Already appearing in hardback in this country last year, garnering praise from the critics and listed as a Times Book of the Year, this is an English translation of a Dutch children’s classic, first published in the Netherlands in 1962. It’s a quest set in a fantasy medieval world. In the kingdom of Dagonaut, young squire Tiuri’s vigil on the eve of becoming a knight is interrupted by a plea for help. An old man leads him to a dying knight who gives him an urgent letter to deliver to the king of neighbouring Unauwen. Tiuri’s determination to carry out this task means a long and dangerous journey in which his life is often threatened and he is twice imprisoned but, along the way, he acquires a beautiful horse, and firm friends and mentors. Amanda Craig wrote that this is a book to set your ‘pulses racing’. It didn’t quite do that for me. Rather, despite the surprises round each corner, and the trials, perils and enemies that Tiuri faces, it’s a richly imagined, gentle and reassuring story, even suitable to be shared with someone under the age of ten, which unwinds at a relatively leisurely pace. Although instructed by the dying knight to trust no one, Tiuri’s own generosity and nobility of spirit is eventually matched by most of the adults that he meets, even some of those that initially appear forbidding: whether the hermit of the mountains; the civil resistance leaders who overturn a corrupt mayor; or the Kings of Unauwen and Dagonaut. It is a journey, too, that allows time for Tiuri to appreciate the varying beauty of the landscape and the cities through which he travels. Pushkin Press has been quietly making a name for itself with newly translated classics of children’s literature from other languages. With this book, skilfully translated by Laura Watkinson, Pushkin has happily become much more prominent. Dragt’s sequel, The Secret of the Wild Wood, which resolves the mystery of the murder and the letter, with which this story begins, will be published next year.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2014-07-01 01:00:102021-10-12 07:56:54The Letter for the King