All the Kings Men

William Mayne, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (182p) ISBN 978-0-385-29626-7
The mood of the three short stories in this volume swings from a dark, somber intensity in the title story to thought-provoking mysticism in ``Boy to Island,'' and to light enchantment in ``Stony Ray.'' ``All the King's Men'' is narrated by a dwarf at the court of a long-ago Spanish king, an account of the treatment of him and his fellow dwarves at the hands of king and courtiers that is made immediate by Mayne's (Drift, Earthfasts, etc.) evocative descriptions. The other two stories invoke themes of being lost and the power of imagination over the environment: ``Boy to Island'' involves two children who must search for a way off of the island of fairies, but their hunt is one that could span lifetimes; ``Stony Ray'' is the story of a girl's flight from home and her subsequent adventures, which may or may not exist only as suppositions in her mind. Difficult passages and references lay amidst the elegant prose, and the Arthur Rackham-inspired jacket painting indicates a much gentler, dreamier collection than this stirring, sophisticated fare. But these points do not detract from the vivid imagery and satisfying resolutions. Ages 8-12. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Genre: Children's
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