cover image Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Tales

Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Tales

Terry Pratchett, read by Julian Rhind-Tutt. Listening Library, , unabridged, 4 CDs, 4 hrs., $30 ISBN 978-1-101-89201-5

This collection gathers 14 short stories written by the late fantasy author when he was a teenager. Dragons get ousted from their caves and take over a castle. The world’s most boring knight wins half a kingdom and the princess’s affection through sheer doggedness. A tortoise journeys far from home and discovers bravery and a new life. A champion “egg dancer” forfeits his win to catch some thieves. Fans of Sir Terry’s later work will recognize the seeds of some of his Discworld characters and themes in these tales: wordplay, puns, silly jokes, wonderfully goofy names, characters with strong ethics, and wild ideas grounded in reality. In the audio edition, musical interludes and other sound effects help to divide some of the very short stories. Rind-Tutt’s flexible voice and spot-on accents allow listeners to immediately grasp the nature of the characters. His Scotsmen are daring adventurers, his upper-crust ladies have hooting, high-pitched voices, and the heroes sound sturdy and forthright. Parrots, princesses, tortoises, and very proper butlers all come to life. Rind-Tutt’s energetic performance is both goofy and warm, just perfect for Pratchett’s sensibilities. Ages 9–12. A Clarion hardcover. (Feb.)