joanne Wiles, Meredith Fine, Christian Hodell, Marcus Colen, Jerry Maybrook, and Heather Manzutto. Everyone at Little, Brown, especially Alvina Ling, Bethany Strout, Melanie Chang, Nikki Garcia, Megan Tingley, and Andrew Smith.
All my friends and family: Will, Ashley, Pam, Jamie, Fortune, June, Jen, Melissa, Babs, Char, Charles, Dot, and Bridgette, Romy and Stephen, Rick and Gale, Frank and Jo, Roberto, Gloria, Jannel, Kelly, Jenny, McCoy, Maureen, Kevin, Lexi, Lita, Paris...the list goes on! I couldn't do it without your support!
I'd like to give a special thanks to the incredible Brandon Dorman for bringing my stories to life. Four books later, your artwork continues to amaze me.
Also, to the main inspiration behind Mother Goose, my dear friend Polly Bergen. Thank you for sharing your stories and your humor, and leaving such an impact on me. I will miss you greatly.
Plot by Chapter
Prologue: The Other Son
1845: Hans Christian Andersen goes for a walk to gather inspiration for his next story, and meets with his old friend the Fairy Godmother. As they talk, the Fairy Godmother is the one getting inspired instead - after telling Hans about her problems with her youngest son Llyod, she decides to try and make a potion that will allow him to travel into the books he loves so much. When it's finished, Llyod doesn't want to try it. Devastated, the Fairy Godmother goes to the Hall of Dreams to learn what her son's dream is, and finds out he means to destroy the kingdoms.
Chapter One: The Witches' Brew
At their monthly meet in Dead Man's Creek, the witches from the Dwarf Forests are unsure what to do: 24 children from two kingdoms have been kidnapped and the witches think that the world will blame them and start a witch hunt. Then the Masked Man comes in with soldiers from the Grande Armée and tries to convice them to fight with him. Goldilocks, Jack, Red, the Third Little Pig, Froggy, Alex and Conner interrupt them and try to seize the Masked Man, but when Alex' powers get the better of her, he vanishes.
Chapter Two: "Do You Accept The Charges?"
Bree calls Emmerich and tells him that she has been plotting a way back into the fairy-tale world through Neuschwanstein castle. Emmerich reminds her that they don't have magic in their blood so they can't play the panpipe that opens the portal. Bree reveals her theory that they might be descendants of Wilhelm Grimm, because they weren't stuck in the portal for 200 years like the Grande Armée. Bree tells him that she is going to do some research on her family tree. After she hangs up, Bree is caught by Mindy, Lindy, Wendy, and Cindy, the new hallmonitors (and conspiracy fans) of the school. The girls let Bree off the hook for talking on her phone at school if Bree tells them where the Bailey twins really are. Bree agrees to tell them, but doesn't say when, and leaves them frustrated.
Chapter Three: The Ungodmothering
After a firm scolding from his mom for not contacting her sooner, Conner walks into a heated conversation between the Fairy Council and Alex. The fairies think that Alex should stop looking for the Masked Man. She says she believes she saw her dad, but the fairies think that she was just delirious, having just lost her grandmother. They ask Conner if he thinks that his sister is speaking the truth. Conner feels conflicted about not supporting his sister, but admits he thinks that Alex might have just been seeing things. Alex is mad at her brother and more determined than ever to find the Masked Man and prove to them that she is right. The Council believes Alex no longer has the interests of the Happily Forever After Assembly in mind and decides to "un-godmother" her. Alex loses control of her magic, shooting lightning bolts at the council before vanishing. Afraid that Alex might turn into the next Enchantress, the Council makes it their priority to stop her.
Chapter Four: Goose on the Lam
Alex' rage has brought her to the Giant's castle, where she finds Mother Goose and Lester. Mother Goose says she's been taking a break from the world, but when she hears Alex' story, she promises to help her.
Chapter Five: Potions and Predictions
Three women visit the "beauty witch", Morina, who sells them potions to make them beautiful. She reveals how she used to be ugly herself but made herself beautiful with magic, and that she was the one supplying the Evil Queen with potions to preserve her youth. The Masked Man appears and asks for her help. At first she refuses, but when she learns of his plans and uses her crystal ball to look into the future, she agrees to help him.
Chapter Six: The Bad Fairies
Conner and his friends go back to Dead Man's Creek to look for clues on how to find the Masked Man (and thereby, Alex). Trix and two other fairies bring them a book they took from the Fairy Palace; it's the Fairy Godmother's journal, which holds details about her potion experiments and the final recipe for the Portal Potion. At the creek, they find two dead bodies that look drained of all life.
Chapter Seven: Answers in the Attic
During the chores Bree is doing as part of her punishment for running away with Conner, she finds an old chest with things of her grandmother's, including a letter from her cousin Cornelia Grimm. This strengthens her theory that she is related to the Brothers Grimm, and she makes up her mind to visit Cornelia in Conneticut to find out.
Chapter Eight: The Only Objection
Red and Froggy's wedding day has arrived and Red is freaking out. As she is about to lose it over her dress, Alex turns up and improves it with magic. She isn't sure about attending the wedding, but Red has planned ahead and arranged for a secret hiding place from which she can see the ceremony. Conner suddenly realizes he has forgotten the rings and runs back to get them, but when he isn't back in time, Alex makes two rings appear. Her magic is noticed by Emerelda and Alex quickly flees. Just before Red and Froggy are wed, Morina arrives and threatens to harm Red unless Froggy comes with her. He sees no other way but to do so, leaving Red at the altar. Meanwhile, Conner was knocked out by the Masked Man -no longer masked- while the latter was stealing books from Froggy's library, and now Conner also believes he is their father.
Chapter Nine: A Moth of Memories
A magical moth sent by the Fairy Godmother visits Alex and takes her to see a memory of when the Fairy Godmother killed the magic inside her son Llyod. Alex realises the Masked Man is not her father.
Chapter Ten: Making Amends
Alex meets Cornelius and Rook in the forest. They have been following the Masked Man together and know of his secret hiding place in a cave. Alex finds out the Masked Man has already been traveling into books, and is in Oz as they speak. She hurries back to the Center Kingdom and tells Conner and her friends what she's learned. Mother Goose arrives and confirms her story, revealing that she knew about Lloyd all along but had sworn not to tell. They make a plan to follow and capture Lloyd to prove Alex was right and reinstate her in the Council.
Chapter Eleven: The Cave
Hagetta stays behind in the cave while the others travel into the land of Oz.
Chapter Twelve: The Cyclone
They arrive in L. Frank Baum's version of Kansas and meet Dorothy, auntie Em and uncle Henry just before the cyclone hits. As the storm starts, they see Lloyd rushing towards the house as well, wanting to "hitch a ride" to Oz.
Chapter Thirteen: The Tin Woodman
The friends land on top of the Tin Woodman, and ask for his help. He agrees, thinking there will be a heart in it for him at the end of their adventure. They take the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City.
Chapter Fourteen: Trouble on the Yellow Brick Road
The group runs into a pack of Kalidahs and have to fight for their lives. Alex gets ready to use her magic, but the Kalidahs suddenly run off and they realize they have entered the Field of Deadly Poppies. One by one they fall into a deep sleep (all except the Tin Woodman, who is immune to the fumes).
Chapter Fifteen: The Witch's Castle
When they wake, it turns out the Tin Woodman has saved all of them with the help of the field mice. They have been unconscious for two days and lost their head start over Lloyd. They hurry past the Emerald City onto Winkie Country expecting to face the Wicked Witch of the West, but the place is deserted. Llyod has already recruited her, the flying monkeys and her other creatures. One tiny monkey is left behind and tells them how they all disappeared into the next book: Peter Pan. Jack and Goldilocks stay behind in Oz to guard the book and the others go into Neverland.
Chapter Sixteen: Ditching the Darlings
In fictional London, Alex, Conner and the others find Peter Pan, who is looking for Tinker Bell. They quickly gather that Lloyd kidnapped her as bait for Peter, in order to get Captain Hook to cooperate with him. Peter joins them in their quest and helps them fly to Neverland.
Chapter Seventeen: Adventures with the Lost Boys
They arrive in Neverland and meet the Lost Boys. They go to Pirates Bay to find Lloyd and get there just in time to see Captain Hook's entire ship full of pirates disappear into the next book. Llyod jumps after them and drops the book into the ocean, weighted down by a chain so it sinks.
Chapter Eighteen: Mermaid Lagoon
Peter leads them to the Mermaids, with whom Alex and Conner negotiate a trade. They will get the book for them if the Lost Boys stop fishing in their waters. The book is Alice in Wonderland. Red is chosen to stay on in Neverland to guard the book (and function as a temporary mother to the Lost Boys, who are delighted - Red is less enthusiastic).
Chapter Nineteen: Down the Rabbit Hole
Alex, Conner, Mother Goose, Lester, the Tin Woodman and Peter Pan travel into C.S. Lewis' English countryside and follow the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole. Peter saves them from drinking the "shrinking potion" from Alice's story, which turns out to be poison left by Lloyd. They meet the caterpillar, and Mother Goose connects with him on a spiritual level to find out where they have to go. The Castle of Hearts looks deserted, and they think Llyod must have already gone back to the Land of Stories. They prepare to pick up the others and go back, splitting up into two groups. Alex, Mother Goose and Lester go ahead while Conner, the Tin Woodman and Peter plan to return to the other books to gather their friends. But the empty castle is a ruse, and Alex and her friends have been tricked into going into the wrong book. Llyod has Conner and the others thrown into another book as well, then destroys both books. With no books to return to, it seems they are trapped as Llyod prepares to make one more stop to complete his army.
Chapter Twenty: The Storybook Grill
Bree ponders ways to find out her hertitage as she has a drink in the Storybook Grill (run by Lady Iris, Petunia and Rosemary). Bree ends up telling Lady Iris about her problems and gets some good advice as well as a tip- she could sneak onto a delivery truck from the diner, which leaves for Conneticut that Friday.
Chapter Twenty-One: The Wizard and his Apprentice
Alex and Mother Goose soon find out they are not in the Land of Stories. Mother Goose takes Lester into the sky to investigate, and Alex meanwhile meets a charming young man fighting a bear. Mother Goose returns and traps the bear, only to find out that it is actually Merlin and the young man is Arthur. They tell their story and both Alex and Arthur, and Mother Goose and Merlin get along very well. Alex finds a loose page from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in her pocket, which means they can travel back if she can make the Portal Potion.
Chapter Twenty-Two: The Merry Men of Sherwood Forest
Conner, the Tin Woodsman and Peter Pan have been dropped into the story of Robin Hood. The medieval hero turns out to have quite the ego (as well as a very loud voice) and he immediately assumes Conner and his friends are sent by the Sheriff of Nottingham and captures them. He changes his mind when the Sheriff and his men attack and Conner and his friends are the ones to chase them away by pretending they are ghosts. Robin is now convinced Conner is a sorcerer and wants to help him in his quest - Conner also has a few loose pages from the Wizard of Oz book in his pockets and has come to the same conclusion as his sister; they have to recreate the Portal Potion.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Lost Advice
Red is having a better time than expected with her temporary sons, and when she tells them a bedtime story that is obviously her own tragic tale, the Lost Boys give her some startling outsider opinions and Red realises she must go and search for Froggy herself. She takes the boys with her through the Oz book and back to the Land of Stories, and makes her way to Morina.
Chapter Twenty-Four: The Lady of the Lake
When Alex and Arthur gather an ingredient for the potion by the water of the Lady of the Lake, they let slip that they know Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake traps them on her island in order to get back with Merlin, with whom she has a past. Mother Goose saves all of them. The potion takes two weeks to make, and Alex and Arthur use this time to get very well acquainted.
Chapter Twenty-Five: The Witch of Papplenick
The Merry Men aren't very helpful in finding the potion's ingredients, and Conner has to give Robin Hood a few romancing tips before he is able to woo Maid Marian and provide a 'lock and key of a loved one'. Conner breaks into Nottingham Castle to seek out the resident witch for the 'spark of magic' that the potion needs, but she turns out to be a apothecary without actual magic. Conner's friends suggest that Conner does the magic himself, but he'd rather try and find someone else to do it instead.
Chapter Twenty-Six: The Basement
Red and the Lost Boys find Morina's house and see Morina dump two coffins into the river before leaving by boat. Red and the boys sneak into the house. In the basement, they find 22 of the missing children, slowly being drained of their youth and life force. The other 2 missing children have already died. They also find Froggy, imprisoned inside a magic mirror. He says the mirror is irriversible and there is nothing they can do.
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Sisters Grimm
Bree sneaks into the truck to Conneticut like Lady Iris advised, and finds the house of Cornelia Grimm. They turn out to be related, just as she suspected. Cornelia and the other women living in the house know about the Land of Stories, the Fairy Godmother and the Grande Armée. They call themselves the Sisters Grimm and monitor magic occurrences in their world. As it turns out, the Fairy Godmother was not the only one who was able to create portals to the Otherworld after all- portals used to open on their own for a few seconds in regular intervals each month. The Sisterhood charted when and where this happened and by the charts were able to predict the next occurences. They would travel there and guard the portal to prevent harm coming to anyone and to help people or creatures get back to the Land of Stories if they accidentally came through. The occurences stopped when Alex and Conner were born and the worlds started moving at the same speed. The Sisterhood predicts that the next portal will open for a much longer time, in New York city, within the coming six months. When Bree calls Emmerich to tell him about all of this, she finds out Emmerich has been kidnapped.
Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Unexpected Good-bye
As the two weeks are nearly over, Mother Goose announces that she wants to stay with Merlin. Alex had been secretely thinking about staying with Arthur too, but knows she has to get back. They say a tough goodbye. Conner has been unable to find someone else to do the magic for him, so he finally steps up and does it himself.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Another Moon, Another Midnight
Morina comes to the witches at their monthly meeting and explains to them that there is a way to travel to the Otherworld, and that the witches could be very powerful there. Morina has kidnapped Emmerich, Little Bo Peep and Llyod's lost son, to prevent him from interfering with them. The Snow Queen and the Sea Witch arrive and explain they have been planning to use Alex as a weapon in the Otherworld, and in order to do so, have put her under a curse that has been causing her to lose control of her magic. Because Alex is so powerful, the curse has been fading, but they explain that the other witches could all join forces and strengthen the curse to make it work.
Chapter Thirty: A World At Stake
Alex and Conner find each other again in the World of Oz and exchange stories. They find the storybook Red used to travel back and also use it, meeting up with everyone in the Land of Stories. Jack and Goldilocks tell them how Lloyd has started attacking the Land of Stories with his literary villains, attacking each kingdom at the same time. Still weakened from the attacks by the Grande Armée, the kingdoms' armies are losing. Pirates kidnapped King Chandler and Queen Snow White. Llyods also freed his former accomplices from Pinocchio Prison again. Alex takes everyone back to the Fairy Palace by magic, but the palace has been destroyed. The Council has been turned into stone. After seeing that the South Tower of the Palace is still standing, Conner has an idea. He suggests they'll use the portal to travel to the Otherworld and recruit their own army to fight back, going into the stories he wrote.
Praise for the Land of Stories Series:
"It will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise." (The New York Times Book Review).
"It's hard not to love [the book]...Colfer gets off many good lines [and] the nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures." (Publishers Weekly).
"A magical debut." (Family Circle).
"Captivating." (Teen Vogue).
"In The Land of Stories, Colfer showcases his talent for crafting fancifully imaginative plots and multidimensional characters." (Los Angeles Times).
"There's more in Colfer's magic kingdoms than Disney has dreamt of." (USA Today).
Foreign language editions