New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967-1968-1969. First edition (Vol. 4); Second Printing (Vol. 5); Third Printing (Vols. 2 and 3). Hardcover. Quarto (9 1/2 x 6 1/2"). 224pp; 201, pp; 256pp; 285, pp. Original illustrated dust-jackets over paper covered boards. Decorative initials.
The Chronicles of Prydain is a pentalogy of children's high fantasy novels by American author Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007).
The five novels (of which the first one is missing in this set) follow the protagonist Taran from youth to maturity, most overtly in the fourth book, "Taran Wanderer." Taran has the title Assistant Pig-Keeper at Caer Dallben but initially dreams of being a grand hero. His most important companions in adventure are Princess Eilonwy, a girl his age; Fflewddur Fflam, a wandering bard and minor king; Gurgi, a wild man-beast; and Doli, a dwarf.
- The Black Cauldron: The story follows the adventures of Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, as he joins in a quest to capture the eponymous Magical Cauldron from Arawn Death-Lord. The book provided a title and many elements of plot for the Prydain film, the Disney animated feature "The Black Cauldron" released in 1985 (below), and its theatrical sequels.
- The Castle of Llyr: The story continues the adventures of Taran "Assistant Pig-Keeper", primarily on the Isle of Mona west of Prydain, far from the forces of Arawn, Lord of Death. Princess Eilonwy "faces the unavoidable (and in her view absolutely unnecessary) ordeal of becoming a young lady", says Alexander. Taran joins her escort to a royal court where she will continue her education, near to her ancestral home. Soon after arrival, she is kidnapped for the sorceress Achren. Taran and companions including Prince Rhun set out to rescue her.
- Taran Wanderer: The story follows Taran as he "wanders" with Gurgi, but without most of his former companions from the other Chronicles. He searches for his noble or common lineage in the eastern regions of Prydain, far from both the realm and forces of Arawn and the demesne of the High King. Along the way, he meets many people, learns new skills and crafts, and confronts some rough characters. According to the author, "he learns to reshape his life out of his own inner resources, for there must not only be an end to childhood but also a beginning of manhood."
- The High King: In the concluding volume, Taran and companions join the rest of Prydain in a great effort to defeat Arawn directly. Finally Taran must decide whether to be High King.
Slight and sporadic age-toning along the dust-jackets edges. Previous owner's name in ink at upper margin of each front free endpaper. Dust-jackets in overall good to very good, bindings in good+ to very good, interior in very good condition. g to vg. Item #41769