Tonke Dragt was born in Indonesia in 1930. When she was twelve, war broke out, and she and her family had to go into a camp. That was where she wrote her first stories, in the sand and on found and stolen paper. After the war, Dragt moved to the Netherlands with her family. She became an art teacher at a secondary school. As they drew, she told stories to her students. “I asked my pupils what they would do if there was an unexpected knock at the door and someone whispered: ‘Open up.’ That was how the story of Tiuri the squire began. It was not just my students who could feel it. I too was almost certain that this beginning had a lot of potential and could maybe even grow into a whole book … Why would you risk your life for a letter when you don’t even know what it says?”
The Letter for the King
Tiuri is about to become a knight. The ceremony is tomorrow. This last night is supposed to be spent in seclusion and complete silence. But then he hears a cry for help. If Tiuri answers, he will not be knighted. But it is a matter of life and death…
Tiuri opens the door. The stranger outside asks him a question that will change his life forever. He has to deliver a secret letter to the king on the other side of the mountains – a letter that will determine the fate of the entire realm. Tiuri has to leave everything behind – his home, his dreams, his friends – and go on a mission that could cost him his life.
- The Letter for the King is the first Dutch-language book to be made into a Netflix series
- Published in 30 languages
- The winner of the Griffel der Griffels award for the best Dutch children’s book of all time
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“this beautifully translated, well-presented and captivating book.” – The Times “The plot is central, and extremely gripping, but the writing also delivers lovely detail and evocative description.” – The Guardian “rich symbolism, vividness and economy of style” – Sunday Times “A real cracker … a wonderfully simple, wonderfully gripping story” – The Spectator “This pulse-pounding epic … will keep all high-fantasy addicts riveted from the first page.” – Metro
What the international press said about The Letter for the King
About the Book
It is the dead of night. Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must spend hours locked in a chapel in silent contemplation if he is to be knighted the next day. But, as he waits by the light of a flickering candle, he hears a knock at the door and a voice desperately asking for help. A secret letter must be delivered to King Unauwen across the GreatMountains – a letter upon which the fate of the entire kingdom depends. Tiuri has a vital role to play, one that might cost him his knighthood.
Tiuri’s journey will take him through dark, menacing forests, across treacherous rivers, to sinister castles and strange cities. He will encounter evil enemies who would kill to get the letter, but also the best of friends in the most unexpected places. He must trust no one.He must keep his true identity secret.Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter…
The Letter for the King is the thrilling story of one boy’s battle against evil, set in an enchanted world of chivalry, courage and true friendship.
About Tonke Dragt
About the work of Tonke Dragt
Tonke Dragt creates her own worlds, full of fascinating and free-spirited characters. These worlds range from medieval tales of chivalry to futuristic science fiction, and from fairy-tale adventures to contemporary mysteries.
Tonke Dragt’s stories are often set in an undefined past or in the future. She knows a great deal about legends, myths and folk tales, and her books frequently feature elements of such stories.
When Dragt starts writing a book, she usually knows the beginning and the end. The rest of the story comes along as she writes. Sometimes a story has a very different ending than what she was planning.
A recurring theme in Dragt’s books is the protagonists’ search for themselves and for their place in the world. She often makes her characters do something that is not permitted by those around them, but that they need to do in order to make progress in their lives or to learn something about themselves.