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The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  51,247 Ratings  ·  1,973 Reviews
Taran wanted to be a hero, and looking after a pig wasn't exactly heroic, even though Hen Wen was an oracular pig. But the day that Hen Wen vanished, Taran was led into an enchanting and perilous world. With his band of followers, he confronted the Horned King and his terrible Cauldron-Born. These were the forces of evil, and only Hen Wen knew the secret of keeping the kin ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 1969 by Dell Yearling (first published August 1964)
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Jennifer Sort of. Disney based The Black Cauldron off of parts of both The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron. They titled their movie The Black Cauldron…moreSort of. Disney based The Black Cauldron off of parts of both The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron. They titled their movie The Black Cauldron because they seemed to think it was the better title. The movie is a little closer to The Book of Three than the Black Cauldron.

If you want to read the book the movie was based on, then you should probably read The Book of Three, not Black Cauldron.(less)
Jennifer Well, all the books in the Chronicles of Prydain have Gurgi in them, as I recall, just like they all have Taran and Fflewder and Eilonwy. But this is…moreWell, all the books in the Chronicles of Prydain have Gurgi in them, as I recall, just like they all have Taran and Fflewder and Eilonwy. But this is the first book of the series, and the one Gurgi is introduced in.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bryce Wilson
Feb 27, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Blast From The Past Year Zero:

Hooboy. I have conflicted feelings about the book, and my feelings about those conflicted feelings are also conflicted. So there's that.

To make a long story short I loved this series when I was kid, I needed to pick up a gift for my nephew who is apparently Mini-Me, so I grabbed him the first couple of books in this series. Figured I'd give him something better to read then the Eragon type crap he's reading now. Of course I couldn't resist but take a look at them
Apr 26, 2008 Ryen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book but I liked it even more because I got to read it with my dad.
Back in the days before Harry Potter, I was too young to get through Tolkien and wasn't interested in The Chronicles of Narnia - fortunately, I had The Chronicles of Prydain.
The series (there are five books in all) takes place in a setting similar to Wales in the Middle Ages. The main character is an assistant pig-keeper named Taran - the reason there's a need for both a pig-keeper and an assistant is because the pig in question can predict the future. The books are full of witches, magic sword
Aj the Ravenous Reader
The Chronicles of Prydain is a classic fantasy adventure that does what great classics, fantasies and adventures do to readers- make them love them. Who says classics cannot be as fun as Percy Jackson series? :)
Whenever I'm at my parents' home, surrounded by the books of my childhood, I will inevitably pick one up and read. This time, I selected the first of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles: The Book of Three. If you haven't read Lloyd Alexander at all, then I feel terribly sorry for your sad and empty childhood.

The basic plot should seem quite familiar: a peaceful land threatened by evil and the people who must band together to save it. It's the telling of the story that really makes it unique, th
3.5 stars

I believe wholeheartedly that C.S.Lewis got it right when he said that a book not worth reading as an adult should not be read when a child. Yet it seems a preoccupation of children's writers (I excuse picture book writers in general) to create stories only children can read. This is an exception and hence a very fine work of children's fiction.

While I found the start of the book rushed and the writing less than exceptional I was drawn quickly into this book. I felt early on that the wo
Nov 24, 2015 Luffy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have very little to say on this book and why I gave it 5 stars. I read it in the past. A re read has revealed many deft touches that the author has meant us readers to discover at our leisure. The book has a boldfaced naivety about it. I enjoyed it from start to finish. I regret so few people will want to give it a chance. I'm thinking of going through the entire series. Ta.
Apr 17, 2013 Jon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tweens, young adults and the young at heart who crave adventure
Recommended to Jon by: Terence
For some reason, I've had a hankering to reread these books for a few months. A yen I gave in to this weekend when I checked out a Science Fiction Book Club omnibus edition of all 5 novels and a collection of short stories (the latter of which, I haven't read).

Having read The Book of Three, I can see where my moral compass may have begun to form. I first read these books in sixth grade as an extracurricular project, and then made a filmstrip of the final book, The High King (yes, a "filmstrip" -
Mar 26, 2012 Lyndz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kids who cannot understand or don’t have the patience for the Lord of the Rings but who want to read fantasy novels may enjoy this.
As for me, if I wanted to read Fellowship of the Ring I would have just read it. I didn’t like this book at all, there were too many obvious similarities to the Lord of the Rings and I just kept becoming more and more irritated with the parallels as the book progressed.
(ahemmm... *fake cough* blatant ripoff *end fake cough*)
Sorry to my friends that love it, but I j
Anthony Ryan
Sep 21, 2014 Anthony Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is really where it all began for me. Over three decades ago this book set me on the path to a lifelong love of, and later career, in fantasy fiction. Between the ages of ten and thirteen I must have read this book six times or more, along with all the others in the series. Alexander's blend of Welsh legend and modern fantasy tropes is both enchanting and compelling and the adventures of Taran, orphan and assistant pig-keeper, are a truly classic example of the hero's journey from boy to man ...more
Great book. I think this is the first time I've read Lloyd Alexander, although I can't believe that's true. As a parent, I would like to put the main character, Taran in the corner quite a bit, but he's a boy that likes danger. It seems like the adults treat him like an adult way too easily, even though he's probably twelve years old, if that. I like the fantasy aspects of the book, and I like that the fantastical creatures aren't all happy and tra-la-lally (not a word, I know). The book is quit ...more
The Book of Three is not the most impressive book on first reading, even despite there being some things that set it apart, first and foremost its Welsh-inspired settings and characters of myth and legend. Mostly, it seemed a bit like a Tolkien clone with a plot barely even trying to be anything more: Collecting the group of adventurers. The beyond evil bad guy. Swords and sorcery, kings and princesses and princes. Wizards who commune with animals.

Right away The Book of Three did demonstrate a c
Karl Marx S.T.
Sep 12, 2012 Karl Marx S.T. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have often heard about the Chronicles of Prydain as it said to set standards of excellence in fantasy for children’s literature. Honestly, I really wanted to read fantasy books from the past for it evoke a sentimental feeling in me, maybe because of it written in the year of 1964? For I believe that fantasy from the past (The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc…) are more original for they are less influence by technology and just based on pure thoughts, humble opinions that makes ...more
Xime García
Dec 02, 2015 Xime García rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, reseñados
Desde que supe que The Black Cauldron estaba basado en una saga de libros de fantasía épica infantil, SUPE que debía leerlos. Esto pasó hace ya un par de años, así que la espera por leerlos fue larga y esperanzadora. Nunca pensé que los terminaría comprando y teniendo en físico.


Muchos acusan al libro de ser una copia para niños de The Lord of The Rings. Si bien veo las similitudes, hay que dejar en claro que son dos sagas completamente distintas. Una utiliza un lenguaje arcaico y pretende mostr
[Name Redacted]
A childhood favorite which remains one of the most wonderful books I've ever read.

Part of what makes it so engaging is the unconventional nature of the protagonists, all of whom are defined as much by the faults as by their virtues: Taran, far from being a "Marty Stu", is infuriatingly impetuous, hotheaded, and stubborn (a character so well-defined that until others pointed it out, i never noticed that his appearance was never described); Eilonwy, far from being a "Mary Sue", is scatterbrained,
Matthew Hunter
Enjoyable, even adorable in that younger sibling sort of way. It's the love-child of Tolkien's and T.H. White's imaginations, a mixture of Arthurian chivalry, gallantry, and demonic armies. Medwyn's name reminds of Merlin, though he longs to hang out with Lord Elrond of Rivendell. Taran's a Wart/Frodo mingling. Gurgi's a less conflicted Gollum. Gwydion wants to be Aragorn worse than anything. Doli and Gimli are brothers. The Cauldron-Born remind of orcs. On and on and on. These similarities can' ...more
jillian nessie
Mar 23, 2014 jillian nessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, fantasy
In which an Assistant Pig-Keeper, a snarky red-head princess, one of those comical Bards with a tendency to exaggerate, a very Gollumesque (but considerably more pleasant) creature, and a really awesome horse (the horse had to be mentioned) on a quest to find a really wise pig?

That. Is brilliant.

Add to that mix an abundance of magnificent Welsh names, mythology tie-ins, the no-begad-nonsense-about-it—but still witty—writing style, and you have this delightfully frabjous book. We loves it, prec
Janne Varvára
Jan 25, 2015 Janne Varvára rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book, a story of how a runaway pig leads an assistant pig-keeper on a big adventure, was a random find for me, but it looked charming, so I gave it a go.

This book has enormous potential; everything is done right. The eccentric characters, the frightening monsters, mythical creatures and diverse landscapes. That is, everything is done right except the writing itself.
You get the definite feeling that this could have been an amazing book, it has all the right ingredients to be an amazing book,
Sep 13, 2015 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-rev
4 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

Taran's been promoted - to Assistant Pig Keeper. It's not quite the heroic task he envisioned, even if Hen Wen is an oracular pig. But even assistant pig keeping turns out to be harder than expected, when Hen Wen escapes, Taran has a run-in with the Horned King, and things get even worse.

One of the classic stories of children's fantasy. I read it when I was young, and at WorldCon, this year, I was happy to hear a panelist refer to Assistant Pig Keepers, with no othe
Aleksandar Janjic
May 15, 2015 Aleksandar Janjic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Једна од омиљених ми ствари из дјетињства без сумње су приче са више завршетака из Микијевог алманаха, а међу њима посебно мјесто заузимају двије у којима је главни лик био Таран. Неко би рекао да он, за разлику од Микија, Шиље и сл., није Дизнијев јунак, па према томе откуд му право да се појављује у Микијевом алманаху, али он заправо јесте и Дизнијев јунак, бар по својој визуелној интерпретацији, јер иста потиче из Дизнијевог филма, о коме ћемо нешто касније. Е у сваком случају, дакле приче са ...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Banker
I'm baffled by this books 4+ rating. Just to confirm my suspicions I went and checked the rating for Enders Game and, just as I thought…4+. So, unfortunately I am going to have to lump this into the “I read this when I was younger before I knew what good writing was and most importantly before I read the books the author was pathetically attempting to ape”. I read LOTR when I was little after sneaking it off my dad’s bookshelf. My mum was none-too-pleased. If I had read this first perhaps I woul ...more
Abby Johnson
May 31, 2007 Abby Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on Welsh mythology, this book tells the tale of Taran, the lowly Assistant Pig-Keeper, who gets wrapped up in a quest to stop the Great Horned King from destroying the land of Prydain. Accompanied by a rugged band of compatriots, including a displaced princess, an exagerating unofficial bard, and a wolf man, Taran feels that every decision he makes on the journey is the wrong one... Does the rugged band have what it takes to stop the evil spreading over the land?

LOVED this book. I'm so sad
Jan 10, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a classic in my view - it was a book that my mother first read to me as a child, and which I later re-visited myself quite some years later. For me, this is one of those titles that first got me interested in literature.

The author, Lloyd Alexander, was an interesting man, and excellent to his fans. I wrote him when I was little, included a story (it was probably tripe), and my picture. Much to my surprise he wrote me back. He wrote me a brief hand-written message, and thanked me for
Madeleine Price
Jun 01, 2014 Madeleine Price rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So.....on a Saturday afternoon in the basement, I was looking around in the "old books". I picked this one up, and remembered that this was one that my mom had read to me. I remembered nothing of the story, or anything else. So, not expecting much, I sat down on the couch and starting reading.
I finished reading it a few days later, and then Black Cauldron. What kept me reading this? I loved this book, and can't wait to reread it. There has to be a separate set of books for Eilonwy. Her refusal t
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 22, 2009 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Great youth adventure novel about an assistant pig keeper who meets a priccess on a chase to to rescue his intelegent pig who communictaes through talking sticks from a horned king.....

Well, trust me as odd as it sounds it's a great youth book, really, it is.
Embarking on another childhood nostalgia quest. These are a bit more obscure than previous subjects, but I read them to tatters once upon a time. Literally tatters – I recall wearing out multiple cassette tapes.

Anyway, this is young fantasy inspired from Welsh legend (or appropriated, it depends on how you look at it). Taran, Assistant Pigkeeper, desperately wants to go on adventures, and then he gets some and discovers they are more difficult than assumed. Also, rescuing oracular pigs is compli
Apr 19, 2012 Ensiform rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, dreams of being a hero until he runs into the hero Gwydion, is taken prisoner with him, and finds that adventure is not all he thought it would be. After banding with the princess Eilonwy, the bard Fflewddur Fflam, and the creature Gurgi, he leads his friends to rescue his oracular pig and get to Caer Dathyl to warn of the Horned King’s coming.

This is an exceptional children’s book, remembered very fondly by me and with good reason. Yes, the characters are a bit
Justyn Rampa
I just recently finished reading this to my son as a bedtime book. Now, my son at this point is only about a year and a half so we'll be reading it again later. However, this book is full of so much wisdom!!! I wish Lloyd Alexander could have been my grandfather.

Some of my friends do an annual re-read of a favorite series and I believe I may begin to do that with "The Chronicles of Prydain"!


This book came as somewhat of a surprise. I had wanted to read it as a Book Club pick, but that chang
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When will there be a Prydian movie remake? 6 66 Oct 13, 2015 02:07PM  
LLOYD ALEXANDER 4 25 Sep 17, 2015 05:40PM  
Yesterday's Papers: The Book of Three, 50th Anniv. Ed. (The Chronicles of Prydain) by Lloyd Alexander, HC 1 2 Feb 19, 2015 05:07PM  
Favorite Character 25 103 Nov 12, 2014 08:12PM  
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Lloyd Chudley Alexander (January 30, 1924 - May 17, 2007) was an influential American author of more than forty books, mostly fantasy novels for children and adolescents, as well as several adult books. His most famous contribution to the field of children's literature is the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain. The concluding book of the series, The High King, was awarded the Newbery Medal i ...more
More about Lloyd Alexander...

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Prydain (5 books)
  • The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain #2)
  • The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain #3)
  • Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain #4)
  • The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5)

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“Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart.” 235 likes
“Neither refuse to give help when it is needed,... nor refuse to accept it when it is offered.” 146 likes
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