The Greatest Kingdom (A Clock of Stars, Book 3)

The Greatest Kingdom (A Clock of Stars, Book 3)

By Author / Illustrator

Francesca Gibbons, Chris Riddell



Age range(s)



HarperCollins Publishers




Paperback / softback




The thrilling third volume in the bestselling middle-grade trilogy, beautifully illustrated throughout by Chris Riddell.

Step through the door in the tree and into another breathtaking adventure. . .   When Anneshka's hunt for the greatest kingdom brings her into our world, Imogen and Marie know it's bad news. But Anneshka isn't their only problem. Mum's boyfriend, Mark, is sick and getting sicker, thanks to the monsters he accidentally carried home.

Can the girls escape Anneshka and find a cure for Mark before it's too late? Their quest will take them through the door in the tree and further than ever before, into the magical lands of Nedobyt beyond.  But there is more to this kingdom than meets the eye. Miro, Imogen and Marie must learn its secrets if they're to save their families - and stop Anneshka once and for all. . .



In this final part of the A Clock of Stars trilogy, Imogen and Marie face their greatest challenges to date as they once again journey through the door in the tree. Anneshka's search for 'the greatest kingdom' has brought her into the world of humans and the girls' step-father, Mark, is dangerously ill. Joined by their mother, the sisters set off on a quest to the library of Nedobyt, evading Anneshka, in search of a cure.

This series has been compelling reading from the outset and the final instalment, The Greatest Kingdom, is no exception. Meticulous world-building, engaging characters and Chris Riddell's stunning illustrations combine to make each book completely absorbing. The contrast between 'our' world and that 'world of autumn light' through the door in the tree is vividly captured, offering a sense of the magic and wonder to be found.  The library of Nedobyt is incredible, but I very much agree with the children's local librarian 'who would have been raging if she had seen books treated like this'!

As Imogen, Marie and their mother head for Nedobyt, Miro, Kazimira and Konya, the giant cat, are also journeying there, encountering new places and new creatures, each carefully developed and described. Each character is full of life, offering a feeling of familiarity with old friends as the story begins. But there is plenty of character growth and development as new challenges are faced as the story builds towards its satisfying conclusion.

This is a world that feels like it has many more stories to share and readers can only hope that Francesca Gibbons will treat us to these!

512 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


In The Greatest Kingdom, the final instalment in the A Clock of Stars trilogy, Imogen and Marie once again return to the magical kingdom, this time with their mother. They are on a lifesaving quest and time is running out. As well as this, they are pursued by Anneshka, who has found a way of travelling from the magical realm into our world. She is still searching for the way to be queen of the greatest kingdom and believes Marie will be the key to her success.

Many of the previous characters make a reappearance, including Prince Miro and Princess Kazimira, and the villain Anneshka is just as evil as she was before. In this story we get to see more of the magical world and meet many more of its inhabitants and places. The stakes are even higher and the Clock of Stars itself takes centre stage once more.

This series has been most notable for the worldbuilding Francesca Gibbons creates. There is something very vivid about the realm Imogen and Marie travel to and for me, this is what makes the series so interesting. The adventure is tense and exciting but the places are what sticks in my mind. Nedobyt, the city Miro's family have come from, for example, is easily pictured and the great marshlands stretch away into my imagination. Of course, once again Chris Riddell's illustrations are wonderful, in fact I would have liked a few more, being a fan of illustrations in general and Chris Riddell in particular.  The opening pages with all the characters in his instantly recognisable style, are a highlight.

Whilst this is the final book of the trilogy, I can't help feeling that Francesca Gibbons may be drawn back to her enchanting world at a later date. After all, it would be a shame to waste an opportunity to re-enter such a spectacular place.

512 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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