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The Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan Books In Order

Publication Order of Cycle Of Oak, Yew, Ash and Rowan Books

To the King a Daughter (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Knight or Knave (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Crown Disowned (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dragon Blade (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Knight of the Red Beard (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

One of the early pioneers of the Young Adult science-fiction and fantasy genre, Alice Mary Norton was an American writer who really paved the way in her field. Later becoming Andre Alice in 1934 after legally changing her name, she would soon become Andre Norton, the world famous author. Changing the shape of the field for years to come, she would leave behind a legacy that is still respected to this day, along with a number of much loved series too. A series that she would become particularly famous for would be that of her much loved novels ‘The Cycle of the Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan’ novels. This would, in time, become a benchmark for the Young Adult fantasy genre, setting the template for many years to come. It would also create a world that was unlimited in scope and scale, setting up an imaginary kingdom filled with bright and colourful characters.

Running for a total of five books, its entire run would last from 2000 to 2008, lasting for all of eight years. With its timeless quality and universal appeal, it would see young readers from all over the world drawn into its rich landscape. Setting up a franchise that continues to attract readers to this very day, it has a legacy that will continue to live on into the foreseeable future.

To The King a Daughter

Set in a fantastical world, this takes the genre and does something new with it, setting up an imaginative and rich landscape. Using many of the ideas and themes prevalent in the world of fantasy, it uses them to reflect some very real and very human ideas and philosophies. Not only that, but it essentially creates a very real coming-of-age story set against this somewhat larger than life backdrop. With a strong female lead at the centre of its story, this sees a character who is resourceful and intelligent driving the action. Dealing with the weight of her destiny and birthright, she must not succumb to the pressure, keeping her head above water. The other characters surrounding her also brilliantly reflect this as well, allowing her to become the woman she is truly destined to be. In regards to the world-building as well, it is expertly managed, creating a tone that really fits the overall arc that’s to follow. Establishing a general sense of ambiance too, it manages to allow the reader to feel as if they’re really a part of the action itself. This is something that is also built upon in the following books to come, creating a vast world that is fully three-dimensional, setting the reader up with a sense of escapism that enables them to lose their-selves within the narrative.

With four powers continually at war, it seems that the world is constantly in a state of turmoil ever since the cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan begun. It is the Clan of Ash, though, that is slowly beginning to die, as the totem tree within their main sacred square withered away to almost nothing. Not only that, but the prophecy that a daughter of Ash will rise to ascendancy is rendered unfillable as they constantly keep getting killed. Will a girl hidden out in the swamps prove to be the key to this though? Can her witch-healer guardian protect and guide her? What will become of her birthright from to the king a daughter?

Knight or Knave

A sequel to the first and a highly charged return to form that really manages to bring the series to life. Carrying on directly it spins the series in a whole new set of directions. Breaking up the characters too, it really brings the whole franchise into a world of its own.

Returning to its fantastical roots, this manages to revisit many of the ideas and themes that came before in the previous story. With the times changing from the previous novel, this makes massive advancements from the former books narrative. Moving on it manages to also broaden the scope of the series, whilst also developing the many ideas contained within it. With an ever wider cast of characters this time, the scope of the series opens out, allowing it to become even deeper than before. This takes the story to a whole new level, creating relationships and personalities that really compliment the narrative itself. Juxtaposed against the backdrop, this colourful cast of characters manage to reflect the themes of the story, with many of them being brought over from the first. The world itself is also broadened as well, as Norton spares no expense when taking the reader on a journey throughout the kingdom. With a clear sense of imagination, the scale of the world is huge, with all the details really elaborated upon throughout too. Becoming a character in of its own right almost, the world that it is set within really becomes iconic to the series as the books progress.

Taking place within the fantastical lands of Rendelsham, this sees the foolish and young Prince Florian assuming the throne after the death of the former king. Behind the scenes Queen Ysa from the House of Oak is supposedly controlling things, but her son Florian is proving to be more difficult than his father ever was. Headstrong and reckless, there’s a lot more at stake, as the new magical allies of Ysa have proven themselves to be traitors. How will they deal with the threat from the north? Can the four houses of Rendelsham unify? Who will prosper; knight of knave?

The Cycle of the Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan Series

A vast and imaginative series, it really manages to deliver, something which goes some way towards explaining its timeless quality. Firmly knowing the world that it’s set within, it creates a landscape that draws the young readers in and makes sure to hold them there. With an enduring legacy that lives on to this day, its status as one of the benchmarks of its genre will live on for many years to come.

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