The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren ; Drawings by J.K. Lambert ; Translated by Joan Tate
New York : Viking Press, 1975. First American Edition. Hardcover. 183 pages ; 25 cm. $7.50 dust jacket. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
Every word I am going to tell you about the strange things that happened in Nangiyala, somewhere on the other side of the stars, is true, though my brother Jonathan and I are probably the only people who know that.
It was olden days in Nangiyala when I got there, but they were young, healthy, and good days, easy and simple to live in. I wasn't afraid that it would all suddenly come to an end, like everything that's fun usually does. Not in Nangiyala. At least that's what I thought.
But then Jonathan told me about Karmanyaka, the country up in the mountains of The Ancient Mountains, beyond the river of The Ancient Rivers, where the tyrant Tengil ruled, cruel as a serpent. "He begrudges our people the life they lead. He has Katla, too," said Jonathan. That's how I found out about the secret struggle against Tengil—and Katla, the dreadful dragon that obeyed him. But what could I do? No one was so helpless as I was!
But when Jonathan was in trouble and needed me, I remembered what he had once said—that sometimes you have to do things that are dangerous; otherwise you weren't a human being but just a bit of filth. I decided I had to help. And it felt good.
ASTRID LINDGREN is the author of the Pippi Longstocking books as well as many other books for children. One of the best known and most translated writers in the world, she was the first children's author to ever receive the Swedish State Award. Ms. Lind-gren also holds the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, which is the highest award in children's literature.
"The Brothers Lionheart is a remarkable book. Astrid Lindgren surely gains new stature in probing a world far removed from that of the admirable Pippi Longstocking— this one is far deeper, and more demanding of courage, than any of Lindgren's previous works. Even on a surface level, the story must be her most unusual and unexpected; but what sticks in the mind are the endlessly fascinating questions she raises. Lindgren is speculating not only on the human situation but on the very nature of what may or may not lie very darkly beyond it. It may be unsettling, but that's exactly as it should be." —LLOYD ALEXANDER
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