Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Crown of Dalemark (The Dalemark Quartet, #4)” as Want to Read:
The Crown of Dalemark (The Dalemark Quartet, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Crown of Dalemark (The Dalemark Quartet #4)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  3,249 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Mitt has fled from the South, but finds that North Dalemark is just as full of spies and tyrants. And now he is trapped by an order to kill Noreth - a young girl who has proclaimed herself the heir to the crown of Dalemark. If he doesn't murder her, he risks the lives of his friends. This work is written by a winner of Guardian award for fiction.
Paperback, 346 pages
Published 2003 by Oxford University Press (first published 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Crown of Dalemark, please sign up.

Recent Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

This is a long ‘un, folks.

Let me begin this with a confession: I am rating this book more by nostalgia than truth. It’s a horrible choice, I know. It inflates the rating and gives first-time readers a false impression. But, frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn.

I read the Dalemark Quartet when I was in my early teens, and I ADORED them with every fiber of my sheltered, book-obsessed being. I re-read them three or four times in that year alone. But oh, how the mighty have fallen! Why, OH WHY did
Jan 21, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Narrated in the first chapter by Mitt, this at first seems like a continuance of Drowned Ammet, but then it continues into Maewen's fish-out-of-water tale, which is a great way to end this series.

One of the great fun of reading series, I always think, is finding out what has become of the characters you grew to know and love in previous books. Even as I become attached to new characters -- such as Maewen (and, surprisingly, Navis, who is not new but gets more narrative time in this book) -- I li
Nov 30, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it
Finally got round to reading the last Dalemark book, and I don't regret it. It is very characteristically Diana Wynne Jones, but it's also the fourth book of a quartet, which I don't recall happening very much at all with Jones' other work -- so the gap before I read it wasn't a good idea. It took me some time to get back into it.

But when I did, I had a lot of fun. Jones' work often makes me feel a bit stupid because her characters seem to know what she's doing a lot better than I do and underst
katayoun Masoodi
Dec 21, 2014 katayoun Masoodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
skipping spellcoats and reading this first, cause Beth said so!! :) and i need something good right now

read spellcoats first, which was a very good idea and thanks beth and katie. really, really liked alot of it, maybe just not the parts when the one got involved, the other undying i really liked, the one was too concrete and all powerful and not human this time.
all in all though really liked all four books in the series and super happy that i've read them, super sad that this is the last one.
Jul 08, 2008 Joy rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen, fantasy, british, 20c
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joanna Meyer
Jan 04, 2016 Joanna Meyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review of the series, taken from my blog:


The genius of these books is that the first three are set in the same world and reference the same landscapes and mythology, mostly centering around the god-like figures known as the Undying. CART AND CWIDDER and DROWNED AMMET are set in the same time but follow two completely different heroes. THE SPE
Aug 04, 2010 Punk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
YA Fantasy. When I picked this up, I was ready for Jones to show me that she did have a master plan, that here, in the last book, she would pull together all the loose threads and dish out some serious resolution, making up for the fact that each of the previous books ended about a chapter too soon.

That didn't happen.

I had to force myself to read this. It's slow and boring. The perspective is sloppy. Like the other three books, this one centers around a journey, but it's muddled. There's nothin
Huh. I said of a previous book in this series that I didn't really understand what DWJ was doing; having finished it, I'm not sure DWJ understood what DWJ was doing.

This was supposed to pull everything together. And it tried to, I think – structurally this series is supposed to be woven (like a story coat) with characters moving through time, taking each other's places, etc. etc. And it just . . . didn't. The threads swapped out too many times and I was never sure who I was supposed to be caring
WELL. That was an adventure.
While I haven't managed to put my Drowned Ammet feels down in writing yet, at the close of that book Mitt was one of my least favorite protagonists. Possibly ever. (Well. Second to Holden Caulfield.) It was so terrible that when I opened Crown of Dalemark and saw his POV, I almost wrote the book off as a lost cause. BUT THEN. Maewen appears like a glorious freckled breath of fresh air. Time travel is one of my most very favorite tropes in fiction, so as soon as I real
Simon Mcleish
Nov 25, 2016 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Don't do what I did the first time I read this book - that is, read it in isolation. It makes a lot more sense if you read the other books in the series first!
Jul 17, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, dwj
Finale volume | where past and present meet and, | maybe, all’s resolved.

Young Mitt is from South Dalemark, but when he escapes its politics and intrigues he finds that the North is equally dangerous because he is manoeuvred into an assassination attempt on a pretender to the crown of Dalemark. The plot also turns on a present-day girl, Maewen, who gets propelled into Dalemark’s past to play a role not of her own choosing, in a narrative that is reminiscent of the premise in Mark Twain’s The Pri
Paola (A Novel Idea)
Mar 15, 2013 Paola (A Novel Idea) rated it it was amazing
Originally posted at A Novel Idea Reviews

Rating: 5/5

Modern Dalemark has come a long way from the time of Tanaqui and The Spellcoats. It is now a bustling industrial nation, with north and south united for over 200 years. Maewen Singer, whose parents are divorced, is on her way to visit her father in Kernsburgh for the first time. As the train makes its way through the landscape of Dalemark, which has changed but still possesses the grandeur of ages past, Maewen has no idea what lies in store for
Sep 30, 2015 Claire rated it really liked it
It's taken me ten years to get into the Dalemark Quartet enough to finish it, but here I am, finally, at the end. I really enjoyed this book but some things bothered me about it which is why I downgraded my rating to 4 stars. It's a fun and engaging read with lots of tension and twists along the way. Like most Diana Wynne Jones books, I couldn't put it down, partly because I was desperate to know who ended up as King (though I had a suspicion, which turned out to be correct). I also wanted to kn ...more
Apr 03, 2011 Kaion rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
Fourteen years after The Spellcoats, Diana Wynne Jones finally ended the series with The Crown of Dalemark. She claimed it took her that long to conceptualize how she wanted to put all the pieces from the previous three standalones together, and unfortunately that struggle basically shows in the final product. For one, there’s simply too many characters to do all of them, or even most of them justice. Though thankfully Moril and Mitt remain central* to the story, it’s a bit of a case of anything ...more
Maureen E
Sep 02, 2008 Maureen E rated it it was amazing
The Crown of Dalemark really doesn't have a good cover, which is a pity.* This is the best I could do, and if I didn't know any better I would guess it was supposed to be for Cart and Cwidder. Bah.

The Crown of Dalemark is where all the disparate threads start to finally come together. Mitt, Moril, a new character named Maewen, Navis, Ynen, Kialan--all of a sudden they reappear and their stories combine.** Maewen comes from Dalemark's future, which looks suspiciously like our present. I love t
Jaz (Cloud Child )
Lord help me with these DWJ endings PLEASE. I'm starting to get used to them and learning to recognize the cliff but the doesn't mean I like them at all.
Damnit. I enjoyed this. But not as much as the 3rd book, which is by far the best if the series, most likely because of the first person voice. I did enjoy seeing how all the characters from all the previous books came together along with Maewen the new arrival 200 yyears from the future.

I cant give a proper review I just cant. This style of DW
Jun 09, 2010 Meredith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, teen-books
I knew it! It all came together in the end! Characters from all 3 previous novels returned and met up for the first time, and they all work together to unite Dalemark. This is definitely a series I would like to read again. Now that I know what happens, it would be interesting to see the clues and hints that lead up to the ending.

One thing I really liked: the glossary (appendix?) at the end. This would have been helpful to have in some of the earlier books, too, although it might have spoiled a
Deborah O'Carroll


Excuse me while I go around in a mind-blown haze of post-Diana-Wynne-Jones-book-ness for the next few days.

You don't know the meaning of mind-blown until you've read this series and finished reading The Crown of Dalemark.

In fact I need to read them all over again.

Like now.

No one had better expect me to be coherent for some time.

I can't word.

(Only slightly more coherent review from my top-reads-of-2014-blog-post)

This is my favorite book I read in 2014.

Ohhhhhh my goodness. I CANNO
Nicholas Whyte
Aug 05, 2012 Nicholas Whyte rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, xi, 2013, b12, 1308[return][return]I had not realised that this is actually the fourth and final novel in a sequence of which I had read only the third, and that more than thirty years ago, so I found myself struggling a bit with events which were carried over from the previous volume. But it is certainly enjuoyable on its own, and I suspect is a good climax to the whole sequence of novels - our heroine, Maewen, is snatched two hundred years back in time to find herself pl ...more
Enjoyed the journey. Our POV characters all resist the call to adventure; accept it, meet all matter of threshold guardians, are helped or hindered by the not-gods that populate this world, and meet the (metaphorical) father who gives one a crown. On the way there are rings and crowns and swords that are got by not-entirely heroic means. Also, time travel, a bomb, and inchoate trains.

But the conclusion was a wee bit flat and I'm a little grumpy that the crowned head was in fact to the manor bor
What I love about Diana Wynne Jones's work in general is a) though she writes primarily for children, her writing style is sophisticated enough that I still truly enjoy delving into her prose and b) there's always some new facet of the story that I didn't get before. Her plots are usually quite intricate, and it's a lot of fun figuring out the puzzle for yourself. She drops allusions to previous books and characters with just the right amount of subtlety: you get it, but it requires enough thoug ...more
Jul 20, 2010 Maddi rated it liked it
I have to say, this wrap-up to an otherwise amazing quartet left me lukewarm. Not that it wasn't good, or even great, just that I expect more from the mostly-perfect Diana Wynne Jones. Still, I'm not disappointed I read the quartet, and I would highly recommend it. It's darker and more mature than the Chrestomanci or Moving Castle series, which pleased me as a lifelong reader of her work but it might be too much for newer (younger) fans.
Jul 14, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-kid-lit
Ties up the other three Dalemark books nicely, but brings something of its own as well. I didn't want it to end.
Apr 22, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
A perennial favorite from my younger years, and it has held up well! Jones is the master of moving plot along through character development-- far too often, fantasy relies on the reverse.
May 14, 2015 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One word. MITT.
Jan 24, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: sffantasy, ya
I really like how she manages her world-building so that the reader knows more about certain things than the characters, but there's more at the edges that we don't know. It's a neat trick.
Brandy Painter
Feb 17, 2011 Brandy Painter rated it it was amazing
My review of all four Dalemark books can be found here.
Levi Amichai
I saw this in the used bookstore near my work, and thought "yes, I *do* want to reread that for a dollar." It's been a long time since I last read the Dalemark books so things came back to me slowly and piecemeal in that pleasurable way.

I have Thoughts about the Adon's gifts as they relate to the tarot and the plot events surrounding:

Ring/pentacles/earth, money and career: (view spoiler)

Cup/cups/water, relationships and emotions:
Kiwi Carlisle
Feb 13, 2017 Kiwi Carlisle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This book is exciting and thoughtful, with action that somehow keeps happening after the book is finished. There's also a terrific Guide to Dalemark at the end that's quite illuminating about all four books.
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this last book, many of the elements of ‘The Spellcoats' become more clear, as it is shown that many of the characters and gods mentioned in that story have become part of Dalemark's mythology and legends – it explains why it was decided to print it there, out of chronological order!
Here, Maewen, a young girl from ‘modern' Dalemark is convinced/tricked to go 200 years back in time and impersonate a young woman who has disappeared – but who was convinced that gods spoke to her and that she was
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Bridle the Wind (Felix Brooke, #2)
  • Les ailes du destin (Les 12 Royaumes, #5)
  • Book of Enchantments
  • The Dragonslayers Apprentice
  • Wizard's Hall
  • The Changeover
  • More Minds (Minds, #2)
  • Courting Magic (Kat, Incorrigible, #3.5)
  • Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • The Dream-Maker's Magic (Safe-Keepers, #3)
  • Song Quest (The Echorium Sequence, #1)
  • The Hidden Land (The Secret Country, #2)
  • Owl in Love
  • The Folk of the Air
  • A College of Magics (A College of Magics, #1)
  • The Sunbird (The Lion Hunters, #3)
Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see
More about Diana Wynne Jones...

Other Books in the Series

The Dalemark Quartet (4 books)
  • Cart and Cwidder (The Dalemark Quartet, #1)
  • Drowned Ammet (The Dalemark Quartet, #2)
  • The Spellcoats (The Dalemark Quartet, #3)

Share This Book

“Funny the way it was never enough to swear and promise just the once. You seemed to have to rethink and repromise every time the subject came up.” 4 likes
More quotes…