The Book of Knights

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A fantasy novel about a young boy who discoves a wonderful book that fills him with the desire to grow up to be knight—and whose desire is granted in strange and unexpected ways.

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The Book of Knights

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A fantasy novel about a young boy who discoves a wonderful book that fills him with the desire to grow up to be knight—and whose desire is granted in strange and unexpected ways.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An unpredictable, brilliantly imaginative, and very engaging fantasy."—Ursula K. Le Guin

"Like traditional medieval tales, Meynard's story is full of strange events and stranger creatures. In addition to these marvels, the story has a surprising emotinal depth. All in all, The Book of Knights is pure delight."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A Bildingsroman whose closest analogue would be an adult version of Noton's Juster's children's classic, The Phantom Tollbooth. The Book of Knights is a tale of self-discovery that will entertain and enlighten both children and their parents."—Washington Post Book World

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like Phyllis Gotlieb (see Flesh and Gold, reviewed above), Meynard is Canadian. He edits the SF magazine Solaris and has published six books in French, as well as a number of SF and fantasy stories in English. His first fantasy novel to be written in English is a coming-of-age tale of a young man desperate to become a knight. Raised in a society governed by a quasi-religious doctrine called "the Rule," Adelrune is fascinated by the dusty old copy of The Book of Knights he discovers in the attic of his foster parents' home. Eagerly abandoning the Rule for the romance of knightly honor, Adelrune runs away from home to seek out a sage named Riander and pays six years of his life for knightly training. Though the boy physically ages six years overnight, he still retains the mind of a youth. Eventually, Riander sends him on a journey as a final test of his abilities. Little does Adelrune realize that he will grow into his adulthood as well as his knighthood in the course of his adventures, even learning the secret of his own mysterious parentage. Though the plot rambles at times, Meynard's writing is deft, creating evocative imagery with the simplest language. (Feb.)
VOYA - Marlyn Roberts
The best word to describe this book is "unusual." Adelrune lives in a very oppressive society. Adopted by a stern, humourless couple, he is an abandoned child who takes to escaping to the attic before he goes to bed. Here he discovers The Book of Knights, which describes the adventures and deeds of several heroes, along with where they were trained. Eventually, Adelrune feels he cannot bear his life anymore and determines to find this "knight school." He packs some necessities in a pink tablecloth and sets off. Adelrune arrives a few days later, not without adventure, at a house that turns out to be the training place for all of the knights that he read about. The master of the house, Riander, admits to being the teacher of all those knights, but looks suspiciously young to have done so. Adelrune learns that this is because all of his former pupils gave him some of their youth. Adelrune agrees to do the same, and instantly ages several years. He studies with Riander until the teacher decides it is time for the young man to prove himself, and Adelrune sets out on a quest to find his signature weapon and armour. This quest requires much suspension of disbelief. Adelrune comes across a colony of women who live in the forest; defeats several terrible monsters; lives for a time in a floating city; and finally returns to his birthplace, finds his true father, and destroys him. For such an eventful story, there is a curious lack of emotion in the telling. The reader is left feeling very detached from the characters, and as a result does not really care about their fates. VOYA Codes: 1Q 2P S (Hard to understand how it got published, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
Spurred on by a miraculous book depicting the deeds of famous knights, a young boy leaves his foster home to seek his own destiny as a hero. The first English-language publication by French Canadian author Meynard evokes a fairy tale-like atmosphere in his depiction of the trials and tribulations of his young protagonist. The author's lyrical style accentuates the allegorical nature of this intensely compact tale of self-discovery. Transcending the fantasy genre, this novel belongs in most libraries.
Kirkus Reviews
First English-language fantasy from a Canadian author who hitherto has written in French. In the village of Faudace, the lives of young foundling Adelrune and his adoptive parents are governed by the austere precepts of the Rule. Hidden in the attic, Adelrune finds a dusty old tome, The Book of Knights, whose illustrated lives and deeds become his inspiration. And through the window of Keokle's toyshop, which he is forbidden to enter, he glimpses a large doll with a blue dress and blood on her face; for some reason, the doll mesmerizes him and he swears to rescue her, even though Keokle denies the doll's very existence. So Adelrune, now 12, runs away to find Riander, who, according to the Book, trains knights. Riander agrees to help, but Adelrune must pay for his training with six years of his life. Adelrune's final test is to discover his own weapons and armor. Various adventures follow: He helps some shelled beings persecuted by an evil magician, receives assistance from a band of women warriors and witches, crosses the steppe and outwits the dreadful Manticore, serves the vast Ship of Yeldred and forestalls a meaningless war, enters the forest to defeat the evil Queen of Cups, and eventually returns to Faudace to confront Keokleand solve the linked riddles of the doll and his own parentage. Mildly entertaining, with incidents reminiscent of highly diluted Jack Vance, but otherwise undistinguished.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312868314
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 3/15/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Yves Meynard lives in Longueuil, Quebec. He is the literary editor of the SF magazine Solaris, and has published several books in French. 

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Great Book

    Read this as a young adult and loved it. Definitely one of those books that stays with you. The story is so different than any other fantasy novel I have read. As I've grown older and re-read it I have found only more to like about it. There is a little bit of everything in it really. Worth a read most definitely!

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