Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom of the Wicked
Book seven cover.
|Cover artist||Tom Percival|
|Genre||Children's novel, Fantasy novel, Young-adult fiction, Horror fiction|
|24 July 2012 (Australia / New Zealand)
30 August 2012 (UK)
|Preceded by||Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer (2011)|
|Followed by||Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men (2013)|
Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom of the Wicked is the 7th book in the Skulduggery Pleasant book series. Originally planned to be released on 30 August 2012 in all major markets, it was released in Australia and New Zealand on 24 July 2012 due to Derek Landy's Down Under Tour, which took place in August. The book was then released on the 30 August for the UK and Ireland. It is the beginning of the third and final trilogy of the series.
Skulduggery Pleasant, the first book of the series, has won several awards including the Red House Children's Book award, the Portsmouth Book Award in 2008, and the Irish book of the Decade. Kingdom of the Wicked was the number one bestseller for Young Adults in the UK.
Four teenagers, Kitana, Sean, Doran and Elsie, experiment with magical abilities they have suddenly developed. The four attract the attention of an elemental sorcerer called Patrick Xebec, who scolds the four for their reckless behaviour, but Kitana kills him.
Across the country, other mortals are developing magical powers. Valkyrie Cain and Skulduggery Pleasant fight and capture one of these mortals, who has become a werewolf. Once he returns to human form and has been taken back to the Sanctuary, he explains that he turned into a werewolf after being contacted in a dream by a man called Argeddion. Meanwhile, elders of the Irish Sanctuary, Erskine Ravel, Ghastly Bespoke and Madame Mist, are contacted by The Supreme Council, a group set up by other Sanctuaries around the world to aid the Irish Sanctuary, whom they feel are incompetent. Erskine and Ghastly, however, see them as a threat, and try to dismiss The Supreme Council's representatives.
Skulduggery and Valkyrie try to find leads on the name Argeddion. They are contacted by an elderly woman called Greta Dapple, who was once the girlfriend of Argeddion. Greta tells them about how, when she and Argeddion met, he was a pacifist with an obsession with magic, called Walden D'Essai. Walden found out his true name, Argeddion, and sealed it, thus becoming immenesely powerful. Skulduggery and Valkyrie learn that Argeddion was arrested by a missing science-magic user, Tyren Lament, and a group of accomplices. However, almost all information on Tyren and his accomplices has been struck from the records. Skulduggery manages to get a single lead: Tyren arrested a dimensional shunter (a sorcerer with the ability to move objects and people between different dimensions) called Silas Nadir several years ago. Skulduggery and Valkyrie track Silas to a prison for sorcerers called Hammer Lane Gaol. During a prison riot, the two find Nadir, who attacks them, grabbing Valkyrie's arm and causing it to ache in an odd way. They manage to subdue Nadir, and question him about Tyren; Silas tells them that his three accomplices were Vernon Plight, Kalvin Accord and Lenka Bazaar, though Skulduggery can gain no leads on any of them.
Meanwhile, Eliza Scorn hires Tanith Low, still possessed by a remnant, and Billy-Ray Sanguine to kill Christophe Nocturnal (head of a church of the Faceless One in America) in order to merge the church in Ireland with the one in America and be the leader of both of them, who has been imprisoned after a failed assassination attempt on Valkyrie, in exchange for information of a mysterious dagger. Later, Skulduggery hypothesises that neither Tyren and his accomplices nor Argeddion are dead, but that they are secretly keeping Argeddion prisoner somewhere. They gain information that Tyren had materials transported to the Swiss Alps, and plan to travel there. However, Valkyrie is suddenly transported to an unknown city, which she learns is, in fact, Dublin, and realises that she has 'shunted' to an alternate reality, as a result of Nadir grabbing her arm earlier. Here, Mevolent lives, and mortals are oppressed by sorcerers and live in fear of them. After fighting off several of Mevolent's Redhoods (the new reality's version of Cleavers), she suddenly shunts back to her own reality.
Skulduggery and Valkyrie continue their investigation into Argeddion, and travel to the Swiss Alps, where they discover a large base in which, sure enough, Tyren and his accomplices live, keeping Argeddion prisoner in a coma-state in a machine called The Cube. Skulduggery believes that Argeddion is waking up, infecting mortals with magic through his subconscious, but Tyren disagrees. They decide, however, to transport Argeddion to The Sanctuary, in order to use a machine called The Accelerator, which will power up Argeddion's prison, ensuring he does not wake up. Skulduggery and Valkyrie also secretly discuss the possibility of another Cube being built in order to prison Valkyrie's dark side Darquesse.
After being teleported to The Sanctuary by Fletcher Renn, Skulduggery and Valkyrie locate Doran (who has killed his own brother), and they fight him, Kitana and Sean, who have all grown hugely powerful - Skulduggery and Valkyrie underestimate them, and barely escape with their lives. Meanwhile, Madame Mist secretly meets with Tanith and Billy-Ray (revealing she has evil intentions) and tells them she wishes for them to kill someone, although she does not reveal who. When Skulduggery and Valkyrie return to the Sanctuary, they meet Nadir (who explains that Valkyrie could shunt again at any moment), when suddenly a force field appears inside the building. Skulduggery and Valkyrie discover Argeddion has awoken, which Skulduggery reveals that in the 30 years that Lament and his team were in the Alps at some point Argeddion must have regained a degree of awareness and take over their minds, and explains to them his plan to use the Accelerator to give magic to every mortal on the planet, to create a better world. Skulduggery tells him how the plan is flawed, as the human race would end up destroying itself, but Argeddion does not listen. He removes them from the force field, and Valkyrie returns home. However, she suddenly shunts again, accidentally taking her reflection with her. In the alternate reality, she is captured by Baron Vengeous, and brought before Mevolent in his palace. Valkyrie notices that he possesses the Sceptre of the Ancients - a weapon which would be capable of killing Argeddion. She is broken out of Mevolent's dungeons by the Resistance (a group of freedom fighters led by China Sorrows), but they are attacked by Lord Vile, during which Valkyrie shunts back to her own reality, leaving her reflection behind.
Back in her own dimension, Valkyrie and Skulduggery once again go after Kitana, Doran and Sean. They manage to capture Sean, but Argeddion saves Kitana and Doran, explaining that they will, eventually, learn to control their magic. Sean is questioned by Ghastly and Elsie (who left her friends after being horrified by the murders they had committed), and a member of The Supreme Council, Grand Mage Strom, is secretly imprisoned in order to stop him from bothering Ravel and Ghastly. Valkyrie then shunts once more, this time bringing Skulduggery with her. The two locate the Resistance in the alternate reality, and enlist the help of Nefarian Serpine (who has defected from Mevolent's side) to smuggle them into the Palace. Once inside, they manage to rescue Valkyrie's reflection and obtain the Sceptre of the Ancients, but China steals it from them, and they shunt back without the Sceptre. Meanwhile, Sean is broken out of prison by The Man with Golden Eyes, and Kitana witnesses Argeddion killing Tyren and his accomplices after the group manage to regain control of their minds. Fearing he will do the same to them, the three teenagers plan to kill Argeddion, and make a deal with Skulduggery to stop him. Skulduggery decides to use the Accelerator on them, which will power them up enough to destroy Argeddion. They then create a trap - using Greta as bait, Skulduggery draws out Argeddion, and they manage to delay him before Kitana, Doran and Sean arrive. However, Kitana realises that, by killing Argeddion, they will lose their powers, and so tricks Skulduggery - she kills Greta, and they bring Argeddion back to the Sanctuary in order to imprison him, so that they may retain their powers. Skulduggery and Valkyrie chase after them.Valkyrie as Darquesse and Skulduggery as Lord Vile
Once at the Sanctuary, Skulduggery dons Lord Vile's armour, and Valkyrie becomes Darquesse in order to defeat them. However, during the fight, Argeddion appears, and causes him and Darquesse to shunt to the alternate reality, where he plans to find his alternate self and use their combined powers to carry out his plan. Darquesse goes to find the Sceptre, but is attacked by Mevolent himself. Mevolent wields a sword known as the God-Killer, but neither he nor Darquesse can gain the upper hand. Eventually, Darquesse manages to obtain the Sceptre, but Serpine appears, killing China and attacking her. Darquesse suddenly shunts back, apparently losing the Sceptre in the process. In her rage, she flies back to the battle (where Vile is struggling), and kills Kitana, Doran and Sean. Argeddion reappears with his alternate self, Walden D'Essai, who is horrified by his plan, saying that he has seen the results of a world dominated by magic in the alternate reality and it can never work. Argeddion, after reviving the teenagers, accidentally kills Walden, and Skulduggery (having broken out of Vile's armour with a psychological trigger) uses this distraction to initiate a seizure within Argeddion and Darquesse, thereby returning her as Valkyrie, her normal self. Argeddion has his mind wiped clean by psychics, so that he will never be a threat again, and Kitana, Doran and Sean (having lost their magic) are sent to jail.
As the Sanctuary recover from the events, Tanith and Billy-Ray break in and kill Grand Mage Strom, forcing the other Supreme Council Representatives to leave immediately. Skulduggery foresees terrible repercussions as a result of this. During the Epilogue, Valkyrie's reflection kills Carol (Valkyrie's cousin), revealing that she possesses the Sceptre of the Ancients (which Darquesse did bring back, though she did not realize it), before she kills Carol, in order to cover up her future murder Valkyrie's reflection makes a Carol reflection in order to imitate and be like Carol and that she plans to kill Valkyrie, Skulduggery, and anyone else that tries to oppose her.