It took me five days to read this, because it was like eating fudge. Godiva fudge, if there is such a thing. So rich, and so amazing that I could only read a little at a time. I'm afraid I can't do the plot justice after only one reading, but The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica is the most wonderful fantasy series I've come across recently.
John, Jack and Charles are a few years older, and concerned that Rose Dyson, who isn't aging, is in danger. When they try to take her somewhere safe, they get taken seven years into the future. World War II is brewing, as a result of all of the machinations of the Shadow King in the archipelago. The Keep of Time is crumbling, and the group saves Don Quixote and take him with them to Tamerlane House, where all of the Caretakers Emeriti "live" on in portraits. An astonishing number of literary characters are brought to life, and we find out all about how sucessful or unsuccessful many of them were. In the end, Arthur's sword Caliburn is restored (at great price) and the Red King is destroyed-- at least for the time being. There are sequels rumored to be in the offing.
I cried at the end. I wondered about Kipling being evil, and sure enough, his personal tragedy with his son is discussed. There really needs to be a companion volume to these listing all the real people with biographies, and a bibliography of the fictional characters. This is a perfect book for the students who are well on their way to memorizing elvish runes and need a challenge. These can all be read without understanding its vast literary heritage, but is better if one does.
Here are some reviews that do a better job with describing the plot:
Becky's Book Reviews
The Writer's Notebook