Deltora Quest (series)

Deltora Quest (series)
Deltora Quest
Author Emily Rodda
Country Australia
Genre Fantasy, Sword and sorcery
Publisher Scholastic
Published 2000–2004
Media type Print (Paperback)

The Deltora Quest book series is the collective title for three series of children's literature fantasy books, written by Australian author Emily Rodda. It follows the adventures of three companions as they journey across the fictitious land of Deltora, endeavouring to recover the magical Belt of Deltora and defeat allies of the evil Shadow Lord. The series was first published in Australia in 2000, and has since been published in more than 30 countries. As of February 2010, the series has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, including 2 million in Australia.[1] It is published by Scholastic in Australia and the United States. In most countries, the series is illustrated by Marc McBride.

The series consists of fifteen books: the first eight comprise the Deltora Quest series, the next three comprise the Deltora Shadowlands series (also known as Deltora Quest 2, Deltora II or Deltora 2) and the final four comprise the Dragons of Deltora series (also known as Deltora Quest 3, Deltora III or Deltora 3). There are also six other official bonus books to the series: The Deltora Book of Monsters, Tales of Deltora, The Authorised Ultimate Deltora Quiz Book, How to Draw Deltora Monsters, How to Draw Deltora Dragons and Other Creatures and Secrets of Deltora. An anime adaptation of the series aired on Japanese television from 6 January 2007 to 29 March 2008. A Nintendo DS game for Deltora Quest has also been made in Japan.[2]


Creation and publication

Emily Rodda conceived of the Deltora series as a classical quest featuring a continuing storyline told over several books.[3] She purposely modelled the structure of the series on the structure of a video game, after noting how engaged her own children were with video games.[4] The success of Rodda's previous fantasy series, Rowan of Rin, helped Deltora get published as both series take place in completely fantastic worlds: Rowan of Rin was unusual because most children's fantasy series published at that time followed the Alice in Wonderland model where contemporary children found their way into a magical world.[5] Rodda worked on the manuscript for some time before taking it to her publisher.[3] She spent time developing the world of Deltora before working on the story in great detail—Rodda believes that fantasy authors must make their fictional worlds seem completely real.[6] > Books in the first series all number about 120 pages in the Australian versions. In the second, they are around 141–155 pages each. Books in the third series are the longest, with each ranging from around 180 to 205 pages. In some countries the series are available in boxed sets and all-in-one volumes.

Reception and awards

The series has been praised for its use of riddles and codes, fast pace and epic setting.[7] It has also been commended for its allegorical levels that address contemporary issues.[6]

Because the series was published at around the same time as the Harry Potter series and because it shares some similarities in genre, it is often cited as a good series for children to read in between Harry Potter installments.[8][9][10] Emily Rodda states that she thinks the success of the Harry Potter series helped the international sales of the Deltora series, although she states it didn't affect her writing as she has been writing children's fantasy for more than 20 years before Harry Potter.[11]

Since being published the series has won numerous awards including the 2003 YABBA award (VIC children's choice), the 2002 KOALA award (NSW children's choice), the 2002 Aurealis Awards: Peter McNamara Convenors' Award and the 2002 WA Young Reader's Book Awards: Most Popular Book. The series as a whole was voted the 30th best book in a 2004 Australian nationwide poll that included books of all genres.[12]


Deltora Quest

The first series of Deltora Quest follows the journeys of Lief, the son of a humble blacksmith, who, on his sixteenth birthday, sets out to fulfil his fathers quest to restore the Belt of Deltora. Joining Lief is an ex-palace guard named Barda. Along the way they meet with Jasmine: a wild child of the Forests of Silence, who has long, black hair and emerald eyes. She can speak to trees and has two pets: a raven named Kree and a small, gray, furry creature called Filli. Their quest is to find the seven gems of the fabled Belt of Deltora: Diamond, Emerald, Lapis lazuli, Topaz, Opal, Ruby, and Amethyst.(Not in that particular order.) The gems each have a special power and are hidden in dangerous locations around Deltora. The three friends must face numerous perils to reach them. Once the Belt is complete and the proper descendant of the first King of Deltora, Adin, wears the belt, the evil tyranny of the Shadow Lord will be forced back to the Shadowlands, . The books in this series are The Forests of Silence, The Lake of Tears, City of the Rats, The Shifting Sands, Dread Mountain, The Maze of the Beast, The Valley of the Lost, and Return to Del.

Deltora Shadowlands

In Deltora Shadowlands, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine embark on a quest below the land of Deltora, and travel through strange societies underground. They were formed by the three tribes of the former inhabitants of the Shadowlands, which was, long ago, a beautiful land, with the Shadow Lord repressed by the magic of the Pirran Pipe. The three adventurers convince each tribe to lend them their pieces of the Pipe, before Lief, Barda and Jasmine travel into the Shadowlands itself in order to use the Pipe to hold off the Shadow Lord and his evil power long enough for the thousands of Deltoran slaves to escape. The books are Cavern of the Fear, The Isle of Illusion, and The Shadowlands.

Dragons of Deltora

In Dragons of Deltora, the three companions once again must save Deltora, this time from the Four Sisters, evil creations of the Shadow Lord. These four Sisters sing their songs of death across Deltora, poisoning the land and gradually causing Deltora's crops to wither, resulting in famine across the land. With only a part of a torn map, left by Doran the Dragonlover, they set out to find these Sisters and destroy them. Each Sister must be destroyed with the aid of a dragon. When each Sister and the Sister's guardian are destroyed another fragment of the map is found. Eventually they discover that the Sisters are hidden in the four most eastern, northern, western and southern corners of Deltora. The Sister of the East is hidden in Dragon's Nest. The Sister of the North is hidden at Shadowgate and the Sister of the West is on the Isle of the Dead. The Sister of the South is hidden in the city of Del, which happens to be the hometown of Lief. The books are named after the Sister's locations Dragon's Nest, Shadowgate, Isle of the Dead, and The Sister of the South.

Add-on books

There are six add-on books. These are: How to Draw Deltora Monsters, How to Draw Deltora Dragons, The Deltora Book of Monsters, Tales of Deltora, Secrets of Deltora and The Authorised Ultimate Deltora Quiz Book.

Main characters


At the start of the series, Lief is the son of a blacksmith who lives in the run down city of Del. He is (as Barda describes him) "a young hot-head" and spends his time roaming the streets and both tempting and dodging trouble. On his 16th birthday he leaves Del on his father's quest to find the magical gems missing from the Belt of Deltora and the heir destined to wear it. Lief is tempted in many ways and by the end of the first series he has grown not only in bravery and strength, but also in wisdom and patience. Lief is very courageous and extremely trustworthy. A few times he considers giving up the quest, but the thought of his friends or allies suffering always helps him to continue. The second series sees the characters questioning their trust of one another as they plot to save the slaves in the Shadowlands. In the third series, Lief becomes king and must take the Belt around Deltora to awaken the ancient dragons which must help him destroy the Sisters of the North, South, East and West. In the eighth book, it is told that Lief's hair is dark. It is implied in Isle of the Dead that he is at least eighteen. During the Dragons of Deltora series, Lief's romantic feelings for Jasmine become more pronounced, and at the end of the series, they get married and have a daughter named Anna and twin sons called Jarred and Endon.


Jasmine is approximately the same age as Lief (16). She is described as having black hair(dark green in anime) which frames her elfin like face and emerald green eyes. She is often described as impatient and lonely, but with a good heart. In the beginning of the series Jasmine is a wild orphan girl who lives a solitary life in the dangerous Forests of Silence, until she meets Lief and Barda when they trapped by the Wenn. Her only friends in the Forests are the raven named Kree and a small furry animal called Filli. Jasmine understands the language of trees and many other animals. She is independent, like Lief, though she displays far less tact. She is also unafraid of standing up for what she believes in, if she feels something is injust or incorrect she explains her view without any fear of reprimandation. She believes in equal rights and fairness, her only problem is that she cannot understand people who will not fight for themselves. Growing up alone, Jasmine knows how to defend for herself. Because of her upbringing, she is used to getting her own way, which causes conflict with her companions. In the beginning, she has no understanding of money. In the series she finds her long lost father and they are once again reunited. She shows romantic interest in Lief, even though they don't always see eye to eye. In the final chapter of the last book, Lief and Jasmine are married. Thanks to the fact that she grew up in the forest, she was more agile than most people and could balance on things very easily, as demonstrated in the rithmere games, when she wins by using her wits. She also has a very short temper, which causes her to go balistic when Doom (her father, unknown to them both at the time) asks about her parents. She beat him anyway after running around the ring quite easily and even at one point taking a piggyback ride on him. Because of her short temper, many people described her as 'wild' and 'crazy'.


At the beginning of the series Barda appears to be a poor beggar living on the streets of Del. He is revealed to be an ex-palace guard who assumes the role of protector to Lief, much to both his and Lief's dismay. He is a skilled swordsman and frequently makes jokes about being stuck with two young hot-heads: Lief and Jasmine. During the series, Barda competes in a contest in which he describes his special skill as strength. He helps Lief and Jasmine along the quest and is always stronghearted, never gives up hope and is rather a gentle giant. At the end of the third series Barda finds love and happiness with Lindal of Broome, who he marries and together they have six children all taller than their parents and like peas in a pod.


Jarred is Jasmine's father and Endon's best friend. Early on he was forced to leave the castle of Del when Endon's evil adviser Prandine accuses him of attempting to murder Endon. He spent his young life as a blacksmith before helping Endon when the gems were stolen from the Belt of Deltora. He let Endon and wife Sharn take his and his wife's place as blacksmith and they escaped into the Forest of Silence. There, his wife Anna was killed by Grey Guards and he was captured, with Jasmine ending up left to grow up alone. Jarred escaped the Shadowlands, the only person able to do so, and suffered a head injury that took away his memory. He named himself Doom and became leader of the Resistance against the Shadow Lord. He helped Lief and friends sparingly until the Belt was completed and revealed to him. He organized the plans to return to Del. There he was hurt again and regained his memories. Lief was forced to flee and Doom, Jasmine, and Barda were captured before he was able to reveal Lief's royal heritage, however. He survived the battle and sat the rest of the series out, remaining in Del. Lief and Jasmine had a son named after him

King Endon

Endon starts his life as a friend of Jarred and heir to the throne of Deltora. Much of Endon's life is spent training to become the next King of Deltora, learning rules and politics. Endon's father dies from a "terrible fever", making Endon the new King of Deltora. A day later his father's chief adviser, Prandine, reports to him that his friend Jarred is trying to kill him. Blindly Endon believes him, causing Jarred to run away. For the next couple of years Endon lives peacefully in the palace until Min, King Endon's childhood maid, tells Endon that enemies lie within the palace itself. Endon does not believe Min and sends her back to her work. In the next hour Endon finds Min dead. Desperate, Endon seeks the help of Jarred and helps him arrive to the palace via a secret passage. Endon finds Jarred and they go to the top tower with Sharn, Endon's wife, and find the gems of the Belt of Deltora gone. After, they find Prandine and he admits that Jarred did nothing wrong, that he (Prandine) killed Endon's father by poison, and also that he is a servant of the Shadow Lord. Prandine tries to kill them but Sharn throws Prandine out of the palace tower. With Prandine dead Endon and Sharn run away under the protection of Jarred. Jarred and his wife Anna leave Del and Endon and Sharn take over their identities as the town's blacksmiths. Endon and Sharn have a son they name Lief and when Lief turns sixteen, Endon sends Lief on a quest to find the seven lost gems of Deltora without telling Lief of his true lineage.


Sharn is the Toran wife of King Endon of Deltora. She is an extraordinary weaver, and even makes Lief's cloak which can blend in with its surroundings and saves the trio from capture numerous times. Despite being of noble birth and having a very safe life, she is incredibly brave. This is shown when she throws Prandine off the Palace tower, and also when she is interrogated by Fallow, an Ol in the same form as the advisor Prandine.


A recurring political theme expressed in the series is that a leader who does not understand ordinary people is doomed to failure. Another political theme focuses on the disastrous results of leaders who ignore history. The final books explore the nature of despair. The 1st and 2nd series explores the theme of "united we stand, divided we fall". The theme of gambling, and how it equates to trickery also revisits the story occasionally.


Rodda has said there has been some interest in adapting the Deltora series into a film but she refused to let any adaptation change the story. There is also a Nintendo DS real-time RPG game confirmed with all three characters.[6] A 65 part Deltora Quest anime series of the first eight books began its broadcast season in Japan on January 6, 2007. Rodda chose this option because she and her kids "love" Japanese anime and because she wanted any adaptation of Deltora to be "cool".[6] The series is produced at Oriental Light and Magic and is directed by Mitsuru Hongō. The studio keeps the quest magic jewels intact in the story,[6] but one noticeable alteration has been made: Lief's hair color has been changed from black to blonde. Others include the Resurrection of Theagan along with at least one new villain, Oscar.[13] Rodda has not ruled out a live action version of the story (either film or television) being made at some point in the future, but she intends to wait until she gets an offer that "is genuinely admiring of the books as they are."[6] There is currently a manga adaptation by Makoto Niwano, serialised in Bom Bom Comics and published by Kodansha.[14]


  1. ^ Scholastic Aus News at
  2. ^ Anime and manga for Australia at
  3. ^ a b Deltora Quest Author: Emily Rodda at
  4. ^ How the quest was won at
  5. ^ Q & A with Emily Rodda at
  6. ^ a b c d e f Fantasy Writers :: Sunday Profile at
  7. ^ The Shifting Sands at
  8. ^ If You Liked Harry Potter, You Will Like These at Vancouver Public Library
  9. ^ Teen Reads at
  10. ^ Book news September 2000 at Austral Ed
  11. ^ Mad about the boy at
  12. ^ My Favourite Book - The Top 100 at ABC
  13. ^ Deltora Quest 2007 at
  14. ^ Deltora Quest at

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