STARRED REVIEW
October 25, 2016

Three extraordinary misfits take on prejudice, fear and farting dragons

By Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Review by

Prejudice. Hate. Fear. Farting dragons? Though Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale often careens into the absurd, it is rooted in the reality of the outcast. Grounded in the perennial quest to see beyond one’s self and social group, to grasp the common humanity of all—particularly those branded as other and lesser-than—The Inquisitor’s Tale is a rare page-turner, both humorous and profound.

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Prejudice. Hate. Fear. Farting dragons? Though Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale often careens into the absurd, it is rooted in the reality of the outcast. Grounded in the perennial quest to see beyond one’s self and social group, to grasp the common humanity of all—particularly those branded as other and lesser-than—The Inquisitor’s Tale is a rare page-turner, both humorous and profound.

Drawing on myths and historical figures, The Inquisitor’s Tale recounts the adventures of three misfits: William, a mixed-race monk in training who possesses superhuman strength; Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future; and Jacob, a Jewish boy who can heal mortal wounds with plants and prayer alone. Along with their resurrected dog, Gwenforte, these three outcasts take on a dyspeptic dragon, a fanatical Bishop and a monarchy hell-bent on burning every last Talmud in France.

Fast-paced and thought-provoking, Gidwitz’s well-plotted tale overcomes its only failing—a cast of diverse narrators whose voices sound, essentially, alike—with a wealth of humor and a story so compelling you won’t care who’s telling it. Slyly crafty, Gidwitz’s prose is sparse yet densely descriptive. Coupled with Hatem Aly’s whimsical “illuminations,” which mark nearly every other page of text, this action-packed tale of the oneness of humanity will captivate readers, young and old alike.

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The Inquisitor’s Tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale

By Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Dutton
ISBN 9780525426165

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