[I]n The House of Arden a contemporary boy, Edred, must be tested before he can become Lord Arden and restore the family fortunes. He meets the Mouldiwarp (a mole who appears on the family coat-of-arms). This magic creature can be summoned only by poetry, freshly composed in its honor—a considerable strain on Edred and his sister Elfrida who have not the gift. There are adventures in the past and the present, and the story of Richard Harding crosses their own. The magic comes and goes in a most interesting way.
—Hunting through the Gore Vidal archives at The New York Review of Books we stumbled upon an article on the English children’s writer E. Nesbit, where he states that The House of Arden was one of his favorite Nesbit books. Vidal was always known for his refined taste.