Krabat and the Sorcerer's Mill
New Year’s has passed. Twelfth Night is almost here. Krabat, a fourteen-year-old beggar boy dressed up as one of the Three Kings, is traveling from village to village singing carols. One night he has a strange dream in which he is summoned by a faraway voice to go to a mysterious mill—and when he wakes he is irresistibly drawn there. At the mill he finds eleven other prisoner, all of them, like him, the apprentices of its Master, a powerful sorcerer, as Krabat soon discovers. During the week the boys work ceaselessly grinding grain, but on Friday nights the Master initiates them into the mysteries of the ancient Art of Arts. One day, however, the sound of church bells and of a passing girl singing an Easter hymn penetrates the boys’ prison: At last a plan is set in motion that will win them their freedom and put an end to the Master’s dark designs.
Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill was one of Cornelia Funke’s most beloved books as a child, and it is easy to see why. It is a wondrous story of magic, black and white; of courage and cunning; and of high adventure.
One of my favorite books.
In Preussler’s masterpiece, the terror is real, the love sweet, and the suspense twisted tight.
—J. Alison James
Like many of the classic children’s books being reissued by New York Review Books, Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried Preussler has the potential to appeal to readers of various ages: nostalgia-seekers who enjoyed Anthea Bell’s excellent translation when it was first published in the 1970s, and young aficionados of fantasy fiction who’ll be happy to discover, in teenage hero Krabat, a worthy progenitor to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Christopher Paolini’s Eragon....For Krabat, he drew on the folk tales he loved as a child, basing the book on a Wendish legend. But it is Preussler’s own storytelling mastery and gift for atmosphere that render this Bildungsroman-meets-Gothic horror both timeless and splendidly, creepily original.
—Emma Garman, Words Without Borders