Book Review: The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt

The Letter for the KingThe Letter for the King
Tonke Dragt
David Fickling Books, September 2015
ISBN 978-0-545-81978-7

Upon discovering a character I admire and adore, I often aspire to become that character.  Emulate a new role model, envision greater goals and dream of different worlds to conquer.  In this case, though, I would never set myself up for that fall.  Merely a human being, a perfectly plausible person; Tiuri is genuinely good.  And kind.  I believe that Tiuri is truly and actually, altruistic.

His epic journey to deliver a message of monumental importance took place many years ago.  A mission that today could be as simple as “send”, was an adventure only for the courageous and strong then.  Traveling alone, on horseback at best; stumbling through the forest by sheer will, hiding from the knights who considered him a murderer and a thief, at worst.

Tiuri is brave.  No.  Make that, bold—often foolishly so.  Although, to be fair, no fault can ever be found.  If ever there was a quintessential example of will power (aside from Frog & Toad “Cookies”, that is), Tiuri conveys it.  Wise beyond his years he is also, oddly, naïve.  A sincere listener, Tiuri ponders then proceeds.  Complexly concurrent, he has an uncanny ability to act instinctively.

But I’ve buried the lead.

Tiuri should not even be embarking on this endeavor.  Moments before he fled his kingdom, fleet on a stolen horse, with the furious owner following; Tiuri had been locked inside a silent chapel, reflecting upon the duties he would perform as knight to his beloved king; beginning at sunrise.

Tiuri’s abrupt departure meant sacrificing what he had worked towards his whole life (all sixteen years of it).  His decision seems reckless and a bit ridiculous.  But things aren’t always as they seem, and this cunning theme cuts through narrative cleverly guiding Tiuri as he encounters a plethora of peculiar people during his travels.

The Letter for the King reads like an instant classic.  While the fiction is fresh, the feel is familiar.  Mystery and intrigue magnificently merge with action and adventure, appealing to all senses.  The colorful characters encountered keep loneliness at bay and Tiuri on his toes.  11-year-old-me would have read this book over and over and over.

Reviewed by jv poore, March 2016.

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