This is the last novel of Lloyd Alexander, author of The Chronicles of Prydain. I was both excited and worried about reading this book. I loved the Chronicles of Prydain as a kid, but was afraid this book would be awful in comparison. Thankfully, this was not the case.
This story is about a young man named Carlo Chuchio, a character who is not as appealing as that lovable assistant pig-keeper Taran, but still interesting nonetheless. Carlo “the chooch” sets off on an adventure seeking great treasure and is accompanied by a fast-talking but lazy flatterer, a beautiful girl with a wild streak, and an eccentric genius. Their journey is filled with danger and excitement while the travelers encounter storytellers, brigands, and dream merchants, in a dazzlingly romantic fantasy world that seems to be intentionally reminiscent of the Arabian Nights.
While the story at time seems rambling, with random events happening one after the other, the reader is still left with an amazement at Alexander’s storytelling abilities. I would not recommend going into this tale hoping for a grand-sweeping epic fantasy novel, but rather for a satisfying travel/adventure story, much like the stories of Sinbad the sailor.