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A Letter For The King- Tonke Dragt (book review) *contains spoilers*

Book: The Letter For The King
Author: Tonke Dragt
Genre: fiction, adventure
Published By: Pushkin Children's Books
Published Year: 1962

My Review:
I managed to get this book from NetGalley for an honest review and I am so glad that I did choose this book to read. This book is put into a prologue and eight different sections which indicate where in the story the characters are as well as chapter titles to make the reader have some idea what the chapter they are reading about.

In this part of the book the reader is made to understand the past of Dagonaut also how the knights are appointed to the king and why there are five boys in a chapel just outside of the town who is doing a vigil.
This is a great way to let the reader understand how the following boys are where they are and makes the reader wonder which of these boys are going to be going on an adventure and how if they are so close to the king this would be a long book.

Part 1: A Mysterious Mission
After Tiuri hears a man calling for help outside of the chapel he goes to investigate and comes across a dying knight who asks him to take a letter to the King of Unauwen which Tiuri accepts to do. As he accepts he is told to tell no-one his secret and is given the knight's ring to show to the hermit who lives in the mountains as payment to help him cross. Not only this but he is warned to stay away from the black knight with the red shield and the red riders who ambushed and killed the knight.
This starts the adventure for the reader and makes the reader worried about what could happen to Tiuri and makes the reader wonder what is in the letter that he is being made to discover. It also makes the reader wonder why the red riders and the knight with the red shield is after the letter and if Tiuri who is unarmed will be able to go through with the adventure.

Part 2: The Journey Through The Forest
Carrying on from part one Tuiri takes the black horse in which belonged to the knight he had met and goes through a forest to find the source of the blue river that he has been told to locate. On his way he comes across a man called "Fool" who manages to bring Tuiri some food and promises to tell no-one that he had seen him as long as he comes back to tell him about Tuiri's journey when he returns. As Tiuri leaves the Fool he gets stopped by robbers who take his horse and want to take the ring that the knight had given him, however stop due to his courage for keeping the ring, not long after when hiding in a cave he sees four gray knights who are looking for him dead or alive! After a while Tuiri knows he needs to go on his way and comes across some monks in which take him to their monastery and give him a change of clothes and agree to keep that Tuiri was there a secret.
This part of the book I found really interesting and couldn't stop reading and wanting to know what was going to happen next. Not only this but I found myself getting scared for Tuiri and hoping that the gray knight's wouldn't catch him and if they were working alongside the black knight with the red shield that Tuiri was warned about. I was also glad to see what the book was going at a pace where it was not being delayed and kept the readers attention easily and wanting to not stop reading.

Part 3: Castle Mistrinaut
Tiuri goes to the castle of Mistrinaut disguised as a monk called Tarmin, however when the gray knights appear at the castle Tiuri gets captured because he has the ring that the black knight with the white shield. While captured the king and his daughter feel sorry on him and so give him a shield, weapon and some chainmail in order to protect himself after they find out that the gray knights are looking to take revenge on him. Tiuri manages however to prove his innocence to the knights and find out that the knights are there to keep the peace and that red riders who are enemy of both Dagonaut and Unauwin and from the land of Eviellan had told him a different story in which Tiuri was the bad guy. Afterwards the gray knights decide to go with Tiuri on his journey as they are also heading west.
The reader during this part of the novel is scared for Tiuri as he is captured and after not knowing wither the gray knights are going to kill him or not. As well as this the reader is happy that the king and daughter is there to help him and shows that some people are on his side and some people he is able to trust. Finally, as Tuiri goes with the gray riders it makes it pleasant and feel safer for the character as he has other knights to help and protect him along his travels.

Part 4: Along The Blue River
As the company get to an inn they meet a servant called Leor who is a spy for the red riders and admits that he has seen them and was told to get in touch with them if he sees Tiuri or the gray knights. Because of this the knights decide to tell Tiuri about why Eviellan are enemies of Unauwen due to the king having twin sons and the younger one not being able to rule the kingdom of Unauwen which made him angry and jealous. Tiuri also learns more about the knight with the white shield and how the gray riders came into being. The next day as they continue on their adventure the company get ambushed by red riders and people who the knight with the red shield paid to try and kill the company, due to this the knights and Tuiri decided to go different ways and a squire dressing like Tuiri to try and let him have an advantage.
This makes the reader glad that Tiuri made some friends who are able to look out for him and was able to save his life and have the letter fall into the wrong hands. Not only this but it is an important part of the book as you understand why the letter needs to be delivered and why there is such a feud between both Eviellan and Unauwen. It also makes the reader hope that with the gray riders going after the red riders that the journey for Tiuri will be easier and less dangerous.

Part 5: In The Mountains
Not long after leaving the company Tiuri comes across a man called Jaro who is also heading to the mountains and asks if they can travel together which Tiuri agrees to even though he does not feel he can trust Jaro. When Jaro almost dies on their travels however and Tiuri saves him, Jaro seems angry at Tiuri and continue to walk in silence. As the men arrive at the cabin in the woods and meet the hermit Manaures who Tiuri tells everything about his journey to and shows the ring that he was given as proof he is who he said and gets told that he will get a guide for over the mountains called Piak. As the night comes for the first night out in the mountains Jaro tells Tiuri that he is a red rider who was sent to kill him but after Tiuri saved his life he couldn't go through with it however to be careful of a man called Slither who scares even the red riders before leaving to go back down the mountains. That night Tiuri tells Piak all about his adventure and as they continue over the mountains the boys decide to travel together as friends.
This makes the reader feel glad that Tiuri was not killed by Jaro and also understand why he was so angry at being saved as the reader wonders what the knight with the red shield would do to him if he found out about the betrayal. Not only this but finding out that there is a red rider which everyone else is scared of scares the audience and wonders how bad he could be and what he might do to Tiuri if Slither catches up to him. However, the reader is happy that Tiuri now has a travelling companion especially as he is now going into the land of Unauwen which is unknown territory to him.

Part 6: The East Of The Rainbow River
As both Tiuri and Piak get over the mountains they head to the town of Dangria and while exploring the city before heading off to the Castle of Unauwen they get met with an old man who warns them not to go up the stairs of the town hall. As guards bring them into the town hall Piak goes to look around and after the mayor refuses to let the boys leave Piak runs away making the guards chase him and giving Tiuri a chance to go and hide. As Tiuri is hiding he decides to read the letter that he is sworn to protect and keep it in his memory so that the mayor would not be able to get the message. As Tiuri does escape the town hall he finds out that Piak has been captured and is in the dungeon and that there are people who are against the mayor and are going to help free Piak. As Tiuri and the town people go to the court house the mayor admits that he has no reason to be holding Piak and the town goes against him, meaning the boys can go free however they should stay in Dangria. Ignoring the advice to stay they head off to the Rainbow River which there is a tax of three old pieces each, not having the money however they wait till nightfall and risk going across on a boat which sinks when they were halfway across so tells Piak what the letter says incase anything should happen to him. As the guards collect the boys in the morning they are brought to the dungeon and after speaking to the keeper and tells him everything he can about his mission and is set free with Piak.
The reader at this part of the book is filled with worry for Tiuri and Piak as they are being kept by the mayor of Dangria and wonder if the red riders will get to him before he has a chance to get to the king. Not only that but with Piak being captured the reader is worried that he will not be able to be released in time.Also with the letter having been read and not having told the reader what it says it makes the reader want to know what is in the letter so much more and adds a level of mystery to the book. As the segment continues and they are in the water and you know that Piak can't swim the reader starts to feel sad not knowing if Piak will survive but feel glad that at least he has Tiuri there to be with him even if it all ends badly and that they both still have managed to create an amazing friendship on this troublesome adventure.

Part 7: To The West of the Rainbow River
Going through the woods that both boys find creepy they find the dead body of the messenger from Dangria shot through the heart with an arrow. Knowing that they should go forward they continue on a little further when they hear the sound of hooves approaching so decide to split up with Tiuri going forward and Piak going back to the nearest town to let them know about the dead messenger. However, when the approaching turns out to be Warmin from the toll guards who was told that after a mysterious man was looking for them decided to give them some security. Due to this Tiuri brings back Piak and they continue to go through the woods feeling safer if Slither does decide to come at them, this is when they hear that a farmer has seen Slither which makes the guards keep a closer watch on Tiuri and Piak. After approaching the Castle of the White Moon owned by Sir Ivan they are informed that Slither has been captured and that he is in their dungeons, at that moment there is also a message to the toll guards saying that they are needed back at the Rainbow bridge so decide to leave the boys since the threat no longer seems immanent however not until they have made sure that both Piak and Tiuri have armour and weapons. Being close to the end of their adventure the boys continue on and outside of the castle come across a beggar which they decide to give the rest of their money to only to discover that the man is Slither himself! It only takes a few moments for Slither to get captured however and the boys are escorted to the king of Unauwen. The day after Tiuri tells the king everything about his journey and the message in which was to be delivered he is brought to see Slither in the jail who tells them everything he has done to try and capture the boys, after there is a meeting with the kings men where he announces that the letter said that the king of Eviellan was going to try and kill his brother and not bring piece to the kingdoms. As the boys get gifted with rings from the king as well as swords which are sacred to the Unauwen family and Tiuri is told he can keep the horse which belonged to the black knight with the white shield they decide that it is time to head back to Dagonaut with another letter but this time one that does not have risk upon their lives.
This segment shows a lot of danger for both Piak and Tiuri and worries the reader that Slither is so close to them and that he has killed someone which could have been one of the boys. Not only this but when the boys meet Slither it is worrying incase the boys get injured and that they would not be able to protect themselves as they thought that Slither had previously been captured. This part of the book also does make the reader understand why the letter was so important to be delivered however and shows that without them the kingdom of Unuawen could have been in downfall and that all of the risk to their lives are now over and they can now go home knowing that they have done a great service and saved people's lives. Not only that but Slither is now locked up and unable to hurt them which makes the reader feel relieved.

Part 8: Back To The City of Dagonaut
Heading back to the city of Dagonaut Piak and Tiuri make stops at everywhere they have visited and decide to tell their friends everything about their adventure. As both boys make their way back to the mountains Piak decides to stay there due to missing it and says his farewell to Tiuri and says they will both see each other again soon. As Tiuri goes again on his journey he meets everyone he became friends with again such as the king and his daughter who helped save his life, the fool and some of the gray knights. When Tiuri returns to the castle he gets reunited with his family before seeing the king where he tells the story about why he left the vigil and everything that happened through the journey as well as giving the king the letter in which the king of Unauwen had given him. As Tiuri is told he will not become a knight he is disheartened however when the king of Dagonaut announces that there is to be a feast the next day Tiuri is surprised with being knighted however as a knight with a white shield so that he is a knight of Dagonaut and Unauwen. Wanting to complete the vigil so that he has went through the ritual he spends the night back in the chapel and the next day runs into Piak who missed him and wants to be his squire.
This is an amazing ending to the story and when the reader thinks that Tiuri wont make it as a knight and when he is surprised the reader is feeling so relieved and proud of Tiuri for being able to make it through such an adventure before becoming a knight and being a knight for both realms makes it even better as it shows that both kings acknowledge that he is to be a guardian. It also makes the reader feel surprised and proud when Piak returns to Tiuri and hope that he is accepted by the king and the friends and family in which Tiuri has. It also makes the reader want another book so that you are able to see more about what happens now that Tiuri is a knight.

Overall, this is one of the best books I have ever read and left me wanting so much more adventures from both Tiuri and Piak which I discovered there is a second book! This book brings so much emotion into it and everything that happens in the book is necessary for the story which makes it so much better. I would highly recommend this book you teenagers and people who are wanting an adventure story that they are able to read to their children as well as just enjoy by themselves. Definitely a book I feel needs to be read by everyone!

My Rating: 5/5


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