The first of the official King's Quest novels published by Berkeley Boulevard. Unlike the second and third novel, this first was written by Craig Mills.

This story takes place after Alexander's return to Daventry, some point between KQ4 and KQV. As he hurries home to avoid an upcoming storm, he notices what looks like a dark flying castle in the sky above him. Sure enough, after a particularly vicious storm, the dark castle has planted itself right in Daventry's countryside and sends warriors and monsters to terrorize the bewildered land.

The villain in this story, the powerful wizard Telgrin who stole the castle, comes to the castle and demands power over Daventry and its people. When Graham refuses, the wizard steals his soul. Alexander immediately sets out with Cyril, an apprentice wizard to retrieve it.

Many familiar fantasy and fairy tale elements appear here - witches who turn people into frogs and captive princesses.


Daventry has known peace for a long time. Until now... A flying castle? It can't be true—but it is. The most vicious storm in years rages through a dark night, and dawn finds sunlight shining on an ominous black castle where there was none the day before. The next few days see a banquet of evil like Daventry has never known: ghastly riders in black armor pillaging farms, horrid trolls and ogres laying waste to the countryside, menacing flashes of lightning hovering over the castle. King Graham assembles his greatest knights in council to determine how to deal with this threat. As they bicker over a solution, a dark-robed mage bursts into the chamber, announcing himself as Telgrin, master of the castle and new king of Daventry. As a warning that he will tolerate no opposition, he steals Graham's soul, leaving his lifeless body slumped over in his throne. Prince Alexander cannot sit still. His kingdom is wounded, his people are terrified, and his father is near death. Accompanied only by an apprentice wizard, he sets out to banish the evil that threatens all he holds dear. But to do so, he will have to journey to the very heart of evil itself...

Behind the scenesEdit

"Has Sierra On-Line ever been approached by any movie studios for film rights to your games?

We have been approached to make King's Quest into a Saturday-morning cartoon but we don't think we'll do that because we think Saturday-morning cartoons look cheap. We want to maintain a quality image...Of course, we don't want to rush into anything. All of our characters are very precious to us and we don't want someone else to have the rights to them and do a bad job. We've also been approached to do board games and books for King's Quest." [1]

According to the Fall 1995 issue of Interaction Magazine, King's Quest: The Floating Castle is a way to experience the magic of King's Quest without a computer. The book was written by Craig Mills (followed by other books by other authors), and the series was based on the popular series of Roberta Williams. It is the first printed-page version of King's Quest, and allows readers to follow their favorite characters in an all new adventure-fantasy story.

According to Ken Williams, Sierra had little to do with the books other than licensing another company the permission to write them, [2] through special arrangement.

According to the copyright page, while the book is copyrighted to the author Craig Mills (as well as to Sierra On-Line), all original characters introduced in the story are copyrighted characters of Sierra On-line (original characters in this context maybe a reference to characters who previously appeared in a Sierra game). The Sierra brand name and seal appears on the back of the book.

Its worth noting that Roberta donated a copy of this book (and this the only one of the novel trilogy) to the Strong's museum, along with her collection of game development notes, maps and artwork. Which may suggest this might be the only one of the three novels she actually owned a copy of or read.

This book is sometimes listed on book websites such as as "King's Quest 1: The Floating Castle" although there is no evidence of this numbering in the book itself.[3]The only description close to it is the description in the cover that states that it is the first volume in an epic series.

Fairy Tale & Myth InspirationsEdit

The story leans largely more towards high fantasy than fairy tale and myth.

It contains a few King's Quest nods. But there are a few references to fairy tales and myth. These include the kelpie, a witch, an ogre and fairies (the scenes with the fairies adapts a number of fairy/elf myths). There is a nod to dragons and magic mirrors (of the Alice in the Looking Glass variety that act like portals). The kelpie sequence has shades of the fable; 'The Scorpion and the Frog' (in which Alexander asks why the kelpie is trying to kill him, only to be told its within the Kelpie's nature). Owen appears to be a nod toward headless ghost/headless horseman motifs such as the Headless Earl, Canterville Ghost, or Dullahan. The Frog Prince inspires a sequence. The hat-and-cloak maybe a nod to the invisible man. The barikar is a Rodents of Unusual Size out of the Princess Bride (see also Giant Rat). The various black knights appear to represent names of kings taken from various myths and history, and are obviously inspired by dark knights concept from various legends, and the dark riders/ring wraiths from Lord of the Rings. There is a tentacled creature that is essentially a nod to watcher in the water from Lord of the Rings (or a kraken). A two headed ogre like creature seems to be similar to an ettin (or other two-headed giants). The screaming door knocker/lock might be something out of the Christmas Carol. A pouch that is never empty of food, is similar to the 'fill' bowl in KQ1. The floating castle/island concept appears in a number of fairy tales, myths and children's stories such as Laputa in Gulliver's Travels. The wizard turning into a tree may share elements of Green Man/Old Father Tree legends, or some cases an aspect of Pan, and Daphne being turned into a tree, but appears in many indigenous tales as well[4]. In the stories of David the Gnome, David and his wife turn into trees near the end of their life as gnomes, to live on for many more years.

In the story, Graham's body and soul are separated, and the body went into a sort of dreamless sleep. This idea appears to reflect similar idea of fairies or enchanted woods/ground causing enchanted sleep; Similar to location in Pilgrim's Progress where protagonists are told not to sleep lest they never wake up, or magical feast that causes a similar situation in Narnia series, Rip Van Winkle, and even Sleeping Beauty. Where as in some of these stories the 'enchanted' will slowly die without knowing they are asleep, and in others they might wake up years after when the curse has been broken. A similar concept of the eternal sleep curse appears in See No Evil as well.

The concept of Telgrin being a former scullery lad, appears to be greatly inspired by the series Gormenghast in which the kichen boy Steerpike schemes to destroy the existing order of the castle, and rise to power.

Chronological placementEdit

it is unclear when the events of The Floating Castle takes place. The Floating Castle is unclear on the exact age Alexander was during the events of the book, however it implies that he was eighteen when he returned to Daventry after defeating Manannan. However according to the King's Quest Companion (and other sources) he was still 17 during the events of KQ3 and KQ4 (there was only about an hour between Alexander's return in KQ3 and the start of KQ4), in a period set during late Summer. They wouldn't turn 18 until a few weeks into autumn. However, the reference in the book would still imply that his age during the Floating Castle would have been at least 18.

The story also makes reference to new harvests[5] in preparation for coming winter[6] (suggesting that events take place before the winter). The main harvested produce mentioned is apples, which are usually harvested in late summer to early fall. "Harvest" itself, is a noun, came from the Old English word hærfest, meaning "autumn" (the season), "harvest-time", or "August". (It continues to mean "autumn" in British dialect, and "season of gathering crops" generally.) "The harvest" came to also mean the activity of reaping, gathering, and storing grain and other grown products during the autumn, and also the grain and other grown products themselves.

The summer is referenced several times (including a reference to Lydia leaving the castle to eat summer fruit[7]). The epilogue takes place during the early summer not long after.[8] These references would suggest that bulk of the story must take place during the previous summer or fall (before the next year's summer).

In addition most of the scenery is described as being green, with vines, and wildflowers (which would also suggest it takes place during the spring to mid-summer).[9] There are also descriptions of rains (though this may have been caused by Telgrin's magic).

However, it's suggested in See No Weevil, that Daventry becomes relatively dry in the late-summer, early fall (though as it is written by a separate author). But could TFC could be accounting for a wetter year (and SNW just accounting for a drier year).

On the other hand, the reference by Owen discussing Lydia leaving the castle to eat summer fruit, and the references to preparations for winter earlier in the book could suggest that the book takes place in late summer, just before winter. In one chapter of the story Alexander encounters an apple tree (which are traditionally harvested during late summer to early fall). In SNW, the harvest time is associated with late summer/early fall, which could suggest that the harvest mentioned in the book is one and the same (although references in SNW could suggest that harvests take place throughout the entire summer). If bulk of the story occurs in late summer, this would force the epilogue just after spring (early summer), the following year. This wouldn't fit very well with most of the game time lines (which place the period between KQ3 and KQ7 over about 1-2 years), as it would push almost three years into the period (with the extra spring).

Its not clear when Alexander first met Morowyn, however the book states that its 9 months since he last saw him (actually the book may even suggest that Alexander had been out of Daventry the entire nine months, or least some of them), the main bulk of the book takes place over the course of 15 days, the last chapter takes place sometime after. This would suggest that between the time Alexander last saw Morowyn and the last chapter covers almost a year of time.

The book has to take place after KQ4, as there was no time for anything to have occurred between KQ3 and KQ4 (as KQ4 begins where KQ3 ends). It is possible that Alexander could have met Morowyn during the events of KQ4 (it's possible that Morowyn was one of the "royal physicians" that were powerless to heal King Graham). However, that would still only add a few extra days at the most.

It doesn't seem likely that the bulk of The Floating Castle takes place after KQV since Alexander doesn't seem to have met Cassima yet (he shows no sign of love-sickness), not to mention the fact that the only major event mentioned in his recent past is his escape from Manannan (Mordack is not mentioned). The Royal Family: A Celebration states that he also felt regret for the trouble he put his family (though it does stare his family helped mend his heart). King's Quest 6 also states that Alexander was thoroughly and permanently smitten by Cassima from the moment he first saw her. However even the Companion doesn't leave Alexander too troubled initially as he has brief contact with the princess under mysterious circumstances, and even takes the time to continue his teaching at the Royal University, take a research trip back to Mordack's Island, and write a another book (Iconomancy: A Magic Without Words), apparently before the melancholy kicks in. So a return to visit Morowyn, And his apprentices as in the last chapter could fit during that period.

However, there is less than a year's time (to a year at the most[10]) between KQ4 and KQV; there is roughly eight or nine months between summer (KQ3 reference) and spring. Even if Alexander had met Morowyn during events of KQ4 when he is still 17 (ignoring 18 reference) during the summer (roughly 23 years after KQ1?), and then saved the kingdom from the floating castle nine months later during a late spring before the events of KQV (which takes place during spring), the epilogue would still have to take place after KQV during the summer (KQ5 takes place during the spring).

If the bulk of the events took place after KQV during autumn harvest, it would be set well after KQV (spring), and would also place the epilogue during following summer. However, that would mean that epilogue takes place far more than a few months (and would pushing almost a year between the end of the main story and the epilogue, and too close to KQ6 time frame). This would seem to make the bulk of the story take place during the autumn or spring before KQ5, and the epilogue takes place in following summer.

Title listingsEdit

This is sometimes listed as King's Quest 1: The Floating Castle, this is its official ISBN listing name.[11] However, the name doesn't appear in the book itself.

Publisher description in online stores and catalogues:

This is a feature release based on the characters and world of King's Quest, the bestselling computer game. Now enthusiasts can experience the excitement and adventure of the game through novels that capture the world of Daventry, where the forces of good and evil fight a war of magic for the ultimate reward--the glory of the kingdom.

An alternate publisher description listing:

The peaceful world of Danventry (sic) is shattered by a vicious storm that precedes the arrival of an evil mage who steals the king's soul, prompting Prince Alexander to banish the evil forces from the kingdom and save his father. Original.


  1. START VOL. 4 NO. 8 / MARCH 1990
  2. Sierra had nothing to do with the Kings Quest novels, beyond licensing a company the permission to write them. I asked Roberta if she read them, and she says she thinks she did, and that she thought they were ok, not great. -Ken W, Sierra Gamers 12/8/2003
  5. 8, 12, 80, 84
  6. KQC, 13
  7. TFC, 239
  8. TFC, 294
  9. 60, 61
  10. KQ7 hintbook
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