Reviewed June 1, 2008.
EOS (HarperCollins), New York, 2006. 194 pages.
Starred Review. Sonderbooks Stand-out 2008: #1, Children's Fiction
I loved this book! The Prophecy is exactly the sort of book I would love to write. A well-crafted, light fairy tale type story, it still packs a punch. I was completely charmed.
Prince Perryndon's father is the forty-fifth warrior king of Idris. Perryn would rather study than learn to fight.
However, when the king is home from the wars with the Norsemen, the master-of-arms makes a show of teaching Perryn to fight. The show only makes Perryn look like a fool and a failure and makes his father despise him all the more.
Then, studying in the library, Perryn discovers something that he thinks can win over his father after all: A prophecy that tells how to defeat the dragon! All they need is a true bard, a unicorn, and the Sword of Samhain.
The king scoffs at the prophecy, and scoffs at Perryn for believing it. However, his work does get him some attention.
When Perryn asks a magic mirror to show him any more writing about the prophecy, it shows him Cedric, the master-of-arms, writing a letter. In the letter, Cedric tells the Norsemen that Perryn has discovered the prophecy. He writes:
The sword was lost long ago, but magic often finds a way to raise itself. The boy is too weak willed to do anything on his own, but if he convinces his father to go looking for that sword, the dragon might be killed.
If Idris were prosperous and well manned, it would be almost impossible to conquer -- it is proving hard enough, even with the dragon eating away their strength from within.
So I will kill the boy. It can be made to look like an accident.
Now, knowing that Cedric will kill him at his first opportunity, Perryn decides to prove he is not too weak willed to do anything. He will assemble the pieces of the prophecy himself. If he can kill the dragon, surely he can win his father's approval.
I love the way Hilari Bell shows us a prince with plenty of strikes against him, yet who is desperate enough to find a way to do something and help his people.
A truly wonderful book. This is my favorite of all the books I read for this year's summer reading program.