Friday, 11 September 2015

The Secrets of the Wild Wood By Tonke Dragt

'There's no place you can lose your way as quickly as in the Wild Wood...'

One of the King's knights has gone missing. Sent to explore the mysterious Wild Wood, which no-one dares visit and some say are enchanted, he has vanished in the snow. Tiuri - now Sir Tiuri after carrying out his last perilous mission - has to find him. With his best friend and squire, Piak, he must journey into the heart of a terrifying, secret forest realm, where danger is all around and every path leads you astray. It is a place of lost, overgrown cities and ancient curses; of robbers, princesses and strange Men in Green; of old friends and treacherous new enemies - and a secret plot that threatens to bring down the entire kingdom. 

This gripping, spellbinding sequel to 
The Letter for the King sees a hero facing his greatest test, surrounded by darkness in a world where good and evil wear the same face, and the wrong move could cost his life - but where help comes from the unlikeliest of places. (Goodreads)

52 years on from its initial publication, Tonke Dragt’s The Secrets of the Wild Wood, the sequel to The Letter for the King (published in the UK in 2013) has finally been translated into English to allow us all to enjoy its adventure.

If you haven’t yet read The Letter for the King and want to find out more, you can read my spoiler-free review here:
You can read this novel without reading the first, but having the background of the first novel is a bonus to have going into this one.

The Secrets of the Wild Wood has ultimately solidified Dragt in my mind as one of the great classic fantasy storytellers. To many already, their editions are treasured possessions after being so loved as children, but like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, they’re stories that can be loved by anyone, not matter your age, you find yourself drawn back in.

Both the writing and characters feel more matured in this novel. Dragt’s narrative combined with Laura Watkinson’s translation is an example of storytelling at its finest. After reading The Letter for the King, I was confident that the translation would be seamless in this novel, and I was right.
Dragt’s writing feels stronger and bolder, which could be deliberate as it goes well with the return of the main character Tiuri, who is now more mature (Sir Tiuri now) and confident. Tiuri is still the loveable character we fell in love with in The Letter for the King however, reading it feels as if you’re catching up with an old friend. You come to care very deeply for the boy.

The world of the novel, the Wild Wood and its surrounding lands, including Unawen and Dagonaut, is just as vibrant and well described as Middle Earth. The beautiful map set at the front of the book helps you to fall into the world and its adventure alongside Tiuri.

The Secrets of the Wild Wood is a wonderful novel which manages to surpass the first book. You can’t fail to fall in love with this story and its characters. If you enjoy tales of knights in fantasy-medieval settings, this is the book for you.

Its hard to fault- 5stars. 

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