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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Lilli Thal
Age Range: 14+
After years of merciless war between the kingdoms of Vinland and Moltovia, King
Philip has gone to celebrate the signing of the peace treaty at the court of his
former enemy, King Theodo. Twelve-year-old Prince Florin has been lured
into joining his father, but what greets him is a macabre betrayal. His father
and loyal advisors have been tricked and imprisoned in the squalid dungeons
of Theodo’s castle. A different kind of humiliation awaits Florin, when he is
apprenticed to Mimus, the enigmatic and unpredictable court jester. Living in
a stable and half starved, he is forced to train to play the fool and perform in
front of the King and his court. Florin despairs until he learns of a daring rescue
plot, but the stakes are high and the fate of his father hangs in the balance.
This is an excellent medieval adventure full of suspense enlivened by Mimus’ clever and witty repartee. Although the setting is fictitious, through beautiful prose, Lilli Thal succeeds in accurately evoking life during the Middle Ages. Mimus is a multi-layered novel that deals with hatred and revenge, courage and friendship, humour and forgiveness. John Brownjohn’s translation captures the atmosphere of the medieval court and the jester’s comedy perfectly.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)