A 2017 Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award
An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout!
The Inquisitor's Tale is one of the most celebrated children's books of the year! ★ New York Times Bestseller ★ A New York Times Editor’s Choice ★ A New York Times Notable Children’s Book ★ A People Magazine Kid Pick ★ A Washington Post Best Children’s Book ★ A Wall Street Journal Best Children's Book ★ An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book ★ A Booklist Best Book ★ A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book ★ A Kirkus Reviews Best Book ★ A Publishers Weekly Best Book ★ A School Library Journal Best Book ★ An ALA Notable Children's Book
“A profound and ambitious tour de force. Gidwitz is a masterful storyteller.” —Matt de la Peña, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author
“What Gidwitz accomplishes here is staggering." —New York Times Book Review
Includes a detailed historical note and bibliography
1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.
Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.
Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.
“It’s no surprise that Gidwitz’s latest book has been likened to The Canterbury Tales, considering its central story is told by multiple storytellers. As each narrator fills in what happens next in the story of the three children and their potentially holy dog, their tales get not only more fantastical but also more puzzling and addictive. However, the gradual intricacy of the story that is not Gidwitz’s big accomplishment. Rather it is the complex themes (xenophobia, zealotry, censorship etc.) he is able to bring up while still maintaining a light tone, thus giving readers a chance to come to conclusions themselves. (Also, there is a farting dragon.)”—Entertainment Weekly, “Best MG Books of 2016
"Puckish, learned, serendipitous . . . Sparkling medieval adventure." —Wall Street Journal
★ "Gidwitz strikes literary gold with this mirthful and compulsively readable adventure story. . . . A masterpiece of storytelling that is addictive and engrossing." —Kirkus, starred review
★ "A well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure." —Booklist, starred review
★ "Scatological humor, serious matter, colloquial present-day language, the ideal of diversity and mutual understanding—this has it all." —The Horn Book, starred review
★ "I have never read a book like this. It’s weird, and unfamiliar, and religious, and irreligious, and more fun than it has any right to be. . . . Gidwitz is on fire here, making medieval history feel fresh and current." —School Library Journal, starred review
About the Author
Adam Gidwitz is the author of the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Grimm trilogy. He spent six years researching and writing The Inquisitor’s Tale, including a year living in Europe. Adam lives with his family in Brooklyn, NY. Find Adam online at adamgidwitz.com or @AdamGidwitz.
Hatem Aly is an Egyptian-born illustrator whose work has been featured on television and in multiple publications worldwide. He currentlylives in New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife, son, and more pets than people. Find him online at metahatem.com or @metahatem.
“What Gidwitz accomplishes here is staggering. ‘The Inquisitor’s Tale’ is equal parts swashbuckling epic, medieval morality play, religious polemic and bawdy burlesque, propelling us toward a white-knuckle climax where three children must leap into a fire to save…a Talmud. And yet, the rescue of this single book feels like higher stakes than any world-incinerating superhero battle. Part of this is because ‘The Inquisitor’s Tale’ is dense with literary and earthy delights, including Hatem Aly’s exquisite illustrations, which wrap around the text as in an illuminated manuscript.”—New York Times Book Review
“Adam Gidwitz mingles earthy humor and high culture in The Inquisitor’s Tale, a medieval story that unfurls Chaucer-style, with revelers in an inn taking turns to explain why the king of France is trying to hunt down three child-saints and their holy dog. Hatem Aly’s marginal illuminations add sparkle to this novel for 11- to 16-year-olds.”—Wall Street Journal, “Best Books of 2016”
“Three children persecuted for their religious beliefs band together to fight intolerance—and save their necks—in this fascinating story set in 13th century France.”—People
“It’s no surprise that Gidwitz’s latest book has been likened to The Canterbury Tales, considering its central story is told by multiple storytellers. As each narrator fills in what happens next in the story of the three children and their potentially holy dog, their tales get not only more fantastical but also more puzzling and addictive. However, the gradual intricacy of the story that is not Gidwitz’s big accomplishment. Rather it is the complex themes (xenophobia, zealotry, censorship etc.) he is able to bring up while still maintaining a light tone, thus giving readers a chance to come to conclusions themselves. (Also, there is a farting dragon.)”—Entertainment Weekly, “Best MG Books of 2016”
★ “Gidwitz continues to toy with narrative in a well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past…The tale that comes into focus is one of religious persecution and faith, friendships that transcend difference, and a dangerously flatulent dragon—Gidwitz continues to have no problem mixing high and low.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “It is a time of miracles and saints, of fiends and dragons, all of which Gidwitz has meticulously teased from legends and histories of the Middle Ages…Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure.”—Booklist, starred review
★ “Gidwitz strikes literary gold with this mirthful and compulsively readable adventure story set in medieval France…While the three protagonists initially come together out of necessity, the heartwarming friendship they form celebrates a common humanity that transcends the bounds of race, religion, and social class. The author creates a richly designed medieval world, filled with imperious knights, farting dragons, foreboding forests, and soulless fiends, in which nothing is as it seems, including the tellers of the tales…Gidwitz's lighthearted touch nonetheless provides for insightful commentary on the dangers of narrow-mindedness and zealotry that will resonate with modern readers. A masterpiece of storytelling that is addictive and engrossing.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “Gidwitz’s tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heartstopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great woodchippers of history—the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start…This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader’s appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, or the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it.”—School Library Journal, starred review
★ “An ambitious mash-up of medieval saints’ lives, the Joan of Arc legend, thirteenth-century French history, and elements of The Canterbury Tales…Gidwitz presents moral issues that are currently relevant, and gives several theological arguments about good and evil a brisk, accessible airing. Scatological humor, serious matter, colloquial present-day language, the ideal of diversity and mutual understanding—this has it all.”—The Horn Book, starred review
★ “Cleverly crafted…Six years of extensive research and a natural storyteller's gift shine in [Gidwitz’s] spiffily spun novel…Over-the-top skirmishes, comical triumphs over thugs, unlikely allies, religious persecution, stinky French cheese, noble acts of bravery, deep-seated emotion, profound theological questions--and a fatally flatulent dragon--intermingle in this suspenseful novel set in a medieval world where atrocities are committed in the name of God. In the style of "illuminated" medieval texts, Egyptian-born illustrator Hatem Aly illuminates Gidwitz's story with whimsical black-and-white drawings that enliven this philosophical swashbuckler.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review
“This ‘Canterbury Tale’-style masterpiece is serious, scatological, violent, funny, philosophical and timely.”—San Francisco Chronicle, gift guide
“The children are like none we’ve met before: so dignified, so self-sufficient, so, well, medieval. And yet, they are funny, intensely real and believably brave…Gidwitz and illustrator Hatem Aly breathe life into a tale that you won’t soon forget.”—Chicago Tribune
“Gidwitz paints a vivid image of medieval France, and his mix of heart and humor makes this book an utterly magical read. Who else could weave a tale of acceptance, love and hope, complete with farting dragons?”—San Diego Union Tribune
“Brimming with action, history, humor and much more, Gidwitz has crafted a masterfully seamless novel that is thought-provokingly relevant, making this selection nothing short of brilliant.”—Books to Borrow, Books to Buy
“Whimsical and winding…One of the most interesting parts of this story is the message it teaches: A story is established that brings together three characters from very different backgrounds. At first there is conflict between them, but the characters learn to work together. With the conflict in the current political atmosphere, perhaps this is something even adults could stand to learn.”—Denver Post
“Game-changing…I have never read a book like this. It’s weird, and unfamiliar, and religious, and irreligious, and more fun than it has any right to be…As I write this review in 2016 and politicians bandy hate speech about without so much as a blink, I can’t think of a book written for kids more timely than this…As for the writing itself, that’s what you’re paying your money for at the end of the day. Gidwitz is on fire here, making medieval history feel fresh and current.”—Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production
“[An] exciting adventure story…Just as medieval manuscripts had illuminated drawings, great illustrations go hand-in-hand with the story. Gidwitz finds a way to make the Dark Ages not so dark but exciting and full of mystery.”—The Clarion Ledger, holiday gift guide
“The Inquisitor’s Tale is a well-researched and thoroughly engaging adventure, which beautifully imagines the feel and texture of thirteenth-century France. It is also a moving exploration of friendship, curiosity, and love of learning in a world all too filled with narrow-mindedness and hate.”—Sarah Lipton, professor of medieval history at SUNY, Stony Brook
Accolades for A Tale Dark & Grimm:
Selection on the Today Show's Al's Book Club for Kids
NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts Selection
An E. B. White Read Aloud Honor Book
New York Times Editors' Choice pick
Publishers Weekly Flying Start
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
ALA Notable Book
"Unlike any children's book I've ever read . . . [it] holds up to multiple re-readings, like the classic I think it will turn out to be." —New York Times Book Review
"A marvelous reworking of old stories that manages to be fresh, frightening, funny, and humane." —Wall Street Journal