Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones

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Year of the Griffin Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Year of the Griffin is a sequel to the humorous Dark Lord of Derkholm, which depicts a fantastic world devastated for forty years by tourists from another universe. In the sequel, which begins eight years later, Jones spoofs higher education by exploring fallen standards and power plays at poverty- stricken Wizards' University.

Jones depicts the rollicking adventures of six first-year students enrolled at the university, among them the griffin Elda of Dark Lord of Derkholm. The students are enrolled without the knowledge of disapproving family members or hostile factions back home. When the university head sends out fund-raising letters that reveal their whereabouts, the students can hide no longer. Among the first threatening forces to arrive are bands of assassins, and then troublesome university tutors compound the problem.

As they cope with difficult situations, including a climactic moonshot, the students undergo processes of self-realization and growth. They learn that they can combine their powers to thwart oppression and bring wholesome change.