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The Arkadians

The Arkadians

4.6 12
by Lloyd Alexander

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Three unusual companions—one fantastic journey!

Lucian is on the run from a pair of murderous soothsayers. Joy-in-the-Dance knows magic and marvels, and is on a quest. Fronto is a poet-turned-donkey who wants to break the spell that turned him into an animal. The three of them join forces and set out through Arkadia—on an amazing trip that will change


Three unusual companions—one fantastic journey!

Lucian is on the run from a pair of murderous soothsayers. Joy-in-the-Dance knows magic and marvels, and is on a quest. Fronto is a poet-turned-donkey who wants to break the spell that turned him into an animal. The three of them join forces and set out through Arkadia—on an amazing trip that will change their lives.

“Master storyteller Alexander keeps the action brisk, packs the text with a riveting collection of weird characters, fantastic settings, plot twists, derring-do, heroes, villains, magic, prophecy, humor, shipwrecks, fires—what more could readers ask for?”—Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A good, involving story. Readers already acquainted with Greek literature and legend will enjoy picking out familiar threads."—Publishers Weekly

"An expertly developed cast of characters rounds out this witty epic that's filled with romance and adventure. . . . On one level, this is a rousing adventure complete with cliffhangers and do-or-die stituations. On another, readers familiar with Greek mythology will find clever hints at the myths' purpose and genesis. . . . The plot has many twists and turns, but is not hard to follow, and Alexander's style is eminently readable."—School Library Journal

"Part Greek myth, part Canterbury Tales, part Wizard of Oz, Alexander's latest is also a story with a feminist sheen. Done in epic style, the book almost brims over with tales, twists, and trouble. . . . Alexander is as good as anyone when it comes to creating strong women characters, and one of the most interesting things about this book is his focus on the goddess culture and its role in both history and myth. A rousing tale ."—Kirkus Reviews

Lucian is about to be put to death, but he escapes and meets a mysterious spirited girl and a poet who has been enchanted and turned into a donkey. His adventures with kings, commoners and wise women makes for an engrossing, changing story of magic and faraway lands. — Midwest Book Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lucian flees corrupt palace officials in pre-classical Greece, his flight becoming a quest to discover his role in life. Soon, he's trying to help a second-rate poet turned donkey regain human form. Roaming the land, he also gets caught up in the great conflict between followers of the mother goddess and believers in the Olympian pantheon. Fortunately, he has the help of Joy-in-the-Dance, a young prophetess, in a relationship strikingly similar to that of Taran and Eilonwy in Alexander's five-volume Prydain Chronicles. And like the Prydain novels, this adventure draws heavily on a great body of myths and legends. Perhaps to accommodate the constraints of a single volume, Alexander relays many myths in comic, de-bunked forms-he shows poets transforming a clan of horse-riders into centaurs, a skilled mariner separated from his barmaid love into the epic hero Odysseus. Even with much of the raw material developed only minimally, the result is a good, involving story. Readers already acquainted with Greek literature and legend will enjoy picking out familiar threads. Ages 10-up. (June)
The ALAN Review - Elizabeth Poe
The Kingdom of Arkadia is deeply steeped in problems: slow-witted King Bromios is puppet to corrupt soothsayers; bean-counter Lucian requires a new occupation; poet-turned-talking-jackass Fronto wants a retransformation; oracle Joy-in-the-Dance seeks guidance; scapegoat Op needs somewhere to belong; Shipmaster Oudeis owes The Lady of Wild Things a favor; and goat-boy Catch-a-Tick craves heroic adventure. These travelers band together to overcome personal and political problems, and, in the process, learn much about Arkadian lore. Stories abound in this delightful fantasy adventure, many of which are not actual retellings of Greek myths, but rather fictional pretellings, suggesting the embellishment-gathering nature of oral tradition. Readers needn't be familiar with Greek mythology to partake of the wit and wisdom of these winsome Arkadians, but it's a lot of fun to identify the classical stories that are playfully woven into this engaging epic.
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
A make-believe world closely related to Greek mythology is the setting for this exciting young adult novel featuring the adventures of Lucien, a young, former bean-counter, Joy-in-the-Dance, a beautiful but feisty mystic, Fronto, a poet turned donkey and many other colorful but strangely believable characters. Many tales loosely based on Greek mythology are skillfully woven into the action and romance of the main story, while some of the myths, such as the story of the labyrinth and the Minotaur form important parts of the novel's plot. The author's unusual but appealing characters and lively, graceful style of writing should make the novel enjoyable even for those readers who do not catch the sometimes rather subtle allusions to mythology.
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-In Lloyd Alexander's adventure fantasy (Dutton Children's Books, 1995), a lowly court bean counter, Lucian, makes an almost fatal mistake by doing his job well. His innocent honesty backfires, and instead of being rewarded for finding a discrepancy in the palace inventory, Lucian must flee for his life. On his picaresque journey he encounters Fronto, a poet turned into a donkey, an irritating yet attractive young free spirit named Joy-in-the-Dance, and other unique companions and adversaries. The mythology of ancient Greece is the backdrop, and the characters pause frequently while one relates a tale reminiscent of Greek myths. This remarkably well-produced reading dramatizes the story without letting listeners forget Alexander's deft artistic hand. A variety of voices is used for the characters. Particularly notable are those characters who are creations of Alexander's rich imagination. The voice variations are energetic yet never forced, making the characters easy to differentiate. The sound quality is crisp without the loss of a single word. A special treat is the storytelling as the characters settle in for these story-within-a-story segments. The effect is an authentic recreation of the oral tradition framed in a modern fantasy novel. This recording of a choice piece of literature will be an excellent selection for school and public libraries.-Nancy L. Chu, Western Illinois University, Macomb

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Born on January 30, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, storyteller Lloyd Alexander spent his childhood filling his imagination with fantasies about other lands and eras. For ten years of his writing career, Alexander wrote for adults, then changed gears and wrote fiction for young people. Lloyd Alexander has received a Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor Award, a National Book Award, and several IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Awards. He is also the author of many ALA Notable Children’s Books and School Library Journal Best Books of the Year.

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The Arkadians 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Arkadians The Arkadians was an exciting and funny book by Lloyd Alexander. The whole book is about getting a man who was changed into a donkey, back to normal. The band of travelers who get him there, grow in greater numbers throughout the book. All characters have a great personality. In this story there are many other smaller stories within it. Much storytelling is done between the characters. Mythology is a big part to the book and it makes everything more intriguing. The Arkadians is an intense story with a little romance. This is definitely one of Lloyd Alexander¿s better books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my absolute favorite Lloyd Alexander novel. There's something so memorable about it. I read it years ago, and am still in awe of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lloyd Alexander is amazing! Once again, he has proven that he has immense writing skills. Funny, enchanting and light-hearted, this book is good for all ages. The ending was surprising but witty and the whole story (the characters and places) were outstanding. Highly recommended to any Lloyd Alexander fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an exciting book, and I liked the fact that Greek Mythology has a part in it. I would reccomend this book to anyone who enjys fantsy and Greek Mythology, and even if you don't, it's a goo book to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. You will find it especially entertaining if you like mythology, but even if you don't it is still a terrific book. In my opinion it is one of Lloyd Alexander's best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. It displays all aspects of adventure, humor, romance and has a high level of suspense that will keep you from putting it down. The ending will thrill and surprise you. It's a timeless tale that you will enjoy reading over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am usually the type of person who is not in to adventure and fantasy books but when I started reading this book it was so good. I loved how the author includes some great mythology. I liked that and also it felt like it took place in Greece but it wasn't exactly like Greece. A very good adventure that everyone and anyone will love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never read anything by Lloyd Alexander when I picked up this book. I really like the way he writes, and this book is a truly enjoyable tale with many ancient mythological tales mixed in. Don't be surprised if some of the stories within the story are familiar. Really a fun read!