The Book of Three – Lloyd Alexander [Usborne Modern Classics]



Harper Collins

October 2018

ISBN: 9781474943444

ISBN 10: 1474943446

Imprint: Usborne – GB

List Price: 14.99 AUD

Lloyd Alexander was one of America’s most loved and respected children’s authors winning the Newbery Medal in 1969 and U.S. National Book Awards in 1971 and 1982. His most famous work The Chronicles of Prydain series entranced readers of all ages. The Book of Three (1969) is the first in the series and well deserving of Usborne’s release in its modern classics series.

Taran is a young orphan who dreams of being a hero, while he labours on an isolated farm cared for by his guardians, Dallben the enchanter, and Coll, farmer and ex-soldier. While Taran is mostly charged with looking after Hen Wen, the oracular pig, he longs to be as mighty and famous as Gwydion, the High Prince of Prydain, of whom legends are still told.

When danger seems to be creeping closer in mysterious ways, Taran is instructed not to leave the farm but when Hen Wen escapes in terror he ignores his orders and follows her into the wilds of the forest. Thereafter he becomes embroiled in an escalating battle between good and evil encountering a very nasty sorceress, her young ward Eilonwy and a very odd minstrel called Fflewddur Fflam. Alexander drew upon Welsh legends to create his alternate history and much richness is to be found in this narrative of high adventure with its themes of trust, loyalty and self-sacrifice. Along the way as he repeatedly tests and proves himself, Taran reaches a point of realisation of just what is the most important aspect of his relatively ‘small’ life.

This is a fabulous read and holds up with all the freshness and inventive imagination of its original publication. For astute readers of around twelve years upwards this is just terrific and I will be certainly promoting it to my lovers of classic ‘great’ books.

2 responses »

    • I’d heard of the series but hadn’t read any until this – and I really loved it……..will search out the rest…..and of course, yes it’s inspired by the Welsh legends!

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