This children’s comedy is the first in a new series set in Edwinland. The peasants of Edwinland are very satisfied in indeed. This is largely due to King Edwin’s policy of distributing barrow-loads of chocolate each Friday – and some Saturdays. Sadly, every kind, generous king has an evil nemesis, and there are none more evil than Emperor Nurbison. His castle is teeming with vultures, bats and bottomless pits.
When Edwinland’s chocolate supply unexpectedly runs short, Nurbison is able to instigate a fiendish coup – ‘because boys and girls need chocolate like they need air.’ Even though King Edwin’s army fight with inflatable hammers, and his fiercest ally is an mild-mannered administrator called Jill, readers will be confident that Edwin’s kind heart and good nature will overcome evil in the end.
The characterisations of hero and villain are described hilariously, with precise comic timing and repetition for effect. Nurbison removes spikey heels to replace them with even spikier heels when walking on peasants and has a malicious habit of squeezing fruit! In contrast, Edwin has nothing but love for his subjects – even when they are revolting against him. Riley’s sense of humour is silly enough to engage a young audience and clever enough to get parents giggling, too.
Though the ending is rather shamelessly contrived to make way for inevitable sequels, readers will be eager to return to Edwinland – a much more fun place than the neighbouring Grey Cardigan Land, Vegetable Land and Homework Land. They will also enjoy the extra gift at the end – the sheet music for Emperor Nurbison’s Striding Theme, complete with lyrics and guitar chords!