A Swiftly Tilting Planet

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Book - 1978
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Book four in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time Quintet. The Murry and O'Keefe Families enlist the help of the unicorn, Gaudior, to save the world from imminent nuclear war.

"An intricately woven fantasy." -- Booklist , starred review

In A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle, a companion to the Newbery Award winner A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door , fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo.

They are not alone in their quest. Charles Wallace's sister, Meg--grown and expecting her first child, but still able to enter her brother's thoughts and emotions by "kything"--goes with him in spirit.

Charles Wallace must face the ultimate test of his faith and his will as he is sent within four people from another time, there to search for a way to avert the tragedy threatening them all.

Praise for A Swiftly Tilting Planet:

"Charles Wallace ( A Wrinkle in Time ), now 15, Meg, and the Murrys reappear in an intricately woven fantasy in which the boy time-spins through a tangle of history to find and mend the broken link that threatens to disturb the harmony of today." -- Booklist , starred review

Books by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wind in the Door
A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Many Waters
An Acceptable Time

A Wrinkle in Time: The GraphicNovel by Madeleine L'Engle; adapted & illustrated by HopeLarson: A graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's ground-breakingscience fiction and fantasy classic.

Intergalactic P.S. 3 by Madeleine L'Engle; illustrated by Hope Larson: Astandalone story set in the world of A Wrinkle in Time !

The Austin Family Chronicles
Meet the Austins (Volume 1)
The Moon by Night (Volume 2)
The Young Unicorns (Volume 3)
A Ring of Endless Light (Volume 4) A Newbery Honor book!
Troubling a Star (Volume 5)

The Polly O'Keefe books
The Arm of the Starfish
Dragons in the Waters
A House Like a Lotus

And Both Were Young


The Joys of Love

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, c1978.
ISBN: 9780312368562
Branch Call Number: J LEN


From Library Staff

List - Page Portals
Jenn_G_ Apr 29, 2017

Journey with Charles and his unicorn on their quest through time to save the world.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 15, 2020

"A Swiftly Tilting Planet" is the third book in Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet, which follows the adventures of the Murray family. Ten years have passed since book 2's events and Meg is now married to Calvin and expecting their first child. Calvin's mother Branwen visits the Murray family for Thanksgiving, which is interrupted when the US president phones Meg's scientist father to inform him of an impending nuclear war threatened by the South American dictator "Mad Dog" Branzillo.

As in the previous two novels, the family seeks to avert the coming disaster and is assisted by an angelic figure - a winged unicorn named Gaudior in this story. But, while "A Wrinkle in Time" and "A Wind in the Door" dealt with time as a separate dimension, rather than a forward-only vector, this book introduces actual time travel. Meg's genius brother Charles Wallace and Gaudior travel back in time to discover the origins of Mad Dog and attempt to alter history and avert war.

This is a clever adventure story that kept me enthralled. It was nice to see Charles Wallace take a more active role, rather than being the child who must be rescued. Meg remains in the present but communicates telepathically with her brother across the centuries. The story spans hundreds of years, but is tied together by the familial relationship between the characters encountered by Gaudior and CW. The only weakness was the transparent name games that the author played, which were too easy for the reader to figure out, even though it took genius Charles Wallace more than half the book to get it.

I look forward to volume 4.

Aug 17, 2018

This was always my favourite of the series when I was a kid, and probably my favourite L'engle book! Wrinkle in Time was interesting, but Swiftly Tilting Planet is timeless story of adventure, history, AND time travel and astral projection (although as a kid I didn't know that's what it was called). I recommend this even if you didn't love Wrinkle in Time!

May 15, 2018

I feel it reads better now as an adult, than when I read it when I was younger. Far better than a Wrinkle in Time. Although it was written in 1978, it could be happening now. Mad dictators with nuclear weapons, threatening war! Hmmm. Sound familiar??
it can be a bit confusing if you happen to read the book Many Waters first, as, although it is supposed to take place before Tilting Planet, it was written after it, and so some of the same characters in the two books do not act or think in Tilting Planet as they perhaps would have after their adventures in Many Waters. Other than that, it is a good adventure of the Murry/O'Keefe family.
It is also nice to see the Welsh aspect in the forefront, as the Welsh always get the least amount of credit for anything at all of the four "British" people-the English (of course), the Scottish and the Irish.

bibliosara Jan 21, 2018

First of all, I must say; Madeleine L'Engle is a fantasy queen. Although her world-building may not be whole, I am thoroughly impressed with her ability to come up with such fantastical premises and deliver a story that carries you along with wonder throughout the book.
Let me warn you that her series are not meant to be cohesive or even completely logical when put together, but the stories themselves are emotionally driven, fantastically written, and absolutely amazing. My biggest qualm is that the stories can be hard to follow, but the philosophical and religious messages are well worth the mind-untangling you have to do to connect the dots.
(If you are concerned about the religious undertones that I mentioned, don't worry, it's not in-your-face, and it is easy enough to ignore. It's worth the read whether you are religious or not, but religious folks might get a little more meaning from the premise and conclusion.)
I enjoyed this third outing into the Wrinkle in Time series, and loved hearing from the perspective of Charles Wallace, a character I have enjoyed since the onset. What so surprises me about this series is that adults can enjoy it just as much as children can!

May 17, 2017

This is a complicated book. I first read it many years ago, as a kid. But I got a LOT more out of it after rereading it as an adult.

My favorite parts were:

* the slightly grumpy unicorn
* the overall idea of people working together for peace
* the fact that the table of contents forms a poem--such a clever idea

Jun 24, 2015

I really loved this book except at times it was confusing to me. There were so many Zillahs and Brans and I couldn't remember if this person was earlier in time then that one. But if it was easier for me keep track I would have liked it better than A Wrinkle in Time, WitD is my favourite so far

hania4987 Aug 11, 2014

"The world has been abnormal for so long that we've forgotten what it's like to live in a peaceful and reasonable climate. If there is to be any peace or reason, we have to create it in our own hearts and homes.”
― Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Wizard786 Jun 11, 2014

Nothing can surpass a wrinkle in time it is aazing but read this book! another great book from L'Engle!

May 25, 2014

A diehard fan of L'Engle and her writing, I was nonetheless astonished at how extraordinary this novel is! I was not expecting anything to surpass L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time", but this did the trick. At times I barely understood it, but could not ever put it down. Completely absorbing, enthralling, irresistible, I recommend this novel to anyone who has had a taste of L'Engle's writing already (I recommend reading "A Wrinkle in Time" first) and craves an epic adventure with amazing characters and plot, not to mention deep and resonating theme. From beginning to end this book is great. I am very satisfied.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jun 24, 2015

Reyna_Avila_Grace thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Wizard786 Jun 11, 2014

Wizard786 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Orange_Cat_155 Feb 20, 2012

Orange_Cat_155 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Quote
Jun 24, 2015

"Hate hurts the hater more'n the hated." -Grandmother of Beezie


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top