Jonathan Stroud HOME
The Background to
    The Last Siege

After the full-blooded fantasy of Buried Fire and the more ambiguous approach of The Leap, I wrote this novel, in which the only fantasies are in the mind of one of the protagonists. I tried to be as minimalist as possible here, using only three characters and the single location of the castle and its wintry grounds. In this it’s pretty much the opposite of The Amulet of Samarkand, which I was working on at the same time.

The castle, with its ruined outer walls and formidably intact keep, is based on an actual place – Castle Rising in Norfolk, England. I went there in my childhood, and again in 1993, during a snowy winter. My memories of the flat white fens and the isolated castle rising from the snow stayed with me for years before I finally spun a story round them. I tried to make my invented castle as real and three-dimensional as possible, and sketched its layout as I wrote. My wife Gina drew the finished floor plans that appear in the book.

Ptolemy's Gate
The Russian edition (2007).

Getting my castle right was vital. I drew detailed plans very early on (click for full size)


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