Monday, July 15, 2013

The Perilous Gard

by Elizabeth Pope
New York : Scholastic, Inc. 1993.

When her sister Alicia thoughtlessly sends a note to Queen Mary about how abominable the castle where Princess Elizabeth is kept, her sister Kate is exiled. She is sent to the remote Perilous Gard, where she soon finds out that the gruff but kind Sir Geoffrey and a young man named Christopher Heron have a secret. Some of the people of the castle seem afraid to tell her too much, and only reference Those in the Well with a bit of awe. Kate can't help but get involved, whatever Christopher Heron may tell her!

This was a Newbery Honor book in 1975, and it's too bad it's not better known because it's a really enjoyable book, and didn't feel dated at all. This was the sort of book that I hesitated to put down at the end of my breaks at work, and wanted to pick up whenever I had a free moment. The plot is generally compelling, as the tension builds and time is running out. Those of the Well had a deliciously creep other-worldliness to them. Kate's as strong a character as some heroines of modern fantasy. She and Christopher were fabulous characters, and I enjoyed their banter. I would unhesitatingly read it again.

A word on the cover: I've included the cover that was on the copy I read, but in my opinion it's awful. Clearly no one in the department that worked on it had read the book or Kate would not have that sort of desperate heroine look about her.

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