The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
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Annotation: Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom -- from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years.
Catalog Number: #6519252
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Yelchin, Eugene,
Pages: 516 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-9822-9
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-9822-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018959550
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Historian and diplomat (and spy) Brangwain Spurge has been sent from Elfland to the neighboring goblin kingdom. He befriends his host, goblin archivist Werfel. Unbeknownst to them both, however, their nations are preparing for war. Pen-and-ink illustrations resembling medieval lithographs represent Spurge's not-always-reliable spy reports; with touches of humor, whimsy, irony, and menace, they're well suited to both the acerbic wit and the affecting tenderness of Anderson's prose.
Publishers Weekly
In a witty, offbeat adventure, elfin historian Magister Brangwain Spurge is sent by Lord Ysoret Clivers, of the Order of the Clean Hand, to the allegedly wicked goblin court of Ghohg the Evil One; once there, Spurge is to present the ruler with a carved gemstone and broker peace. After crossing the Bonecruel Mountains via crossbow capsule, Spurge is welcomed by his host, the unfailingly polite goblin historian Werfel the Archivist, who is eager to make friends with a professional fellow and show him his beloved culture. But most of goblin culture involves rehashing its conflict with Spurge-s people, leading to a chain of interpersonal misunderstandings. Things go sideways when Spurge tries to present his gift to Ghogh the Evil One, and the two must flee the city, then rely on each other to survive murderous bandits and ogres, firestorms, and treachery. Told in narrative and illustrated pages-Werfel-s experiences and Spurge-s visual dispatches back home-the story by Anderson (Feed) and Yelchin (Arcady-s Goal) blends the absurd and the timely to explore commonality, long-standing conflict, and who gets to write a world-s history. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10-12. Author-s agent: David McCormick, McCormick Literary. Illustrator-s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Spy thrills meet fantasy rivalries as an elitist elf and a bookish goblin strike up a cross-cultural kerfuffle in Anderson and Yelchin's collaborative meditation on prejudice.Scholar Brangwain Spurge of the Realm of Elfland is sent to deliver a historically significant gift to the ruler of the neighboring goblins—and to make some covert observations. Little does he know that his spy mission, related in multipage wordless sequences of black-and-white illustrations, is in fact an assassination. Meanwhile, in an interleaved third-person prose narrative, Werfel, a goblin archivist, is thrilled to meet and host the elf historian, sure that they will find fertile common ground to begin easing the 1,000-year-old tension between their two kingdoms. Dismayed, however, by Spurge's lack of appreciation and downright snobbishness, Werfel is horrified to find his guest has betrayed his hospitality and caught the attention of the goblin secret police as their two kingdoms head, once again, toward conflict. Occasional letters from Elfland's spymaster assist the two primary narratives. The book makes no secret about its own position even as it cheerfully asks readers to think critically about ideologies and their agendas and the manufactured barriers of misinformation and misunderstanding. Together, Anderson and Yelchin craft something that feels impossible, a successfully unorthodox epistolary, pictorial, and prose narrative that interrogates the cultural ramifications of unchallenged viewpoints and the government violence they abet even as it recounts the comedic blunderings of a spy mission gone wrong.Monty Python teams up with Maxwell Smart for a wrestling match with Tolkien—splendid. (Fantasy. 10-16)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Anderson's latest foray into middle-grade fantasy is executed with all the smarts and finesse his fans have come to expect. Joining him on this storytelling adventure is Yelchin, who supplies illustrated sections identified as "Top Secret Transmissions" that move the story along, much like the artwork in Brian Selznick's illustrated novels. The story opens by flinging readers into the goblin city of Tenebrion, alongside elfin historian Brangwain Spurge. Entrusted with a rare jewel from Elfland, a gift to forge peace between the two kingdoms, Brangwain regards his diplomatic mission with a mix of stoicism and disdain. On the other hand, his goblin host, Archivist Werfel, is brimming with excitement over the opportunity for cultural and scholarly exchange. While the two await a summons from the goblins' ruler, Brangwain regularly sends reports to the elves' secret police (Top Secret Transmissions!), revealing his clandestine role as spy. The true joy of this novel is in the two scholars' rapport, especially as their irreconcilable views on their kingdoms' war-torn history emerge; but as circumstances send the pair running for their lives, misconceptions begin to be stripped away. Yelchin's black pen-and-ink illustrations, in medieval style, capture the humor and fantastical details of the text, as well as Brangwain's changing view of goblins. Biting and hysterical, Brangwain and Werfel's adventure is one for the history books.
Word Count: 41,921
Reading Level: 5.3
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.3 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 197012 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.6 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q75387
Lexile: 760L
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

Subverting convention, award-winning creators M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin pair up for an anarchic, outlandish, and deeply political saga of warring elf and goblin kingdoms.

Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom — from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them — and war for their nations. Witty mixed media illustrations show Brangwain’s furtive missives back to the elf kingdom, while Werfel’s determinedly unbiased narrative tells an entirely different story. A hilarious and biting social commentary that could only come from the likes of National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson and Newbery Honoree Eugene Yelchin, this tale is rife with thrilling action and visual humor . . . and a comic disparity that suggests the ultimate victor in a war is perhaps not who won the battles, but who gets to write the history.


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