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Seven Underground Kings, The

Volkov, Alexander
Vladimirski, Leonid
Soviet Russia Publishers

Volkov continued his Oz/Magic Land series with [SEVEN UNDER-GROUND KINGS], which many consider the best of his original stories. At the start of this book, Volkov relates the beginning of the Magic Land, how a great giant magician named Hurricap created a country in which all the animals could speak and surrounded it with a deadly desert and encircling mountains. This book takes place chiefly in a breakaway underground kingdom below Munchkin Land. At one point in the country’s history, it had seven legitimate kings who ruled alternately by months, each with his own set of courtiers and spies. A spring was discovered with soporific water (similar to the water of the Fountain of Oblivion) which put the drinker to sleep, and when the sleeper awoke, he (or she) had no memories of the past. The kings decided that each of them would sleep out the period of the other kings’ rule. Unfortunately the spring of soporific water became damaged, so that all of the kings came to be awake at the same time. Ellie, riding in a boat with her cousin Fred Canning, becomes trapped in the underground country, and the kings insist that she must stay until she uses her fairy magic (she is known as the Fairy of the House that Kills) to restore the spring. She is able to contact Strasheela, who brings some engineers to the underground kingdom; they repair the spring, all of the kings with their courts are put to sleep, but when they awaken, they are told that they are ordinary citizens, and the under-ground country becomes a republic. In the final chapter of this book, Ramina, Queen of the Field Mice, tells Ellie that she will never return to the Magic Land. (The first three books were made into a Russian ten-episode television puppet animated series.) (above information courtesy of Stephen J. Teller)

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