The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Werfel the Archivist gladly serves his goblin nation as a gracious host to scholar... read more

Werfel the Archivist gladly serves his goblin nation as a gracious host to scholar Brangwain Spurge, who has been sent as an elfin emissary. In spite of their mutual interests in history and culture, the two have vastly different world views shaped by the propaganda of their respective kingdoms. As a guest, Brangwain constantly tries Werfel’s nerves, but Werfel is determined to be a good host. For his part, Brangwain finds everything about the goblins horrifying—the food, the music, the clumsy attempts at honoring elfin culture. It all reinforces his determination to complete his mission, which is actually one of spying and subterfuge, not diplomacy. To underscore the two characters’ vastly differing perspectives, the book’s creators brilliantly use words and pictures in opposition to each other, with Werfel’s point of view conveyed in the prose narrative, Brangwain’s in the art, although readers must deduce this on their own. Gradually, the two narratives begin to align as Werfel and Brangwain slowly realize they are each pawns in their leader’s respective plots and join forces against political machinations in this ingenious, rollicking good story. Everything about the book is exceptional, from its appropriately old-fashioned design to its inventive use of narrative and illustration, original characters, gripping plot, and subtle social satire. (Ages 10–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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