LoveReading4Kids

Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...

Find out more

The Letter for the King

Written by Tonke Dragt

Illustrated by Tonke Dragt

Classic Fiction Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Recommended Children's eBooks

LoveReading View on The Letter for the King

Shortlisted for the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, awarded biennially since 1996, was founded to celebrate the best translation of a children’s book from a foreign language into English and published in the UK. It aims to spotlight the high quality and diversity of translated fiction for young readers.

Translated by Laura Watkinson

Gripping from its opening moment onwards, this award-winning book that doesn’t miss a beat from its thrilling beginning to its satisfying ending. Disturbed during the night of contemplation before he is made a knight, sixteen-year-old Turi is handed a letter which must be secretly delivered. Keeping his identity hidden and keeping the letter safe at all times, Turi travels through deadly danger in which survival depends on adhering to the chivalric codes of courage, friendship and honesty. A thrilling adventure which is full of heart.

A Piece of Passion from Adam Freudenheim, Publisher, Pushkin Press and Pushkin Children's Books    The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt is the classic Dutch children's book.  Already translated into more than a dozen languages, made into a feature film and with over 1 million copies sold, The Letter for the King is one of the most gripping, page-turning novels I've ever read.  My 8-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter both loved it and couldn't put it down either. I started reading it aloud to them, and then one morning when my son woke early he creeped into my bedroom and 'stole' the bound proof in order to finish it - later he sheepishly explained that he just couldn't wait for me to finish reading it aloud, he had to know what happened next! For anyone who likes a heart–thumping tale of good vs. evil, of lone young hero desperate to save a kingdom, this is the book for them.  This beautiful edition, printed in Italy, includes a wonderful hand–drawn map of the kingdoms of Unuawen and Dagonaut on the endpapers, original illustrations by the author, and is a wonderful gift for any fan of classic fantasy in the Tolkien mould.

The Letter for the King Synopsis

A young messenger. A secret mission. A kingdom in peril. It is the dead of night. Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must spend hours locked in a chapel in silent contemplation if he is to be knighted the next day. But, as he waits by the light of a flickering candle, he hears a knock at the door and a voice desperately asking for help. A secret letter must be delivered to King Unauwen across the GreatMountains - a letter upon which the fate of the entire kingdom depends. Tiuri has a vital role to play, one that might cost him his knighthood. Tiuri's journey will take him through dark, menacing forests, across treacherous rivers, to sinister castles and strange cities. He will encounter evil enemies who would kill to get the letter, but also the best of friends in the most unexpected places. He must trust no one. He must keep his true identity secret. Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter...

Translated from the dutch by Laura Watkinson.

The Letter for the King Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our expert opinion, a small number of our Lovereading4kids reader review panel members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. You can read the full reviews here.

  • Freddie, age 8 - 'I loved this book because it is really exciting and has lots of adventures.'
  • Amie Coffman, age 9 - 'An intense and exciting, albeit very long book which is vastly different from anything I have read before!  Don't let the length of this book put you off...It is exciting from the first page.'
  • Traviss Chaytors, age 10 - 'Thrilling book and a must read for everyone capable of reading!'
  • Mukunth Kowsik, age 11 - 'A fantastic book full of courage and bravery that Hobbit fans would really love to read, with loads of action and suspense.'
  • Liberty Annison, age 11 - 'The Letter for the King is a breathtaking book and it draws you in with a fabulous start, an even better middle and a spectacular end.'
  • Dylan Sweet, age 10 - ' I think this brilliant book is an inspiration to readers who have a good sense of adventure.'
  • Ellen Faulkner, age 12 - 'The Letter For The King is a gripping story about a young boy, soon to be knighted, who runs off to deliver a letter to the King across the great mountains. He must not trust anyone. I love this book.'
  • Robert White, age 10 - 'The Letter for the King is a gripping, fast paced, difficult to put down classic adventure set in medieval times.  I loved it!'
  • Avanish, age 9 - 'The book is full of action, adventure and a hint of mystery. If you love books that are adventurous but slow paced then this is the book for you. It’s not an ordinary quest, it’s different in a good way.' 

The Letter for the King Press Reviews

The story has the quality of a legend, a tale of ancient times. Over a million copies of the book have been sold worldwide. The Letter for the King has everything. Nederlands Dagblad

There ought to be a warning written on it: Watch out: Whoever reads this book will forget everything that's happening around them! From the first sentence, the pages turn into a cinema screen, and no director could have created more beautiful or gripping images Die Zeit

It is fascinating, captivating in the same way as Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As well as the familiar battle between good and evil, we are presented with a discovery of true chivalry. Schager Courant This fabulous knightly adventure... deserves a place in anyone's suitcase De Volkskrant A fast-moving, wonderful old-style adventure... cinematic in its visual detail... a European classic... far loftier than Harry Potter and beautifully presented in this most attractive edition -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times

Gripping from its opening moment onwards, this award-winning book doesn't miss a beat from its thrilling beginning to its satisfying ending -- Julia Eccleshare

A charming story told simply and captivatingly... the first English translation of a classic of European children's literature which ... deserves to be richly treasured Booktrust

The plot is central, and extremely gripping, but the writing also delivers lovely detail and evocative description Guardian Kids Books

The Letter for the King will get pulses racing... Pushkin Press deserves every praise for publishing this beautifully translated, well presented and captivating book -- Amanda Craig The Times

The publishing in English of Tonke Dragt 's The Letter for the King brings back ancient, yet deeply pleasant memories. She's always at the top of the list when writers of my generation are asked which books they loved in their childhood, and justly so -- Erwin Mortier

A fantasy about a 16-year-old medieval squire who finds danger, true friendship and first love on a mission to deliver a letter that can save a kingdom. The award-winning translator Laura Watkinson conveys its rich symbolism, vividness and economy of style -- Nicolette Jones Sunday Times

...a classic quest narrative... a thoughtful and endearing hero, whose loyalty and nobility - qualities much ignored today - sustain him throughout. Dragt's illustrations are mystical and timeless. -- Philip Womack Literary Review

This 1962 pulse-pounding epic follows Tiuri, a young knight-candidate who breaks hits sacred vigil to heed a desperate cry for help. Translated from the Dutch for the first time, this old-school quest story will keep all high-fantasy addicts riveted from the first page Metro

A fast-paced quest... Great for high-fantasy fans Metro Beautifully constructed... gripping, delightful and true -- Philip Womack Guardian

An absolute pleasure... immensely enjoyable... vivid and intelligent Newbooks

If you loved this, you might like these...

Five Children on the Western Front
The Last Duchess
The Pearl Thief
Five Go Adventuring Again

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781782690818
Publication date: 06/11/2014
Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781782690818
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781782690108
Publication date: 07/11/2013
Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781782690818
Publication date: 5th June 2014
Author: Tonke Dragt
Illustrator: Tonke Dragt
Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 512 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Classic Fiction
Recommendations: eBooks
Other Categories: Reviewed by Children

About Tonke Dragt

Tonke Dragt was born in Jakarta in 1930 and spent most of her childhood in Indonesia. When she was twelve, she was interned in a camp run by the Japanese occupiers, where she wrote (with a friend) her very first book using begged and borrowed paper. Her family moved to the Netherlands after the war and, after studying at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Dragt became an art teacher. She published her first book in 1961, followed a year later by The Letter for the King, which won the Children's Book of the Year award and has been translated ...

More About Tonke Dragt

More Books By Tonke Dragt

Cover for The Secrets of the Wild Wood (Winter Edition) by Tonke Dragt
Cover for The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt
Cover for The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt
View All Books By Tonke Dragt

Share this book

LoveReading
LoveWriting
LoveReading4Schools
NEW INDIE AND SELF PUBLISHED BOOK REVIEW AND PROMOTION SERVICE LAUNCHED!    Read More
×