The Prydain Chronicles

Book cover for the Prydain chronicles. Shows a young celtic young man holding a sword aloft.Alexander, Lloyd

  • The Book of Three. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1964.
  • The Black Cauldron. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1965.
  • The Castle of Llyr. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1966.
  • Taran the Wanderer. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1967.
  • The High King. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1968.

In honor of Lloyd Alexander’s birthday (January 30), I present these wonderful adventure tales. These five books tell the tale of Taran, Assistant Pig Keeper of Caer Dallben.  Taran longs to know his parentage. An orphan raised by the wizard, Dallben he has lived quietly. His life seems dull as he tends the oracular pig, Hen Wen and learns homely gardening skills from Dallben’s loyal retainer, Coll. He longs for adventure, to learn the art of sword fighting and to go abroad in the world to right wrongs.

Although each of these books can stand alone, read as a group they show the growth of Taran from boy to man. He grows through experiences of hardship, pride, shame, courage and sorrow.  Taran, like many young people, struggles to find his true path.  He makes mistakes and seeks to correct them. He makes friends and enemies. On his adventures he travels the length and breadth of Prydain and learns about its people.

Like Frodo, he has steadfast companions.

  • Dallben, ancient wizard and Keeper of the Book of Three.  He found and raised Taran.
  • Coll, retired warrior, Head Pig Keeper, and farmer of Caer Dallben. He teaches Taran how to care for Hen Wen.
  • Eilonwy, a sorceress and Princess of Llyr.  She is practical and opinionated and feisty.
  • Gurgi, a creature of the forest, who proves his worth many times despite his moanings and groanings.
  • Flewder Flam, the Bard King of a small country.  He has a special harp from the Bard Taliesin. The harp’s string break  whenever Flewder exaggerates. Despite his frequent tall tales, Flewder is faithful and brave.
  • Prince Gwydion, son of King Math, really Taran is his companion. Gwydion is strong, wise, and faithful. Gwydion and Math are descendants of the Sons of Don, who come to Prydian from the Summer Country to defend Prydian from Arawn, the Lord of Death.
  • Doli, a dwarf.  Although it irritates him, Doli’s magic is that of invisibility.

Here are books worthy of a reader’s attention.  Pick them up and follow Taran on his adventures.

Lloyd Alexander

Five things to know about Lloyd Alexander

  1. The child of well-to-do parents who suffered bankruptcy, he shocked them at age 15 with the news he intended to be a writer.
  2. King Arthur was one of his heroes.
  3. He won the Newberry Award for The High King in 1969.
  4. The Black Cauldron was a Newberry Honor book in 1966.
  5. He met his wife Janine in France. They came back to the United States when Lloyd realized he needed to be home to be able to write.

You can go on and read more about this author at these websites.

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