Synopses & Reviews
When Prince Jen volunteers to search for the legendary court of T?ien-kuo, a mysterious old man chooses six gifts for him to bear in homage: a saddle, a sword, a paint box, a bowl, a kite, and a flute. Puzzled by the gifts but full of high spirits and pride, Jen sets off?but stumbles almost immediately into a series of misfortunes. Only with the help of his faithful servant, Mafoo, and valiant flute-girl, Voyaging Moon, and only after a breathtakingly exciting string of adventures can Jen discover the real meaning of the gifts and face his true destiny. . . .
"When Prince Jen hears of the happy, prosperous land of T'ien-kuo, he vows to seek out its ruler and learn from his example. And so he sets out, bearing six humble gifts for the emperor of T'ien-kuo. Readers versed in the logic of fairy tales will not be surprised when Jen's route veers from his original plan and the six gifts end up in hands other than those of T'ien-kuo's lord. Along the way, Jen falls in love, has a number of run-ins with an ambitious, bloodthirsty bandit and slowly descends from his exalted station until he is condemned to wear the cangue, a heavy wooden collar for criminals. In the novel's final scenes, the gifts and their new owners return to play an important part in Jen's struggle to save his life and kingdom. Although patchy character development slows the narrative in places, the elegant, almost archetypal plot offers considerable enjoyment. Prince Jen's travels are pleasantly reminiscent of the series of coming-of-age journeys found in the author's earlier Prydain Chronicles. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Enthralling . . . It is not often that a book can tell a breathtaking story, offer useful lessons on life, and paint a lively cultural backdrop. Alexander has done all that, and more. (Booklist
, starred review)
Bearing six unusual gifts, young Prince Jen embarks on a perilous quest and emerges triumphantly into manhood. This rich fantasy was named "School Library Journal" Best Book of the Year and a "Booklist" Top of the List Award winner.