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The Letter for the King

(De brief voor de koning #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  9,265 ratings  ·  735 reviews
Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must spend hours locked in a chapel in silent contemplation if he is to be knighted the next day. But as he waits by the light of a flickering candle, he hears a knock at the door and a voice desperately asking for help.

A secret letter must be delivered to King Unauwen across the Great Mountains—a letter upon which the fate of the entire kingdom depe
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by David Fickling Books (first published 1962)
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Paulina No! There are many many differences. The main one being that there's zero magic or supernatural powers in the book. Also, the characters are very diff…moreNo! There are many many differences. The main one being that there's zero magic or supernatural powers in the book. Also, the characters are very different since the book focuses only on Tiuri and his journey. We do get context from other characters he meets along the way but it's all from his point of view. I personally loved the book more than the Netflix series.(less)
Anneke Oosterink Het boek is vrij recent voor het eerst naar het Engels vertaald, (2013 of 2014) dus er zijn nu veel nieuwe lezers bij gekomen met name in Engeland en …moreHet boek is vrij recent voor het eerst naar het Engels vertaald, (2013 of 2014) dus er zijn nu veel nieuwe lezers bij gekomen met name in Engeland en de VS. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  9,265 ratings  ·  735 reviews

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jv poore
Upon discovering a character I admire and adore, I often aspire to become that character. Emulate a new role model, envision greater goals and dream of different worlds to conquer. In this case, though, I would never set myself up for that fall. Merely a human being, a perfectly plausible person; Tiuri is genuinely good. And kind. I believe that Tiuri is truly and actually, altruistic.

His epic journey to deliver a message of monumental importance took place many years ago. A mission that today c
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a story that manages to capture the spirit and emotions of an epic adventure, but The Letter For the King manages to do just that. It’s full of secrets, missions from strangers, and the feeling that you can accomplish anything, be anything, that you want to.

Tiuri is about to become a knight when he’s given a task by a stranger. He must deliver a letter to the king. And on his way to do this, he
May 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great childrens book, read it several times. Tonke Dragt's books are also read by many adults. Wonderful writer!! ...more
Kezia Olive
Oh, give me a sec to let my tears drop.

This book is beautiful. The story inside feels so real. It feels different. It almost feels like Tiuri, the main character here, sits across the room telling me the story himself, and help me learnt so much.
I won't forget this book, that is for sure.
I am glad I found this book in my school library a few days ago. This is beyond my imagination.
I had no expectation when I first saw this book. I thought to myself that maybe this is another freakish classic ta
3.5 stars from me
4.75 stars from my son

I read this with my 10 year old son for the kids bookclub he belongs to through one of our local independent bookstores. It wasn't one I had previously heard of, although it is a Dutch classic, where it was originally published in 1962.

This is quaintly written old fashioned chivalric fantasy which would provide a nice entry to the genre for middle grade and young adult audiences. It's an older book, and reads that way, but it nevertheless has a simple appea
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very solid classic linear fantasy, without any supernatural elements. You know who to trust and who not, the secrets are easily guessable, and the end is satisfying. The perfect escapist read for a difficult time.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-in-2015, ya
As YA goes, this is a 5-star plot. It was written in 1962, apparently, and the new translation is coming on 25 August of 2015.

It's the story of a squire on the eve of becoming a knight who does NOT become a knight because he makes the fateful decision to answer a call for help. One thing leads to another, and before long, this kid is on a quest with unseen enemies all around him (but with unexpected friends as well).

It's sweet, actually. So old school it will remind you of the type of book about
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a prime example of a book that needs an introduction. The original Dutch edition of The Letter for the King was published in 1962 by an Indonesian survivor of WWII Japanese internment camps and is considered to be a European children's classic. 50 years later, it was finally translated into English.

So how does it hold up? Poorly, when you consider how the English edition was marketed.

I found it on a YA shelf with a shiny cover promising the epic adventures of a 16-year old squire. Sound
The Captain
Aug 31, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this young adult fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

I always be interested in fairy tales from other lands.  This translation caught me eye because the author was born in Indonesia, imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp in WWII, and then moved to the Netherlands.  She published this book in 1962 and it won the Children's Book of the Year Award and was subsequently translated into sixteen languages.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read
I had the urge to read this book after I finished the Netflix series and god was I surprised.
They have NOTHING in common except that there's a boy named Tiuri whose mission is to deliver a letter.
Well, I actually enjoyed the book a lot more because it didn't have the annoying female characters and the magic elements.
Romance makes everything complicated and cringy and reading about Tiuri's and Piak's strong friendship was much more entertaining! :)
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood, dutch, fantasy
My father has always faintly disliked reading. Too bad he got me as a daughter! Out of the countless of books that he read to me when I was small, this book and its sequel are by far the most memorable. It fed my imagination to no ends, spawning both great visions and one of the most terrifying nightmares I remember. Since back then, much has changed. My knowledge of the Dutch language might have become crippled, and my eyes feast on the pages of other fantasy masterpieces, but Tonke Dragt and t ...more
First released 50 odd years ago in the Netherlands, this is a wonderful story of knights and adventures written by Tonke Dragt: why it took so long to be spotted over here (it's sold over a million copies) and be translated is beyond me.
From the outset, when Tiuri is tempted from his night's vigil out of the chapel by a call for help, I was hooked. There was something about Tiuri, the use of limited third person (wonderfully translated by Laura Watkinson) and the style of narrative that reminde
Anne (ReadEatGameRepeat)
5/4/2020 still loved it just as much upon reread
4/10/2017 5 Stars - a long time favorite (Sorry I'm writing this in English, my written dutch just isn't good enough to express my thoughts -but I guess that is part of the reason why I tried to read this book - to improve my language skills) Well - I was finally able to finish this book (I just decided to read the rest in one chunk), it took much longer than I thought it would, which was mildly discouraging to my
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
I first heard about The Letter for the King when I happened to watch bits of the film version (Dutch with subtitles) on TV some time ago, and when I noticed the book on NetGalley, of course I couldn’t resist putting in a request. My thanks to Pushkin Children’s Books and NetGalley for a review copy of this title. This was written by Dragt in 1962 and the translation I read is by Laura Wilkinson, published by Pushkin Children’s Books which according to the blurb at the back of the book brings out ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy Rollicking Good Adventure Stories
On the eve of being knighted by his king, sixteen-year-old Tiuri, son of Tiuri the Valiant, is keeping vigil in a small chapel outside of the capital city of the kingdom of Dagonaut. Forbidden from speaking, or opening the chapel doors to anyone during his night-long fast, Tiuri does both when a mysterious old man comes begging for help. A knight in spirit, even if he is not one in fact, Tiuri is helpless to resist this supplicant in need, and soon finds himself caught up in an epic adventure in ...more
Eustacia Tan
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard about this book from Krysta at Pages Unbound and it sounded really interesting so I hunted down the nearest library copy. As expected, I was not disappointed.

The Letter Tor The King starts with Tiuri keeping vigil. This is the last task that he has to do before he becomes a knight. But when someone knocks at the door asking for help, Tiuri knows that the knightly thing to do is to help. Even if it means giving up his knighthood. And so, Tiuri starts a quest to deliver an important letter
Michelle Curie
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
It's been a whopping fifteen years since I first read this as a kid. It's a strange and magical thing to return to something a former self has been obsessed with – though, as an adult now, I am not quite the target group for this anymore.

This is the story of Tiuri, a 16-year old boy who is to be knighted the following day. His final task is to spent one last night in silence in a chapel. What sounds easy enough, suddenly becomes difficult when someone knocks on the door, urgently asking for hel
This was a bit of a sad experience because The Letter for the King was one of my favourite books as a child, but I could tell during my reread that I wouldn't have been/wasn't as into it as an adult. I actually think this might be the rare case where I prefer the Dutch version. Part of that is definitely nostalgia-motivated, and it's not so much that you can tell this is an English translation as that it just reads very formal and literal in English, which I think might be less the case in the D ...more
Alyson Stone
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy
Book: The Letter for the King
Author: Tonke Dragt
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC. Well, I guess it’s not really an ARC since the book was published a long time ago, but this is a new edition.

So, I have never heard of this book until now. I don’t know how it could have slipped by me, but it did. The Letter for the King has everything that a great fantasy needs. It has adventure, excitement, and well written characters. It i
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Tiuri is called out of his pre-knightly vigil to help a man desperate for assistance, and, ruining his chances to become a knight, he sets off to aid the man by taking an important letter to the king.

It's a perilous trip across the Great Mountains, and Tiuri is pursued by wicked men determined to prevent the delivery of the letter.

It was seeing the strong character of this sixteen-year-old that I loved most about this book. Again and again, Tiuri was tested and set upon and tried and yet he alw
DNF @10%
I wanted to read the book before Netflix adaptation came out. But just don’t feel like continuing. Nothing is wrong with this book as such. This is a middle grade book so the plot isn’t very complex. I will keep this on my shelf and give it to my son when he can read. The plot is very simple - it’s like someone made a book out of Frodo’s flight in Lord of the rings from Bagend. It’s almost like first half of the Fellowship of the ring, except that the protagonist is traveling alone with
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved, loved it! Longer review soon!
May 27, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Slow meandering plot that led to an anticlimactic ending. So disappointed. I was hoping this would be better than the show and I found that the show at least put some urgency to the plot that this story desperately needed, even if the Netflix ending was weird as heck.
A simple tale of Tiuri, a 16 year old, who goes on a journey to delivery a message of great importance to a King in the land over the mountains. Along the way he is helped by various people, escapes from evil dudes, finds friendship and remains loyal and determined to complete his task.
This is a new edition of a Dutch children's classic which remains enjoyable in its simplicity, lack of fantasy and prose that takes the reader into another place and another time.
Robin Stevens
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Epic, gloriously described and absolutely delightful, this is storming classic fantasy that will have you wishing you could don some chainmail and go on a life-or-death mission. An utter lack of any even vaguely interesting female character is my only quibble, but if you accept this on its own terms, it's magnificent. ...more
When my friend and book blogger posted this glowing review of Tonke Dragt’s “The Letter for the King” last year, I was intrigued because it appeared to be all about knights and chivalry and adventure. Who doesn’t like the sound of that? A month or so ago, I found this book waiting to be reviewed on NetGalley, and my heart leapt! Thanks to Pushkin Press and NetGalley, I got a copy, and I finished reading it yesterday.

The Letter for the King is the thrilling story of one boy’s battle against evil
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Thank you Allen & Unwin for this book in exchange for an honest review

I am actually surprised that I haven’t heard of this book before considering it has been around for a while and there is a Netflix TV show for it, guess I have been living under a rock!!
I do love finding an inspiring character. Generally the hero of the story who is depicted as brave really isn’t and relies on other’s to assist them or they seem absolutely perfect and everything magicall
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1962 in the Netherlands(which is where I live), this children’s book has been read by many Dutch children and adults.

Now, when I was younger my sister actually had a copy of this book, which was the one I was reading in for the last few days. But it never appealed to me as a child. The cover did not, the title did not and I don’t think I have ever read the synopsis. Now that I am older and the Netflix series came out, I realised this children’s literature has been a big part i
Smitha Murthy
I had heard my friend rave about this book for nearly a year now. It had been quite an expensive buy, so I had put it off, until a sudden discount made me take the plunge. And now I am glad I did! In times like these, I needed a book that would just be a rollicking adventure, a travel tale that twists and slides, and at heart, a beautiful story. Who wouldn’t love that?

At times, I wished that I could give poor Tiuri a smartphone. All that the poor lad had to do was take a message to the King! Her
Zach  Dickerson
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book that you could read as a kid, love it; come back as an adult, read it again, and it still has the same magic. It's a sweet story that has such an endearing charm to it. There's an indescribable timelessness to this book. It won't leave your jaw dropped, but it will 150% warm your heart. ...more
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Fanatieke Nederla...: De Brief voor de Koning - deel 5 en 6 1 6 Jun 14, 2021 11:57PM  
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The Letter for the King 6 80 Jan 10, 2016 02:46AM  
Young Adult bookc...: De brief voor de koning - Tonke Dragt 2 11 Dec 03, 2015 03:18PM  

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Tonke Dragt werd in 1930 geboren in Nederlands-Indië, en heeft daar het grootste deel van haar jeugd doorgebracht. In 1942 kwam ze met haar moeder en twee zusjes terecht in een Jappenkamp, en daar heeft ze ontdekt dat ze ze kon ‘ontsnappen’ door verhalen te verzinnen. Ze schreef en tekende in eerder gebruikte uitgegumde schriftjes en zelfs op wc-papier, want er was bijna niets. Samen met een vrien


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