The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis is the fourth book in the series and in this story, Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy are back in London and heading off to boarding school. The kids are a couple of years older and waiting at the train station; they will ride the train most of the way before having to split ways to arrive at their particular destination. Peter, Edmond and Susan are all calm and confident while waiting for the train, but Lucy is anxious about heading off to school. After a few more minutes of waiting, the Pevensie’s notice that things at the train station don’t seem the same anymore and wonder what is going on; but before they could figure what was happening, they were being pulled into Narnia.
Once the children are back and have had a nice run on the beach playing in the water, they decide that it’s time they figure out where they are and they got hungry so they also needed to find food. They find a garden… albeit a decrepit one, but it had an apple tree in it and that is what the kids had to snack on, eat on and even pack some for later since they don’t know when they’ll be settling down to a meal again. When they get to a specific place in the ruins near the gardens, they see a familiar, unique chess set and realize they’re standing in the ruins of their home in Narnia, Cair Paravel. Now they are determined to find out what happened, so they head to their treasury to grab their weapons and other tools: Peter gets his sword, Edmond gets his sword, Susan gets her bow and arrow, and Lucy gets her dagger and cordial with healing solution in it. The Pevensies were slightly shocked to find Susan’s magic horn missing, but felt it may have something to do with the fall of Cair Paravel.
On their way back to the beach they see a ship with two soldiers in it leaving a bound dwarf on the shore. They were going to cause harm or damage, so Susan shot an arrow their way to stop them; they were not interested in hanging around so they left the dwarf on shore and headed back to sea. Lucy gives the dwarf some of her healing-feel-better juice (that’s what I call it) and asks him about the encounter they just interrupted; he tells them his name and explains that he was on his way to this land for a specific reason. That he was on a mission. After telling them his story and answering their questions about the events that took place in their absence, the kids know what happened at Cair Paravel, how many years it has been since they were last there and why their help is needed again. Next, the Prevensies are following Trumpkin through the forest to get back to the camp they have set up and to where Prince Caspian is. It’s a long and exhausting journey on foot.
During this time, Lucy was pretty certain that she’d seen a few glimpses of Aslan, but Peter, Susan and Edmond had not seen anything so they were having some difficulty believing her. However, one night Lucy had trouble sleeping and followed something (like a light or music or other sound) into the woods where, eventually, the trees and fairies came to life as Aslan came walking through. Lucy is excited to see him and tells him that she’s glad he’s there – she goes on to tell him about how the others don’t believe her when she tells them she has seen glimpses of him. Aslan assures Lucy that it’s ok that they can’t see him and that they will discuss it later. Lucy returns to the group safely and goes to sleep.
The following day they hiked all over the place and still weren’t where they wanted to be, but Aslan helped them by leading Lucy out of the forest and the rest followed. They’re glad to finally be finished with that leg of the journey and are eager to move on to the next part. During the next portion of their trip, they have to rest because of sundown and tiredness; again, Lucy has trouble sleeping and slips away from the group to talk with Aslan. During this chitchat Lucy learns that her siblings may not be able to see Aslan as easily as she can, which makes Lucy nervous to tell them when she’s seen Aslan and to share any information or instruction she has received from him with them. The next day during their trip, the kids and Trumpkin realize they’re undeniably lost and stumble into some trouble by a treacherous river and waterfall – luckily for them, Aslan comes to help them escape and lead them out of those woods. They were running out of time to meet Caspian and devise a plan and/or battle strategy for restoring the Prince to his rightful throne as King of Narnia. After Aslan saves and helps them, Peter, Susan, Edmond and Trumpkin are all able to see Aslan. All of them, except Trumpkin, had to apologize to Lucy for not believing her when she said she saw Aslan. Trumpkin volunteered to take this mission after a different dwarf refused to go – he never doubted that Lucy saw him, but just knew that he hadn’t seen him.
Once the group arrived at the camp, the kids were taken to the place where Prince Caspian was with Badger, the other dwarf that refused to go and two of his shady friends that he invited over to be a part of their conversation. This dwarf doesn’t trust Caspian because he is a Telmarine and related to Miraz who successfully executed a coup against Prince Caspian. When the group arrives, Caspain, Badger and the dwarf are in a heated discussion about the best way to go about removing Miraz from the throne – the dwarf wants to resurrect the Ice Witch to do it and Caspian wants to take on Miraz in a fight or war to win the throne back since the Ice Witch can’t be trusted and had Narnia in a long freeze all those many years ago. They don’t want to take the chance of going through that again, but their decision to avoid that path angers the dwarf and his friends so they decide to attack Caspian and crew who are able to defend themselves and defeat the others. Prince Caspian and Badger thank them for saving them and are excited to see Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy with Trumpkin – Reepicheep, a noble swordsmouse, is there too in service to Prince Caspian.
After the fight and a meal, they sit down to talk about what their plan will be; after devising the plan – Peter sets it into motion. The illegitimate king of Narnia was challenged to a good old fashioned duel (or sword fight) which he arrogantly accepted despite being a fairly poor swordsman. The date and time is set; both sides show up and it had already been decided that Peter would be the one going into the ring. The rules are set inside the ring before the start of the fight and agreed to by both parties with witnesses from both sides present. The fight was intense and C.S. Lewis did a magnificent job with the descriptive details of the fight scene making it engaging from beginning to end. I don’t normally enjoy (and therefore, don’t normally read) books in a series (or fantasy for that matter) because the books that follow the first one in the series aren’t usually as good as the first one and never quite live up to the high standards that the first book sets. Then, I’m disappointed for however many books are left in the series if I choose to read them; however, the Chronicles of Narnia series isn’t really like that – most of the books are good even if some are better than others. The author didn’t waste much time getting to the action and adventure in this book – something I love because I don’t like beating around the bush either. I would recommend this book to any avid reader who loves a good fantasy adventure for youth – there is humor, action, magic, enchantment, fight scenes, and much more.
If you can’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I think that anyone who enjoys reading would like it and I think kids in school should have to read the entire series. I purchased my paperback copy at my favorite local used bookstore for $1.99, but it’s such an old popular series, that I’m pretty sure most, if not all, public libraries have a copy on their shelves you can request and checkout. Then again, for those who would rather purchase a new copy, Barnes and Noble has some options for you to choose from – just make sure you’re not purchasing a DVD! I’m sure you’ll notice in reference to the link I shared, that I showed the search results for Prince Caspian at Barnes and Noble because I can’t figure out which book is the most recent and actually a book, so rather than pick for you I figure it’s easier and best to let you see and choose for yourself. 🙂
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