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The Perilous Gard Paperback – October 29, 2001
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Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life
Bestselling author James Patterson's most beloved middle grade protagonist, Rafe Khatchadorian, is getting the Hollywood treatment. Hardcover
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Top Customer Reviews
_The Perilous Gard_ is based on several traditional English and Scottish ballads, mainly Tam Lin. Elizabeth Pope further fleshes out the ballad's structure by rooting its elements in even older legends and traditions; the magical well that is the entrance to the faerie land is straight out of the Mabinogion, and the Faerie Queen's sinister plans for her handsome captive echo the ancient Celtic tradition of the sacred king's sacrifice. And all of this comes together to make perfect sense; the Celtic framework provides the background information that the ballad lacked.
Into this magical world comes Kate, a wonderful heroine who is challenged over and over, and meets every test with amazing emotional strength. She proves herself the equal of the faerie folk when she is kidnapped into their land; later she stands up bravely to save her friend Christopher when he is to be sacrificed. In this version of Tam Lin, the "holding fast" that Kate must do is symbolic and psychological; the guy doesn't actually turn into wild animals and stuff, and what happens instead is even better. And the ending--the ending is PERFECT. I don't think I've ever read a better ending, in any novel. Kate shows her true strength and mettle, and everything turns out exactly right. I won't give it away, but there is a great sense of "rightness" at the end. This is the good stuff.
Kate is a lady-in-waiting for Princess Elizabeth during Queen Mary's reign. Her sister gets Kate exiled to the Perilous Gard, a keep in the middle of the Elvenwood. Her new guardian, the sensible yet likeable Sir Geoffrey Heron is called away almost immediately, leaving Kate in the care of the menacing Master John. Christopher Heron, Sir Geoffrey's brother, is a myterious and intriguing shadow around the manor, and there are rumours in the castle that he killed his neice in order to protect his inheritance. The villagers have a different explanation, though: that the little girl was stolen by the Faerie people who tend the Holy Well. As Kate investigates these rumours, she and Christopher are swept into a terrifying and deadly adventure.
The characters of Kate and Christopher are wonderfully round and engaging. Kate is smart, curious, practical and sharp-tongued, while Christopher is honorable, guilt-ridden, and full of dreams. These are two people I wish I knew! Sir Geoffrey, Master John, and the minstrel Randal are also developed well. Kate's sister Alicia, and the old maid Dorothy aren't so well developed, but still serve their functions in the story. The Lady in the Green is a fascinating and mysterious character as the Queen of the Pople of the Hill.
I highly recommend this book - this book is definitely deserving of the Newbery Honor!
Those of you who are Tam Lin fans will also enjoy "Fire and Hemlock" by Diana Wynne Jones. That book approaches the ballad of Tam Lin in a completely different way--and it's so complex and so compelling!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Set in 1558 England, The Perilous Gard tells the story of Kate Sutton, a young maid to Princess Elizabeth who is exiled by Queen Mary I to a remote, countryside castle. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ViolettePen
A favorite since I was a kid, and now a favorite of my 10 year old daughter. Great storytelling, solid historical detail, and a really gorgeous and subtle twist on a familiar... Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Burns
Loved this book as a child. Bought it as a gift for my niece, who also enjoyed it.Published 3 months ago by Cedars
How on earth is anyone rating this with anything more than one or two stars?? It's long, boring, filled with unnecessary descriptions and endless dialogue! Read morePublished 5 months ago by CassD
My sister has been recommending this book to me for ages, so I decided to buy it using a gift card I'd been given. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Loonyhed
One of my absolutely favorite books. Ranks with Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre for me. The perfect combination of Fantasy and History. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mary Ann Stanley
I read and loved The Perilous Gard when I was about thirteen or so. I reread it just recently, after recommending it to my niece, and it holds up so well even as an adult. Read morePublished 9 months ago by M. K. Curtiss
Elizabeth Pope was one of my favorite professors... a lovely human being with a childlike enthusiasm and a true scholar's depth. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Tale Bearer
I love this book, it's a keeper. Treats the subject of fairyland very differently and almost belivevable. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Alma Rinasz