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The Letter for the King [Paperback]

Tonke Dragt
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 2.40 (30%)
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Kindle Edition 5.31  
Hardcover 11.89  
Paperback 5.59  

Book Description

5 Jun 2014


'Brilliant, extraordinary' The Times, Books of the Year

'Captivating, pulse-racing' Amanda Craig

'Gripping, delightful' Guardian


The fate of a kingdom depends on just one person...

When sixteen-year-old Tiuri answers a desperate call for help, he finds himself on a perilous mission that could cost him his life. He must deliver a secret letter to the King who lives across the Great Mountains a letter upon which the future of the entire realm depends.

It means abandoning his home, breaking all the rules and leaving everything behind even the knighthood that he has dreamed of for so long.

He must trust no one.
He must keep his true identity secret.
Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter.

'A passionate struggle to find justice, truth and chivalry in a world permeated by evil ... captivating' Sunday Times

'Gripping from its opening moment ... doesn't miss a beat ... a thrilling adventure which is full of heart' Julia Eccleshare

'A pulse-pounding epic ... will keep all high-fantasy addicts riveted from the first page' Metro

'Gripping, delightful and true' Guardian

Frequently Bought Together

The Letter for the King + The King of the Copper Mountains
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books (5 Jun 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1782690263
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782690269
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'An extraordinary odyssey that will grip child and adult and – if books could write – would have "make a movie of me!" scribbled all over its jacket ... what's not to adore?' The Times, Books of the Year

'This delightful book reads like a grown-up version of the classic children's books ... (The Hobbit, King Arthur etc) I devoured when younger. The plot is central, and extremely gripping, but the writing also delivers lovely detail and evocative description' Guardian

'A fantasy about a 16-year-old medieval squire who finds danger, true friendship and first love on a mission to deliver a letter that can save a kingdom. Award-winning translator Laura Watkinson conveys its rich symbolism, vividness and economy of style' Sunday Times, Books of the Year

'Captivating, pulse-racing' Amanda Craig

‘A fast-moving, wonderful old-style adventure … cinematic in its visual detail … a classic' Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

‘A classic quest narrative … a thoughtful and endearing hero, whose loyalty and nobility – qualities much ignored today – sustain him throughout … mystical and timeless’ Philip Womack, Literary Review

‘A truly old-fashioned (in every good sense of the word) tale of a daring quest through hardship and adversity. … From the first chapter to the last, it was an absolute pleasure’ Katy Noyes, New Books Magazine

'A fast-paced quest ... great for high-fantasy fans' Metro, Books of the Year

‘A charming story told simply and captivatingly… the first English translation of a classic of European children’s literature which … deserves to be richly treasured’ Booktrust


‘Fluidly translated by Laura Watkinson [The Letter for the King] is an old fashioned quest story... a wonderfully simple, wonderfully gripping story’ Melanie McDonagh, Spectator

‘If you find Game Of Thrones too gory or simply want to be ahead of the curve then this is for you. It's an epic adventure that will sweep you up into a world of knights, villainy and peril’ Stylist

‘[Tiuri] keeps us leaning close to catch every surprise, every thrill of suspense, every uplifting discovery and crushing disappointment, that propels this book along at a captivating pace, all the way to its most satisfying finish’ Mugglenet, 5-star review

‘Explores themes of bravery, loyalty, and commitment, along with a coming of age story which will inspire budding young readers today, just as it did when first released. The Letter for the King not only caters for a young adult audience but would also be an ideal bedtime story for parents looking to share reading with their children’ We Love This Book

‘A compelling story which twists and turns and keeps the reader gripped throughout’ Parents in Touch

‘If you want to read about a journey, about knights, about honour, about adventure and meeting crazy characters along the way, then this is exactly the book for you’ Books and Quills

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 years on ... and 2 generations overdue 13 Jan 2014
By Satago
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
50 years on ....
Now in my early 60's, I enjoyed reading the long-overdue English translation of this book immensely, having read it some 50 yrs ago in Dutch. Perhaps not quite as much edge-of-your-seat stuff as I remember it, but that's not surprising as it is a book aimed at children after all. My (English-speaking) daughter enjoyed it equally and is now looking forward to reading it to her young son who will soon be old enough to read it himself. A truly timeless story in every sense. A brilliant book for younger readers and grandparents alike!
I particularly like the framing of the book which uses the topography of the journey to help visualise the story, bringing it to life. It breaks the (long) story into 3-dimensional chapters which, I guess, help to make it so memorable and easily accessible for younger readers.
In my view, the translation by Laura Watkinson into English is flawless and at no time was I reminded that the book's original text wasn't written in English. I look forward to the next translation of one of Tonke Dragt's books!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best children's books ever 19 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This translation of a classic by Tonke Dragt has been so overdue! I've read the German version 30years ago and was keen to introduce it to my children. Depending on your child's maturity in reading I'd recommend it for ages 8plus at least.
Tiuri is a 'knight that is not a knight'- he is asked the night before his knighting ceremony to deliver a secret message to a faraway kingdom and so suddenly is thrown into a very much adult world with intrigue and scheming that has far reaching consequences, also for his own kingdom. He really gets to know the world outside his protected upbringing. An adventure story of growing up and facing one's own decisions, standing up for what is right and finding friendship/kinship on the way. Tiuri isn't a super-hero, he still is a 'boy' (hates that occasionally) and so the reader can identify with him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't even stop for lunch! 15 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An enthralling read. I started it one morning and didn't put it down until the end. The story is exciting and engaging (with many plot twists and gripping moments), but easy enough to share with young ones.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An old friends in new clothes 14 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The hardback version of this book is a beautiful thing in it's own right. The cover and internal illustrations are of a style I find both gorgeous and comforting. This, in combination with the style of the story within, reminded me of the books I read as child; The first ones to transport me to another time and place.

I would describe this book as being like an old friend in new clothes, or someone you've just met but somehow feel like you've known forever.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! 31 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My 10 year old received this as a Christmas present and has just spent the last two days reading the book. He asked me to add a review and to describe the story as "awesome!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic book 3 Jan 2014
By pip
Format:Kindle Edition
I absolutely loved this book! I am a primary school teacher and I needed some great books to recommend to my 10 year olds. I just know they will love it too. It has adventure, excitement, tension, mystery and friendship. Brilliant!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
(Review for NewBooks magazine)

It is nighttime. Dark, silent. There's a loud, insistent knocking on the door. A stranger urgently pleads with you to get a message to the King. You agree. "Do you have his email address? A number to send a text to?" Bish, bash, bosh. Message sent. End of story. Not exactly a thrilling read.

This might be the scenario of The Letter for the King if it were written as a contemporary novel. Well, thank goodness this translation of the original, written in 1962, is a truly old-fashioned (in every good sense of the word) tale of a daring quest through hardship and adversity. No quick way out, no short cuts, no technology. For me, it was a Hobbit / Lord of the Rings-type quest saga without the magic (or the dwarfs), but probably more enjoyable.

When I picked it up, I was daunted by the fact that it's a children's book that tallies up at a rather weighty 450 pages. Would a 10 year old want to wade through a book that size? Would a parent want to read 450 pages to their child?

Well, I now cannot wait for my own toddler to be old enough for me to read this to him. From the first chapter to the last, it was an absolute pleasure, one I as an adult reader enjoyed immensely.

In the great tradition of the Arthurian quest legends, the story concerns a sixteen year old, Tiuri, who, on the eve of his knighting ceremony, is disturbed from his vigil of silence by a knock at the door. Against the rules, he cannot help but break his vow of silence and agree to help the desperate stranger who comes to him seeking help in getting an important letter to the king of a neighbouring land. Knowing he will not now be knighted, Tiuri leaves without money or supplies to find the Black Knight with the White Shield.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best children book ever 25 Oct 2011
By jol
I have been waiting for this book for a long time! I read the Dutch version and have been wanting to give the translated version to English speaking friends. I never understood why it took so long for it to finally be translated. It's a book you can not put down! Now the movie that was made in 2007-2008 still needs translation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 12 hours ago by Romula Arkel
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I really enjoyed this book and I'm not the age group it's aimed at. Adventure with a quest. What more could you want? Read more
Published 5 days ago by Jojo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 19 days ago by claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchantingly wonderful ageless fiction
Enchantingly wonderful ageless fiction.

LOL about UK's isolation of children's literature in English translation - about 1%. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Epicu R US
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodness Wins!!!!
What a lovely book, just great.

So many familiar tropes about growing up, and fantasy worlds and stories, but written in a refreshing winsome way. Read more
Published 23 days ago by G. Bethune
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventures in a fairy tale-like land
This is a pure delight to read. I am an adult but all the same, enjoyed this book, so well written (and translated) that it definitely isn't only for children. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ann Fairweather
5.0 out of 5 stars The letter for the King
Brilliant book, love it. I have b ought it for my Grand Daughter, who will be 9 shortly. She will love it too.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Jennifer P. Garner
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books that I've read! :-)
it goes without saying, Tonke Dragt knows how to write a awesome story!
bought this on my kindle fire, only thing I might say is that it is slightly expensive, but it is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Timothy Gray
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a struggle
Many good features but ultimately I found this struggle to complete, not sure I could recommend to any young person
Published 2 months ago by Professor Tom Cannon
5.0 out of 5 stars Best kids' book ever!
I've been waiting for this to be translated so long! And it's awesome! Please please translate the sequel as well!
Published 2 months ago by CastleEcho
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