Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Black Cauldron

By Lloyd Alexander

In the imaginary land of Prydain, where “evil is never distant,” Prince Gwydion faces dangers more threatening than have ever been dreamed of. It has become imperative that the Black Cauldron, chief implement of the evil powers of Arawn, lord of the Land of Death, be destroyed. For each of the warriors chosen to journey to Arawn’s domain, the quest has special meaning. To Ellidyr, the youngest son of an impoverished king, it means a chance to satisfy his bitter longing for fame. For Adaon, beloved for his gentleness and bravery, the quest is an omen whose significance he dreads to discover. And to Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, the adventure seems a glorious opportunity to wear his first sword, and be a man among men. In this story, filled with great sacrifice and great adventure, each warrior fulfills his destiny in ways entirely unforeseen.

Before you ask, yes, this is the book that Disney based it's own animated version on. But, as per usual, it is quite different from the Disney movie. I can't say enough about this series, of which the first book is The Book of Three, which follows the adventures of Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran and Princess Eilonwy of Llyr. Author Lloyd Alexander is a master story-teller of the high style, very reminiscent of Tolkien, except these books are for a younger audience. If you like the journey-type adventure stories and memorable characters like Gurgi and Flewdur Fflam, you will love this series. After more than 40 years, it's still a story for everyone.

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