The Book of Three
The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 1
By Lloyd Alexander
Set in the fictional land of Prydain, The Book of Three follows the adventures of Taran, an Assistant Pig-Keeper, as he seeks to find his lost sow, the oracular pig Hen Wen. Frightened by the dreaded Horned King, Hen Wen escaped her pen at Caer Dallben, running into the nearby forest. Taran chases her and is soon embroiled in a myriad of adventures. Along the way, he makes several new friends, including Gwydion, prince of the Sons of Don, Eilonwy, princess of Llyr, Fflewddur Fflam, a wandering bard and king of a small realm, Gurgi, a small sasquatch-like creature, and Doli, a dwarf of the Fair Folk.
While the book tells a story of adventure, it’s mainly about a young boy learning the value of friendship and that what he really wants is what he already had. At Caer Dallben, Taran longs for honor and glory won in battle, but soon learns there is as much honor in a field well-plowed as in a sword well-wielded. Although not yet fully a man on his return, Taran has learned valuable lessons about life during his adventures.
Growing up, The Chronicles of Prydain were some of my favorite fantasy novels, second only to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and followed closely by The Chronicles of Narnia. They are written for a younger audience, but as an adult I still find them enjoyable and love reading them whenever I have the opportunity. I would recommend The Book of Three and the entire Chronicles of Prydain to all fans of fantasy.
This review originally appeared 9 March 2013 on fantasyreviewer.com