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Arthur and the Forbidden City
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Arthur and the Forbidden City

3.2 7
by Luc Besson, Ellen Sowchek (Translator), Celine Garcia (Created by), Ellen Sowchek (Translator), Celine Fremaux Garcia (Created by)

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In Arthur and the Minimoys, internationally renowned filmmaker Luc Besson created a unique world where magical marvels abound, dark forces lurk around every corner, and a tribe of tiny people live hidden in an ordinary-looking garden. Now, in the thrilling conclusion to the epic adventure, Arthur, Princess Selenia, and Prince Betameche must find a way into the


In Arthur and the Minimoys, internationally renowned filmmaker Luc Besson created a unique world where magical marvels abound, dark forces lurk around every corner, and a tribe of tiny people live hidden in an ordinary-looking garden. Now, in the thrilling conclusion to the epic adventure, Arthur, Princess Selenia, and Prince Betameche must find a way into the heart of the most dangerous, terrifying place known to Minimoys -- Necropolis, the forbidden city, where malevolent wizard Maltazard the cursed rules with cruel power.

Luc Besson's two Arthur books were a spectacular success when they were first published in France, topping the best-seller lists for the year behind only Harry Potter. Join Arthur for the adventure of a lifetime, where he discovers that sometimes the smallest heroes can make the biggest difference.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This sequel to Arthur and the Minimoys is the conclusion to Arthur's quest to find a treasure of rubies and save his grandparents' home. We open with ten-year-old Arthur having been reduced to the size of the one-inch-tall Minimoys and searching with the Minimoy prince and princess for the treasure hidden somewhere in the world under the garden. The trio faces several obstacles while defeating the evil wizard, Maltazard, saving the Minimoys from genocide and rescuing the treasure. This story, as told by filmmaker Besson, reads more like a marginal movie—which is in production—than a first-rate children's book. Any reader who has not read the first book is obliged to take a lot for granted, for little background information is provided. Many of the choices made by the three adventurers are not clearly understood until the last chapters and even then some things remain unexplained. That ten-year-old Arthur has fallen in love with and "marries" the princess is an uncomfortable story line that does not ring true. The author seems to have managed to fit in every book/movie cliche ever used, including the seemingly-defeated villain suddenly whipping out a gun—in the presence of two police officers—to steal the treasure in the last chapter. Let us hope that, however unlikely, the movie is better than the book. 2005, Harper Collins, and Ages 10 to 14.
—Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This sequel to Besson's Arthur and the Minimoys (HarperCollins, 2005) continues the story of a boy who, in search of his missing grandfather lost while exploring in Africa, found himself shrunken to a half-inch tall. Arthur was caught up in an adventure with the Minimoys, a tiny race of people inhabiting his grandmother's garden. Here, Arthur journeys with the Minimoy Princess Selenia and her brother Betameche in search of the forbidden city of Necropolis, home of the villainous wizard Maltazard. They must make their way past sticky spider webs and Maltazard's threatening henchmen, and Arthur falls in love with Selenia. The author, a well-known film director, has not succeeded so well as a children's book author. The plot is weak and muddled. The prose-admittedly a translation-is filled with pronouncements laden with exclamation points and attempts at humor that weigh down the story. Readers also meet Arthur's parents, who act in buffoonish and inappropriate ways as they search for him. Arthur, in love, behaves as if he has at least passed puberty, although he's only supposed to be 10. He even marries Princess Selenia-who is alternately charming and annoying-fairly early in the story. Besson, however, plans to turn this weak tale into an animated adventure in 2006 that will feature Madonna as the voice of Princess Selenia. So beware, all those who decide to skip Forbidden City.-Walter Minkel, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This is the second half of the famed director's children's fantasy that began with Arthur and the Minimoys (p. 535). It is very bad indeed; however, attention must be paid, because Besson is making a movie of it, voiced by people like Madonna and David Bowie. The mishmash of a plot is matched by extraordinarily cliched writing-blood runs cold, all is lost, panic in the street, and on and on. Arthur, the ten-year-old hero, is miniaturized and under the garden of his grandmother's house, trying to save the Minimoys who live there from the evil Maltazard. In addition, he must rescue his anthropologist grandfather, and keep his grandmother's house from their evil landlord Davido. He is helped in his mission by Selenia, princess of the Minimoys. (She chooses him to be her king and seals their union by a kiss in the way of Minimoys; what this means for ten-year-olds can only be answered by the mind of the man who created The Fifth Element). Others aiding in the quest include her brother, a mole and Arthur's rescued grandfather. Genuinely, entirely and irredeemably awful and rescued by not a shred of imagination or delight. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Arthur and the Forbidden City

By Luc Besson

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Luc Besson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060596260

Chapter One

As the sun sank slowly over the peaceful valley, Alfred the dog opened one eye. A slight breeze signaled that the temperature might finally be bearable. He got up slowly, stretched his legs, emerged from the shadow of the windmill where he had been hiding, and trotted across the grass.

From the tall chimney of the house by the river, a young sparrow hawk followed the dog with its piercing eyes, but only for a few seconds. That prey was too large. The bird turned its head slowly, looking for another victim. Suddenly it let out a hoarse, powerful cry that awakened Grandma, who was stretched out on the couch in the living room.

Grandma sat upright. "How could I doze off like that?" she asked herself, rubbing her eyes. The events of the last few days came back to her. Arthur, her adored only grandson, had disappeared -- just as her husband had done four years earlier, in the garden by the oak tree in search of a treasure.

She had searched the garden from one end to the other, torn the house apart, and called for him from all the neighboring hills, without finding a trace of her grandson.

She imagined so many different explanations . . . perhaps extraterrestrials, for one. She imagined large green men coming down from the sky in theirUFO and kidnapping Arthur. She was almost sure of it.

She missed his little blond head, tousled hair, and two large brown eyes, always with their look of wonder. She missed his voice, as sweet and fragile as a soap bubble. A tear made its lonely way down her cheek.

She looked at the sky for a moment through the window. It was uniformly blue and desperately empty. No trace of extraterrestrials. She let out a long sigh and looked around her at the silent house.

It was lucky that the sparrow hawk had woken her up. The coolness of the room and the hypnotic tick-tock of the clock had made it impossible to resist taking a nap.

The young bird of prey cried again.

Grandma perked up her ears. She was ready to interpret anything as a sign, a mark of hope. She was convinced that the sparrow hawk had seen or heard something, and she wasn't entirely wrong. The bird was indeed declaring that he had heard something even before it was visible on the horizon.

That something was a car, accompanied by a cloud of dust that glistened in the sunlight. The sparrow hawk scrutinized the car from the chimney top as if he were equipped with radar.

Grandma listened carefully. She could hear a faint rumbling in the distance. The sparrow hawk let out two small cries, as if to indicate the number of passengers inside the car.

Grandma turned her head slightly, the way you would turn an antenna in order to capture a signal. The engine noise could suddenly be heard everywhere, and the trees began to stir, echoing its horrible sound.

The sparrow hawk decided it was time to leave, which was not a good sign. Perhaps he could sense the series of events that was about to take place.

Grandma jumped to her feet. There was no doubt about it -- the sparrow hawk had sent her a signal. Grandma composed herself, straightened her dress over her considerable frame, and searched frantically for her slippers.

The noise of the engine invaded the living room. Grandma stopped her search and headed toward the door wearing only one slipper, limping like an old pirate with a wooden leg.

The engine stopped. The door of the car squealed as it opened, and two worn leather shoes emerged, stepping onto the gravel. Grandma reached the door and struggled with the key.

"Why on earth did I lock the door?" she grumbled to herself, her head down. She did not notice the two silhouettes outlined by the sun behind the door.

The key rattled a little but finally turned in the lock. Grandma was so surprised by what she saw as the door swung open that she could not help letting out a little cry of horror.

There was nothing particularly horrible about the smiling couple standing on the landing, except perhaps their bad taste. The lady was wearing a dress with large purple flowers, the man a plaid jacket of greenish yellow. It was hard on the eyes but nothing to scream about.

Grandma stifled her cry and tried to convert it into a welcoming noise.

"Surprise!" chanted the couple, in perfect unison.

Grandma spread her arms and tried as best she could to assume a natural-looking smile. Her mouth said Hello while her eyes said Help.

"What a surprise," she ended up blurting out. Arthur's parents were standing in front of her, as real as a nightmare.

Grandma continued to smile, blocking the front door like a soccer goalie. Since Grandma was not moving, not speaking, but only stood there with her strange smile, Arthur's father was forced to ask the question that she feared the most.

"Is Arthur here?" he asked jovially, without a moment's doubt about what the answer would be.

Grandma smiled some more, as if hoping to suggest a positive answer without actually lying. But Arthur's father was waiting for a reply. So Grandma took a breath and said, "Did you have a good trip?"

This was not really the answer that Arthur's father was waiting for, but he was a good driver, so he launched into a detailed account. "We took the shortcut to the west," he explained. "The roads are narrow there, but according to my calculations we saved about twenty-five miles. Which means, given the price of a gallon of gas, that we -- "

"That we had to turn every three seconds for two hours," complained Arthur's mother. "The trip was a horror and I am grateful that Arthur did not have to suffer such punishment." Then she added, "So where is he?"

"Who?" asked Grandma, as if she were hearing voices.


Excerpted from Arthur and the Forbidden City by Luc Besson Copyright © 2006 by Luc Besson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Luc Besson is the highly acclaimed screenwriter, producer, and director of such movies as The Fifth Element, The Messenger: Joan of Arc, Leon, and La Femme Nikita. He lives in France.

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Arthur and the Forbidden City 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As we are bilingual French/English. we already had the pleasure to read the first 3 books (originally written in French) and the whole family had to take 'timeshare' to devore each of them. The fourth book should arrive next week by international mail... and we'll have family reading around the firepit! Can't wait for the movie! INCREDIBLE READING FOR ALL! PARENTS INCLUDED!
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
In this sequel to, or more properly continuation of, Arthur and the Minimoys, Arthur, whose grandfather Archibald had disappeared some four years earlier and whose grandmother is now in danger of losing their home to Mr. Davido because she can’t pay the mortgage, has been reduced in size so that he can journey underground to the land of the Minimoys in hopes of rescuing his grandfather and finding the jewels which Archibald had hidden in the garden so that the mortgage can be paid. The Minimoy king, Sifrat de Matradoy, has sent his daughter, Princes Selenia, and son, Prince Betameche, with Arthur to defeat the evil wizard Malthazard who appears to hold the key that will solve all these problems. Meanwhile, Arthur’s parents, who have been away trying to find jobs, return home to see their son for his birthday and are dismayed to learn that he’s disappeared like his grandfather before him. But when they hear about the treasure, they immediately begin frantically digging in the garden. Arthur, Selenia, and Betameche continue their travels, meeting all sorts of creatures and beings along the way, and eventually reach the forbidden city of Necropolis. Unfortunately, all three are captured and thrown into a deep, dark dungeon where they find Arthur’s grandfather. Then all of a sudden Malthazard just lets them go. What kind of evil plan does the wizard have? Will the travelers actually be allowed to escape? And what will happen with Grandma and the house? Middle-school aged readers will likely find the story of Arthur an enjoyable fantasy. There is very little objectionable. Some parents may question the advisability and age-appropriateness of the “love angle” between Arthur and Silenia with their “first kiss” and getting married, since Arthur is only ten years old. It is interesting that the Minimoy’s “second commandment was taken from a book that Archibald also often spoke of, but that had a title no one could remember” and is “love and respect your neighbor as yourself.” However, the first commandment is “Nothing justifies the death of an innocent.” The only reference to any kind of deity is in a “prayer” by the King, “May the gods hear you.” All in all, it seems to be a fairly likeable tale. There are two more sequels, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard and Arthur and The War of the Two Worlds. The four novels were originally published in France by Intervista. Both of the last two have been made into English speaking films (Arthur 2 and Arthur 3), but the books are apparently available only in French.
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