The final book in the Borrowers series, number five, was published in 1982, twenty-one years after book four, The Borrowers Aloft, which Mary Norton had presented as the end of the series. Avenged is about twice as long as the others. Despite that, it’s exactly the same in tone and style, and continues from the end of Aloft. I read the first four books when I was a child myself, probably several times, and rereading them recently I remembered many events in those books. I read this one when it came out, but I was 31 then, and only read it once. I didn’t remember a single thing about it! That actually made it more fun to read, a brand new book to me, and a fine one.
The Clock family: Pod, Homily and Arrietty, the tiny people of the race of Borrowers, have escaped from the attic prison in the home of The Platters by balloon, as told in The Borrowers Aloft. First they return to their previous home in the model village of Mr. Pott, but they know they can’t stay there long. Reuniting with their friend, the wild Borrower, Spiller, he and Pod scout for a new home. They find on in the rectory in the nearby town of Little Fordham. The church itself has Borrowers, the family of Hendreary and Lupy, who the Clocks lived with for a while in The Borrowers Afloat. Homily is quite firm on the fact that they should not try that again, but the rectory seems a good alternative, and is right next to the church. Spiller brings the Clocks to the rectory with all their belongings, and just in time, as their former captors, the Platters arrive at the model village to try to catch them again.
In the rectory, the Clocks find one young Borrower living on his own, a boy with a bad leg who was left behind by his family years earlier when they moved away. Peagreen has made a life for himself, and recently moved to a different home in the rectory, opening up his former one for the Clocks, who are happy to get it. Pod is soon busy converting the space inside an old chimney to a comfortable new home for them, and Arrietty is happy to be allowed to go out borrowing herself at last, gathering food from the rectory garden. The Clocks find the two humans living in the rectory easy to avoid, and have no trouble getting what they need. Arrietty and Peagreen become friends and spend time together, and Arrietty also goes borrowing with her young cousin Timmus, and explores the church with him.
Trouble begins again with The Platters when they learn there may be Borrowers in the church, and soon they are on the hunt for the Clock family again during a festival when there is lots of coming and going at the church. How will things work out this time? Can the Clocks finally find peace and freedom and get the revenge on the Platters promised in the book’s title? The path to that is fraught with danger.
Of course you would want to read the other books first, but this final one is an excellent and satisfying conclusion. Recommended.
Reviews of previous books in the series: