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Chronicles of Prydain: The Black Cauldron

Lloyd Alexander

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Usborne Publishing Ltd

Published : 2004

Copyright : Lloyd Alexander 1965, 2004

ISBN-10 : PB 0-7460-6039-4
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-7460-6039-1

Publisher's Write-Up

The Chronicles of Prydain - Book 2

In the land of Prydain, evil is never far away. Arawn, Lord of the Land of Death, has been building an army of dark warriors to take over Prydain, and the only way to stop him is to destroy the Black Cauldron he uses to create his dreaded soldiers.

Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and his loyal companions must journey deep into Arawn's domain to destroy the Black Cauldron. For each of them, the quest has special meaning. For Taran, it is a glorious opportunity to use his first sword in battle. But war requires a sacrifice greater than he'd ever imagined…

A classic high fantasy series which already enjoys cult status in America. A must-read for all fans of Lord of the Rings.

KS2/3 E; Age 10+

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nadine (100208) Rating (8/10)

Review by Nadine
Rating 8/10
Book Two of the Chronicles of Prydain picks up the tale of Taran, who has returned to his home at Caer Dallben and his humdrum existence as an assistant pig keeper. Although the Horned King has been vanquished, his overlord, Arawn, is still at large in the fortified kingdom of Annuvin. Enraged by his lieutenant’s demise, he is determined to defeat the other kings of Prydain and extend his rule of terror across the entire region.

Rumour has it that Arawn is building an invincible army of deathless warriors, created using an artefact of deadly power – The Black Cauldron. As long as it is in his possession he can continue turning out ‘Cauldron Born’ warriors (re-animated corpses of battle-slain men) and hope of defeating him diminishes with each passing moment. Clearly those who are willing to oppose Arawn will have to find a way to get hold of the cauldron and destroy it before they can even think about an attack.

Following a battle with Arawn’s warriors, Taran and a few friends from Book One get separated from the rest of their company. As luck would have it, they stumble upon a clue to the Cauldron’s whereabouts, and the quest begins to recover it. But enemies lurk around every corner, and even if they find the cauldron, none of them have any idea of the terrible sacrifice required to destroy it forever.

It’s as good as – if not better than –The Book of Three. Very quick-paced and action packed, and featuring some fascinating new characters, it makes an exciting and absorbing read. I was slightly miffed by the killing off of a character that I was rather fond of, but it was a necessary part of Taran’s journey from humble innocence to heroic wisdom. In this instalment he learns some important lessons about sacrifice and redemption.

The ending came as quite a surprise, and is probably the most memorable scene in the series so far. Well worth a read, and I stand by my earlier opinion that the Chronicles of Prydain are just the thing to get younger readers into fantasy fiction.
Nadine (10th February 2008)

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