Monday, October 24, 2016

THE INQUISITOR'S TALE by Adam Gidwitz





The Inquisitor's Tale (Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog) by Adam Gidwitz, illuminated by Hatem Aly (Sept 27, 2016, Dutton Children's Books, 384 pages, for ages 10 and up).

Synopsis (from the publisher):  1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.
 
Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne’s loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.


Why I recommend it: A medieval story that's still quite timely. It speaks volumes about the way we treat each other today. It's also one of the most unusual MG novels I've ever read. You'll find yourself so caught up in the story and so curious about where this is leading that you'll want to put off tasks and cancel appointments just so you can keep reading. (Not that I, coughcough, did those things...)


Favorite lines: There are so many! It's a very quotable book. Randomly picking one:  "William always admired the Italian boys' way of looking up from under their eyebrows that was either totally respectful or utterly disrespectful, and you could never tell which." (from p. 35 of the advanced reading copy)

Bonus: It's illuminating as well as entertaining. You'll learn a lot about thirteenth-century France. Adam Gidwitz spent six years researching this novel and it paid off beautifully.


Author's website

For another take on this book (and a fun interview with the author) visit Middle Grade Mafioso's post from October 3, 2016.


18 comments:

  1. What an interesting story line! Thanks for sharing. It sounds like the characters would be ones I'd enjoy reading about.

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    1. It certainly is the most unusual story line I've come across in a while, Greg.

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  2. I agree with Greg. This sounds really interesting, and the three main characters are so different and compelling.

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    1. Plus, it should appeal to both boys and girls.

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  3. A timely Canterbury Tales, for MG? I'm super intrigued by this, and also wondering why it hasn't been done before! Adding it to me TBR pile, and nudging it toward the top. :D

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    1. I know, right? Whenever someone does something new like this, we wonder why no one else ever thought of it!

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  4. You got me with the farting dragon! Just kidding. I do like books set in the medieval time. The characters really sound well-developed and very interesting. Excellent review!

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    1. Ha ha, well that's just one chapter, Patricia. I love medieval times too.

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  5. I just started this. The whole Canterbury tales aspect of the tale being told by different narrators was intriguing. I do love MGs set in the middle ages. Karen Cushman also does this time period well.

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    1. Oh, yay! Hope you find it as fascinating as I did. And yes, I've read many books by Karen Cushman. I also thought of her as I read this.

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    1. You might like this, Susan. It's medieval France.

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  7. I keep hearing about this book. It sounds terrific. Thanks for the post.

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  8. Thanks for the shout-out, Joanne! As you know, I enjoyed this novel very much.

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    1. And I really enjoyed your interview with Adam!

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  9. This sounds like so much fun. I just saw it at the library yesterday and now I will have to add it to my list for next time. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.