THE MARVELOUS MISADVENTURES OF SEBASTIAN by Lloyd Alexander

THE MARVELOUS MISADVENTURES OF SEBASTIAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When the 'marvelous misadventures' in the 18th century mode take on the aspect of a soulful Dance of Death, the fabric is rent; but stay--the telling tells all. How Fourth Fiddler Sebastian, coming afoul of his pomposity The Purse, is turned out, the least clumsiness being deemed devious in Regent Grinssorg's realm; how he saves himself and a blue-eyed white cat from a most unMerry Host, loses his fiddle and almost his freedom, and finds a friend whose name of Nicholas is not the whole of it; and most marvelously "How Sebastian Misjudged His Opponent" who changes in a trice from pugnacious fellow traveler to shrinking runaway apprentice to fugitive servant-girl to fancy-spoken Princess Isabel of Hamelin-Loring--recently betrothed to the Regent. Therein of course lies the tale, lacking only the clown Lelio's "accursed" fiddle (uncovered by Presto the cat at Quicksilver's Gallimaufry-Theatricus) to play out the theme. For in the hazardous course of thwarting the Princess' recapture--and divesting her of illusions about royal beneficence as well as her regal speech--the violin makes Sebastian its instrument, and he surpasses himself: is he not a mere fiddler but a true musician? The violin mesmerizes its hearers also, and providentially dances Grinssorg to his death before Presto shatters it, saving Sebastian from a like fate. Princess Isabel will be a constitutional monarch with Nicholas, otherwise Captain Freeling the legendary rebel, as First Minister until she abdicates all power and marries Sebastian--who meanwhile sets out to become "a noble among fiddlers, not a fiddler among nobles." Well put, and better to linger on than whether "make-believe and moonshine" are "the truth--as they might be." Especially since make-believe and moonshine are the making of The Misadventures.
Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1970
ISBN: 0440405491
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1970




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