the somewhat unimposing coup on Phindia in The
Hidden Past, the prospect of a power struggle on neighbouring
Gala appeared, on the surface of things, to be simply recycling the
plotline and dressing it up in a different frock. And whilst the
underlying story of governmental upheaval is indeed quite similar, The
Mark of the Crown feels not only more refined but also develops
the characters more purposefully. Obi-Wan in particular matures more
here than he did on Phindia and that in itself makes what is
essentially another detour feel more important.
"With regards to Watson’s prose, she outdoes herself here,
managing to convey the subtleties of political machinations in a
manner that older children could comprehend, as well as handling the
Queen’s mentality regarding her imminent demise with extreme
"A bourgeois storyline is enhanced by delicate portrayals of
characters and events."