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The Iron Ring

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,333 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
Driven by his sense of "dharma," or honor, young King Tamar sets off on a perilous journey, with a significance greater than he can imagine, during which he meets talking animals, villainous and noble kings, demons, and the love of his life.

Alexander's latest epic adventure is rooted in the mythology of ancient India. A losing game of chance with a mysterious stranger seem
Hardcover, 283 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Dutton Children's Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 15, 2011 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is based on the traditions and legends of India. The tale begins when Tamar, the young King of Sundari, is challenged by Jaya, a powerful ruler, to a friendly game of Aksha. In this gambling game, they wager life for life and Tamar loses. Jaya places an iron ring upon the young King's finger before vanishing.

Tamar's courtiers try to convince him that he was having a dream, but the iron ring upon his finger troubles the young man. He sets out on a journey to the Kingdom of Mahapura, th
May 27, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review/memoir of my first reading of this book is posted at
Years ago, during a children's lit course, I read that Prydain Chronicles. I found them fantastic. So looking in the library the other day I saw this one and decided to pick it up. It follows Tamar, a young king in long-ago India. The story follows Tamar as he begins a quest to maintain his honor, or his "dharma". Alexander is interested in Indian folk-tales and is influenced by them in his story. Tamar meets a number of people and animals who join him on his way. The story is quite archetypal ( ...more
Jun 12, 2008 Keeley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of childrens books, and morality.
I love Lloyd Alexander anyway, so this opinion is biased. This book is highly entertaining and filled with page-turning excitement. I know the book is good when I am feeling the emotions that the characters are experiencing. My stomache was in knots all throughout this book.

I love how he pays so much attention to the characters working out right and wrong for themselves. It really shows the process we all go through when trying to make righteous decisions that affect our lives. As this is a boo
Jul 05, 2010 Connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book was freakin marvelous. when i picked it up off the shelf at the library i saw the cover and almost put it back. but i guess that i learned not to judge a book by its cover. i was 20 pages into the book and i was into it already. theres many characters and its a little hard to put them all in place so u might get confused at some point. but when u get the characters straitend out u really start to enjoy the book. it has a mixture of things in it: kings, sword, bows, battles,talking anim ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Terence rated it liked it
Recommends it for: YAs and their parents
This is a very accessible, fast-paced and enjoyable fable about a young man and his journey toward wisdom. Along the way he's helped by the usual cast of characters in myths of this sort: His true love, a mischievous sidekick, a beloved teacher, and others whose roles are to illustrate the best and worst qualities in human nature.

Alexander's prose is lucid and unpretentious and perfect for the tween crowd. If you're a parent with a talent for voices, the varied dramatis personae easily lend them
Jul 08, 2015 Mouselet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tween readers and older, fans of Indian folklore, fans of India
This is not actually the first time I have tried to read this book, only the first time I have succeeded. The Iron Ring was a gift to me when I was about eleven years old. Between my unfamiliarity with the Indian-style fairy tales and my inability to understand how a dream could be real but still a dream, I had to put the book down to gather dust.

Recently I had begun to think that I should revisit this novel that only my own understanding had prevented my reading. On this occasion I found a rich
Aug 26, 2014 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely remember how I got my books, especially those I have owned for a long time, but The Iron Ring is an exception. I had just finished completing the summer reading program with Barnes & Noble, and came in to get my free book. Unfortunately, the list of titles I could choose from was very slim, but the lady in charge of the young adult section told me to go ahead and choose any trade paperback I liked off the shelves. I grabbed this volume, and we had a lovely discussion about Lloyd Ale ...more
As King Tamar gambles away everything in a game of dice with the mysterious King Jaya; a iron ring appears on the young King of Sundari’s finger as a reminder that his riches, his kingdom, even his life are no longer his own. Tamar, accompanied by his wise and cheerful teacher, journeys to Jaya’s kingdom of Mahapura to make good on his debt. Along the way, he meets a variety of companions including, among others, a fast-talking monkey, a cowardly eagle, a journeyman with magical powers, and a yo ...more
Brigid Keely
"The Iron Ring," by Lloyd Alexander, is a self-contained story (as opposed to series) rooted in Indian mythology and folklore. As with "The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen" and The Prydain Chronicles, Alexander has done research into the mythology and folklore (in a time when that sort of research was harder to do), and the novel follows a very specific progression. It is, in a word, predictable... but not in a bad way. As readers of fairy tales, we know that when The Noble Hero frees a trapped ...more
Apr 01, 2014 Alden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
The first thing you need to know is that Lloyd Alexander is one of the greats of children's literature. His magnum opus is the Chronicles of Prydain, a pseudo-Welsh fantasy coming-if-age that can break your heart in all the right ways; I'm partial myself to the faux French Revolution of his Westmark trilogy, in particular the second book, The Kestrel, where war brutally, beautifully drives Theo into post-traumatic madness. Lloyd Alrxandet writes for kids, but his protagonist suffer, because of l ...more
Feb 21, 2012 GiaHue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I seriously don't like this book. It just gets me bored when I read it.

Not recommended for young readers.
Jan 29, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really enjoyed this book. It is unusual, in one way as a fantasy, because it takes place in Inida, though the setting adds beautifully to the story. It is both a fantasy and, I think, something of an allegory, with some elements of historical realism.
The story follows the journey of a young king, Tamar, who binds himself to someone in a dice game (don't think to hardly of him, he was only being courteous) and sets out to obey the summons of his new master. Raised and fairly-well brain
Nov 05, 2011 Mara rated it liked it
While I certainly enjoyed The Iron Ring, it was not my favorite Lloyd Alexander book. While having a clearly Indian feel, this story still felt very eclectic with its numerous characters whose names start to blend into one, and who appear very suddenly, tag along for a little while, then disappear just as suddenly, though I will not complain about their not hanging around. Tamar already has too much of a retinue. I will always be of the opinion that too large of a traveling group ruins any good ...more
The Winter Rose
I am a huge fan of Lloyd Alexander. I love how he seemlessly pulls together threads of mythology and foreign cultures to create brillant, vibrant new stories and worlds. They feel rich and alive.
It was great to see him give the same treatment to Middle Eastern mythology.

However, I will admit that, while still enjoyable, it is my least favorite of Alexander's work that I have read. I definately think he did a great job at evoking the flavor of the culture and the texture of these type of stories
The E
Mar 13, 2010 The E rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy, india
The Chronicles of Prydain were my real introduction to the enduring love of my life: Fantasy. Lloyd Alexander is responsible for so many joyful moments of my childhood. I don't think he's the best author ever, you understand, but he has a fertile imagination and uses so many myths and cultures for the settings and backgrounds that he's always worth reading.

They do, however, tend to have a familiar theme. A king gets brought to his lowest depths in order to learn what he needs to be a good ruler.
I'm reading this one with my "new" 9 year old son/cousin. We're going to be reading a little every night. So far so good. The prydain chronicles were my favorite books when I was 8 so we may read those too.

Just finished this (FINALLY!). Just didn't end up reading as often as I thought we would. It was a fun book, a few too many characters but good and suspenseful for a kid. Unfortunately even though our 3rd grader is reading at a 5th grade level he still was having a hard time keeping up with th
May 13, 2015 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favorite books. I read it as a child and for years I tried to remember who had written it and the title. I finally found it in the library and promptly purchased a copy. I actually have a few copies just in case I lose one. That's how much I love this book. There is love, action, and amazing detail. I know this is a vague review, but I just want people to read it on their own and fall in love as I did.
Apr 26, 2015 Ceridwyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-ya
Nice job of weaving Indian legends/folktales into a story. There is a Hanuman character, a "Baloo" character, a Naga character, a Rama. The female is certainly not Sita - she becomes a planner, a warrior. It was rather episodic and predictable- travel to a new place, meet a new character, travel to a new place, meet a character. The company of characters got a little ponderous. Once met, they kind of became part of a crowd. Nevertheless, the big battle was exciting, and I cared enough about Tama ...more
Jan 23, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
This was my "airport" book for a trip I took in January. I didn't finish it then, and finally picked it up and finished it at home. Due to the gap in the middle, I had to refresh myself on some of the characters. There are many, human and animal, in this story woven around the culture of ancient India. It is a story of courage, sadness, challenge, good and evil, wisdom, and love. I enjoyed reading about young king Tamar and his adventures. I particularly liked the character Mirri because of her ...more
Jul 22, 2014 Desclian rated it it was amazing
A very enjoyable story. In many ways, "The Iron Ring" reminded me of "The High King." There were times when too many characters were introduced in one chapter, and at times the plot slowed down a little too much, but in general the story was clean and the characters colorful and interesting.
Bill Tillman
Lloyd Alexander is one of my top five authors. This tale takes us to India with its caste system, elephants, tigers, and so much more. A real moralistic tale to be sure. The Iron Ring will capture young hearts as it will any other age. Read and enjoy a tale of timelessness as I have.
Oct 22, 2014 Meredith marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
I know I have read this book at some point--I know I've read almost everything by Lloyd Alexander--but I picked it up at a book sale and thought I'd revisit an author who shaped my reading taste and provided so much happiness to a shy, nerdy child.
Michael Montgomery
Sep 19, 2009 Michael Montgomery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am a fan of Lloyd Alexander's books, even though I've only read the Westmark Trilogy (and enjoyed it). But the one thing I notice about his books is that they start out at a really fast pace and then slow down. This is true of the Iron Ring. I thought this book was very interesting, and I liked the surprise ending. I learned a lot about ancient India and their caste system from this book, which has helped me understand a book I am currently reading, Tusk and Stone, which takes place at about t ...more
Jacq Francois
Nov 25, 2013 Jacq Francois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was given this book when I was like 11, then lost it somehow as I grew up without ever finishing the book. Fast forward over 12 years, and I found the book again at a used book store. After finishing the book, I completely understood why it was given to me all those years ago. The adventure is so rich, that any young reader would just dive deep into the story for hours. The Indian culture is fluently woven through each page adding a culture so grand that the story becomes THAT much more better. ...more
Jodi Milligan
Jan 28, 2010 Jodi Milligan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in my Children's Lit class at BYU and loved it! Once you got all the characters and places staight it was such an interesting and enlightening story that taught me a lot about class distinctions and how to love/treat others. It was an unexpected surprise for me to enjoy this book so much...for some reason I kept thinking it would be like Lord of the Rings (not that that's a bad thing)...but it's just very different. I loved how much research and history that Lloyd Alexander util ...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
Aug 08, 2010 Lisa (Bookworm Lisa) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult

This book is set in ancient India. Tamara is the young King of a small kingdom which is at peace.

Tamara receives a visiting King in the midldle of the night. They play a game of chance. Tamara looses and an iron ring signifying bondage appears on his finger.

To break his bondage he must make a journey to the other king's kingdom. He does this in spite of the protests of his advisors. He does so for the sake of his "dharma". His code of conduct and his virtue.

Along his journey,
Aug 07, 2008 Frezanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I love this book is the detailed characterization. I love the animals the most: the monkey, the snake, the garuda, the elephant, the bear, and the tiger. Each animal has a very unique character and they represent some of the human's habit and behaviour. The monkey which is lazy, smart but very naughty. The snake which is proud and majestic. the garuda which is always worried about everything. Etc...Not only the animals has a great character of course. The humancharcters are funny also. This ...more
Oct 17, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tale full of magic, talking animals, figures from Indian mythology, honor, nobility, treachery, greed, and adventure. I would have loved it when I was 12, and I still did now!
Aug 20, 2015 Ella marked it as dropped  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of quest fantasy

As far as "quest fantasy" goes, this is one of the better examples I've come across. It has the traditional framework of this genre: a hero goes on an adventure to defeat a villain, and along the way stumbles into a series of adventures where he tests his bravery and intelligence, meets new friends, and learns life lessons. But thanks to good writing, inspired episodes, and a less common fantasy setting - a world based loosely on medieval India - it's an excellent choice for fans of this sub-gen
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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
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