THE INQUISITOR'S TALE: OR, THE THREE MAGICAL CHILDREN AND THEIR HOLY DOG -- an exciting and hilarious medieval adventure
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz (2016, Dutton Books For Young Readers; 384 pages)
This is a profound and ambitious book, and an example of great storytelling.
The story starts on a dark night in the year 1242, when a group of travelers gather at a small French inn. It is a perfect night for a story, and everyone in the kingdom is looking forward to learn more about the tale of three children: Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future (character loosely based on Joan of Arc); William, a young monk with supernatural strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy who can heal any wound. Together, their powers will be tested by demons and dragons, cruel knights and cunning monks. These three unlikely friends and their faithful greyhound are going to be chased through France to a final showdown in the waves at the foot of the abbey-fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel.
One of the most brilliant parts of this book is the manuscript illuminations created by illustrator Hatem Aly that offers the feel and texture of 13th-century France. They are also filled with the author’s trademark style and humor. The novel is a well-researched and engaging adventure, but it is more than that: it is a sweet and moving story about the power of friendship, curiosity and love of learning, all in a world filled with hate and narrow-mindedness.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is the closing author’s note chapter where he explains where the story came from. He explains how much of the novel is real and how much is made up, offers deep details of the main characters, and he also offers a historical context of the High Middle Ages, the time when The Inquisitor’s Tale takes place.
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Recommended by: Maite