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The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

The Book of Three (original 1964; edition 1976)

by Lloyd Alexander

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4,6291031,030 (4.01)1 / 212
Title:The Book of Three
Authors:Lloyd Alexander
Info:Dell Yearling (1976) Edition: Sixth, paperback, 224 pages
Collections:All the Ebooks, Your library, Childhood Books
Tags:fiction, juvenile, fantasy, medium paperback, read, read in 2012, have ebook, Calibre import, @Garrett

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The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964)


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Prydainin kronikan ensimmäisessä osassa Taran, Caer Dallbenin apulaissikopaimen voivottelee tylsää elämäänsä Dallbenin, tietäjän luona. Hänen elämänsä muuttuu kertaheitolla kun ennustajasika Hen Wen pakenee ja Taran lähtee etsimään sitä. Taranin tie muuttuu vaaralliseksi kun pimeyden ruhtinas alkaa etsiä sikaa käyttääkseen sitä omiin tarkoitusperiinsä. Taran kohtaa matkallaan mitä mielikuvituksellisempia tovereita ja vihollisia, ja oppii monia uusia asioita itsestään ja maasta jossa asuu.
Tarina on jännittävä ja mukaansatempaava, joskin kieli on selvästi nuorille suunnattua. Koko kronikassa osia on viisi.
  Heps | Nov 25, 2015 |
Lloyd Alexander was one of the patron saints of my reading youth, and I don't know how many times I checked out the Prydain Chronicles from our local library. The Book of Three is the first in the series and introduces the main characters: Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper; Eilonwy, princess; Fflewddur Fflam, bard and sometime king; Gurgi, nondescript talking creature; and Gwydion, noble prince and warrior.

Taran, an orphan under the care of the wise enchanter Dallben, is discontent with his quiet lot taking care of the oracular pig Hen-Wen. But when Hen senses a malevolent evil and flees, Taran must find her and soon meets enough adventure and danger to satisfy even the most restless of Assistant Pig-Keepers. Along the way he meets the feisty Eilonwy, smelly Gurgi, and (mostly) honest Fflewddur — all old friends of mine.

Reading it now, I see how deeply Alexander was influenced by Tolkien. Gurgi = a friendly-fied Gollum, Gwydion = Aragorn, Arawn = Sauron, Cauldron-Born = Ringwraiths, etc. More in the second book than the first there's the concept of a single evil weapon that will ensure the Dark Lord's success and can only be destroyed at great personal cost. But there's so much that's different, too, drawing on the rich legendarium of Welsh mythology.

A small quibble, but one only strengthened by this mature reread: right in the first chapter, Dallben's detailed discourse to Taran explaining the Book of Three is awkwardly inserted. Yes, we need to know the info, but the occasion for such a clear info-dump is not convincing. I remember thinking before how awkwardly it was done, and this reread only confirmed it. Thankfully, there are no more such missteps in the rest of the series. So strange that it would land in the first chapter, which is usually given such intense editorial scrutiny.

Besides that one qualm, I love this book. The action is engaging, the characters well rounded, the humor funny, the stakes high. The Book of the Three is a classic young adult fantasy tale that opens a series of equal quality. I can't wait for my children to experience it the first time! ( )
1 vote wisewoman | Nov 10, 2015 |
Superb children's fantasy that I am delighted to discover stands up perfectly well. This series was one of the cornerstones of my childhood reading - well, early to mid-teens at any rate. The tale of Taran, Assistant Pig Keeper and his heroic companions is thrilling, classic, warm, funny, scary stuff. There is brilliant use of Welsh mythology and fantastic writing and wonderful characters who grow and change through the series, though none more so than Taran himself, who starts out with dreams of adventure and glory, only to find actual adventuring difficult and muddled and full of mistakes and terrors. I identified absolutely with Taran, which made his growth to maturity in later volumes all the more powerful. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Taran, the newly found assistant pig-keeper of an oracle white pig named Hen-Wen, finds himself wanting more. In his village of Caer Dallben, he dreams of sword fights, victorious battles, and of being a hero. Little does he know, his hero journey is right around the corner, with a heavy black storm, the animals of Caer Dallben flee their pens, including Hen-Wen, the pig who has the answer. Although young Taran is brave & stubborn enough for forty people, he will learn what it means to be a true hero; teamwork. ( )
  candyceutter | Sep 24, 2015 |
I loved this book as a child, having been introduced to the series through the Disney film. It combines memorable characters with excellent humour and a relentless plot — all based in a mythical landscape that's deeply reminiscent of Wales. What's not to like? ( )
  markbarnes | Feb 20, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hale, ShannonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JodyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilhjerta, Ritva-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the children who listened, the grown-ups who were patient, and especially for Ann Durell.
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This chronicle of the Land of Prydain is not a retelling or retranslation of Welsh mythology. Prydain is not Wales—not entirely, at least. The inspiration for it comes from that magnificent land and its legends; but, essentially, Prydain is a country existing only in the imagination.

[From Lloyd Alexander's "Author's Note" to The Book of Three (1964)]
Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes. And so it had been horseshoes all morning long. Taran's arms ached, soot blackened his face. At last he dropped the hammer and turned to Coll, who was watching him critically.

[From "The Assistant Pig-Keeper", chapter 1 of Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three (1964)]
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Blending rich elements of Welsh legend and universal mythology, Lloyd Alexander creates the imaginary kingdom of Prydain to tell a tale of enchantment, both good and evil, and of the Assistant Pig-Keeper who wants to become a hero.

In an enthralling chronicle, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper to a famour oracular sow, sets out on a hazardous mission to save Prydain from the forces of evil. He meets adventures in which humor and valor are blended in a way that will keep readers of all ages completely absorbed — for this is fantasy that is rooted in reality and truth.

Mr. Alexander says in his introductory note: "Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart."

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805080481, Paperback)

The tale of Taran, assistant pig keeper, has been entertaining young readers for generations. Set in the mythical land of Prydain (which bears a more than passing resemblance to Wales), Lloyd Alexander's book draws together the elements of the hero's journey from unformed boy to courageous young man. Taran grumbles with frustration at home in the hamlet Caer Dallben; he yearns to go into battle like his hero, Prince Gwydion. Before the story is over, he has met his hero and fought the evil leader who threatens the peace of Prydain: the Horned King.

What brings the tale of Taran to life is Alexander's skillful use of humor, and the way he personalizes the mythology he has so clearly studied. Taran isn't a stick figure; in fact, the author makes a point of mocking him just at the moments when he's acting the most highhanded and heroic. When he and the young girl Eilonwy flee the castle of the wicked queen Achren, Taran emotes, "'Spiral Castle has brought me only grief; I have no wish to see it again.' 'What has it brought the rest of us?' Eilonway asked. 'You make it sound as though we were just sitting around having a splendid time while you moan and take on.'" By the end, Alexander has spun a rousing hero's tale and created a compelling coming-of-age story. Readers will sigh with relief when they realize The Book of Three is only the first of the chronicles of Prydain. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:33 -0400)

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Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper to a famous oracular sow, sets out on a hazardous mission to save Prydain from the forces of evil.

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