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The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three…

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy…

by Adam Gidwitz

Other authors: Hatem Aly (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4322435,859 (4.19)47



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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
I probably should apologize to Adam Gidwitz. I was pretty tough on him for his Unicorn Society books. I still think it was well deserved, but I'm glad I gave him another chance. This book was leagues ahead. My advice is to stick with what he does well, which is storytelling grounded in history.

This type of book has been done before. But that was hundreds of years ago, via The Canterbury Tales, and it's about time someone brought us back to our medieval European roots. The story begins in an inn in France. What better place to have a mishmash of characters sitting around telling their tales? The town is bustling over the arrival of the king who is chasing after three kids and a dog. The inquisitor wants to know the backstory, so one by one the brewster, nun, librarian, butcher, innkeeper, jongleur, and chronicler come forward to fill in the story of how these children came to be wanted by the king.

The children are Jeanne, a peasant girl, William, a monk in training, and Jacob, a Jew. The children end up meeting when they flee their homes under unfortunate circumstances. Each one of them has a special talent which leads some religious leaders to think they are living saints. Gwenforte is Jeanne's dog, which has returned from the dead to accompany them on their journey to the abbey in Saint-Denis. Their crazy adventure, and it is crazy, ends with them trying to prevent a mass burning of all Jewish manuscripts.

Religion is front and center in this book as it was in medieval life. Jews were despised and it's clearly presented here since one of the children is Jewish. The clergy was prominent in society and were always looking to please the king and gain power. Sainthood, idol worship, heresy, it's all in here. Gidwitz lays it out there with a clever twist of humor that makes it a wildly entertaining read. At least for adults. Can't imagine too many kids would choose this book, but it would be a great class read for 9th grade Western Civilization. ( )
  valorrmac | Sep 21, 2018 |
Adam Gidwitz is the Christopher Moore of Middle Grade fiction. Not the Moore of The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove or Bloodsucking Fiends, but the Moore of Lamb and Fool—funny, irreverent, not above a good fart joke, and way more intelligent than you would gather from a casual read. The Inquisitor's Tale is maybe not as broadly humorous as his Grimm tales (though it is certainly not lacking in humor) nor is it as meta-fictional (though the narrator does inject himself into the story). It is, instead, much more philosophical and delves into matters of faith and friendship and morality and mortality. Gidwitz never shies away from the darker, more brutal aspects of humanity, but they are deftly balanced with grace and beauty and innocence. This is a book both sacred and profane; it will make you laugh and think and probably cry a little. It is a reading experience well worth having and may even make you believe in miracles. ( )
  BillieBook | Apr 1, 2018 |
I listened to this novel and for a children's recording it was superbly done. The reader's were all good at playing their roles, and the added bonus of hearing the bard sing, was an added bonus. It was a Newbery Honor Book in 2016 and I can understand why the Newbery committee gave it that honor. It is an unusual way of presenting some usual middle and high school history. However, as a novel, it is typical Gidwitz fare. It is a bit preachy with a rather heavy handed indignant tone. It is clearly meant to teach or to be a teaching tool and in that it succeeds. It is also meant to appeal to middle school aged boys - hence, the farting dragon. There are some good plot twits that reinforce the religious aspect of the novel and the lesson the author is trying to teach. Undoubtedly there is enthusiasm for the the Middle Ages and all the beauty and darkness of those times, but it will require the guidance of a teacher or parent for a child to get the full benefit of this novel. ( )
  benitastrnad | Feb 7, 2018 |
A tale of three children and a holy dog in thirteenth-century northern France, brought together by their ability to perform miracles. Adam Gidwitz has certainly done his homework, and I can see why the book won the Newberry Medal, but I can't quite see The Inquisitor's Tale appealing to its intended audience of children 10+. It's just a little too worthy, its purpose seemingly more to teach than to entertain. Adults might think it a wonderful gift—quirky! educational!—but would a kid even finish it? There's no magic to the book, the characters never feel three-dimensional, and it's tonally/morally inconsistent. (You can't just randomly transpose bits from medieval hagiographies into the text for verisimilitude, because the bit where one of the child characters slaughters people with the leg of a donkey sits really strangely alongside the section about vanquishing a farting dragon.) I feel like there's the core of an interesting novel for grown-ups here, and Gidwitz might have been better to write that one instead. ( )
  siriaeve | Dec 31, 2017 |
Newbery Honor 2017
  Clippers | Dec 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
What Gidwitz, the author of the Grimm trilogy, accomplishes here is staggering. “The Inquisitor’s Tale” is equal parts swashbuckling epic, medieval morality play, religious polemic and bawdy burlesque, propelling us toward a white-knuckle climax where three children must leap into a fire to save . . . a Talmud. And yet, the rescue of this single book feels like higher stakes than any world-incinerating superhero battle. Part of this is because “The Inquisitor’s Tale” is dense with literary and earthy delights, including Hatem Aly’s exquisite illustrations, which wrap around the text as in an illuminated manuscript. Working together, the art and story veer exuberantly between the high and the low to make Jeanne, Jacob and William feel like flesh-and-blood children, despite their holiness.
A final clarification, then: God is hot in children’s books from major non-Christian publishers this year. Ahhhh. That’s better. Indeed, in a year when serious literary consideration is being heaped upon books like John Hendrix’s Miracle Man, in walks Adam Gidwitz and his game changing The Inquisitor’s Tale. Now I have read my fair share of middle grade novels for kids, and I tell you straight out that I have never read a book like this. It’s weird, and unfamiliar, and religious, and irreligious, and more fun than it has any right to be. Quite simply, Gidwitz found himself a holy dog, added in a couple proto-saints, and voila! A book that’s part superhero story, part quixotic holy quest, and part Canterbury Tales with just a whiff of intrusive narration for spice. In short, nothing you’ve encountered in all your livelong days. Bon appétit.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gidwitz, Adamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aly, HatemIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adam, VikasNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bagby, BenjaminContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cowley, JonathanNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farr, KimberlyNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Ann MarieNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mann, BruceNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayer, John HNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morey, ArthurNarrator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, KristinBook and cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Glory be to God for dappled things. . .
All things counter, spare, original, strange.

-- G.M. Hopkins, "Pied Beauty"
You shall love your crooked neighbor
With all your crooked heart.

-- W. H. Auden "As I Walked Out One Evening"
To all those who labor in obscurity
to bring dark ages to light

-- A. G.
To my parents who unceasingly agreed
that there is always enough room for doodles

-- H.A.
First words
The king is ready for war.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525426167, Hardcover)

The bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm takes on medieval times in an exciting and hilarious new adventure about history, religion . . . and farting dragons.
1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children: William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead.
As the narrator collects their tales, the story of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

Their adventures take them on a chase through France to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned. They’re taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. And as their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 29 May 2016 19:40:27 -0400)

Crossing paths at an inn, thirteenth-century travelers impart the tales of a monastery oblate, a Jewish refugee, and a psychic peasant girl with a loyal greyhound, the three of whom join forces on a chase through France to escape persecution.

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