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A carpenter in the West African country of Cameroon goes to a fortune teller and finds the predictions about his future coming true in an unusual way.
When fourth fiddler Sebastian loses his place in the Baron’s orchestra, he has to leave the only home he knows—which turns out to be the least of his troubles. He rescues a stray cat from a group of tormentors, who then smash his precious violin; and the troubled young boy he tries to help turns out to be the Crown Princess, on the run from an arranged marriage. Sebastian, Princess Isabel, and Presto the cat soon find themselves fleeing stuffy officials, hired assassins, furious guardsmen and sentries—and, in their journey, find out what is truly important in life.
The action and humor never stop in Lloyd Alexander’s classic novel, written on the heels of his famed Prydain Chronicles.
Set in the medieval-like kingdom of Westmark, this is the story King Augustine and Queen Caroline, who are so distraught over the disappearance of their daughter that they have allowed their kingdom to fall into the hands of their evil chief minister, Cabbarus. Cabbarus, desperate to keep the people unaware of his evil acts, has required government approval for any printed material to be published in the kingdom. When an idealistic young printer named Theo agrees to do a print job without getting prior permission, he begins a lifetime’s adventures.
When the sword of dyrnwyn, the most powerful weapon in the kingdom of Prydain, falls into the hands of Arawn-Death-Lord, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and Prince Gwydion raise an army to march against Arawn's terrible cohorts. After a winter expedition filled with danger, Taran's army arrives at Mount Dragon, Arawn's stronghold. There, in a thrilling confrontation with Arawn and the evil enchantress Achren, Taran is forced to make the most crucial decision of his life.
When Tamar, the young king of Sundari, loses a dice game, he loses everything—his kingdom, its riches, and even the right to call his life his own. His bondage is symbolized by the iron ring that appears mysteriously on his finger. To Tamar, born to the warrior caste, honor is everything. So he sets out on a journey to make good on his debt—and even to give up his life if necessary. And that journey leads him into a world of magic, where animals can talk, the foolish are surprisingly wise, and danger awaits…
“At every turn, there is adventure, magic, and often treachery, but most of all the quest for honor…Alexander offers a tale that is thoughtful without being leaden and moral without being moralistic. Alexander’s legion of fans will respond to the moments of high adventure as well as the many twists and turns, internal and external, that will make them think.”—Booklist, starred review