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The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book One)
by Lloyd Alexander
Say you were a lowly assistant pig keeper in a castle, but you wanted to be something grander, something more important. Might you–perhaps–neglect your charge? Even if she was Hen Wen, the only oracular pig in all of Prydain? And instead try to learn sword making, sword-fighting, and other skills that befit a true warrior?
Because that’s what Taran does. He longs to become an expert swordsman and have adventures. But instead, he’s watching a pig. It’s true, she’s the most special pig in the kingdom, but wallowing in the mud isn’t Taran’s idea of an adventure. But when Taran’s on duty and all of the animals in Caer Dallben react to an approaching danger with terror, Hen Wen is so frightened she digs under her fence and escapes into the forest. Taran follows her. His plan is to rescue her and bring her back, but instead he manages to fall into the adventure he always craved.
With the dreaded Horned King on the loose and King Arawn gathering the forces of evil, Taran is soon in the middle of an adventure. But it’s not as easy being a hero as it might sound, and adventures are not as exciting when you’re in the middle of them as they are when you’re hearing them as legends. Taran’s bravery, cunning and, yes his swordsmanship, is put to the test…along with his connection to Hen Wen and his ability to think on his feet.
The Book of Three is the first book in an award-winning Chronicles of Prydain series, partially based on Welsh legends, with some of the best characters in children’s literature. A book that I read and re-read as a kid, with a quest that keeps its thrilling life or death drama.