From the author of such children's classics as The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and A Little Princess, The Lost Prince is the enchanting story of a young boy discovering his true destiny. Twelve-year-old Marco knows he is being trained for something, but he isn't sure what. All his life he has traveled with his father in secrecy, learning many languages and the ways of a gentleman, but forbidden to speak about their country of origin, Samavia. Samavia has been fraught with war for the last 500 years, ever since the prince mysteriously disappeared. But now, there is hope that peace may come at last, as it has been rumored that a descendant of the lost prince may have been found.
© Frances Hodgson Burnett; (P)2006 Alcazar AudioWorks
The Lost Prince seems like a natural progression after Little Lord Fauntelory for children, family, or teenage reading. During the first of part of the Lost Prince, you think you have it all figured out but then . . .what's real is not and what's not is real.
David Thorn performed this tale as if he had written it; a once upon a time, gritty, long, long ago and definitely not a Shirley Temple version. His voice has a grand log fire, rocking chair, candlelight, weathered quality to it. One can hear the smile in his tones. I changed my mind a few times about this book. I finally settled on liking it, but it is not on par with "The Secret Garden" or "A Little Princess". However, many books I enjoy fall short of the merits of those works. In any case, Frances Hodgson Burnett was no sentimentalist.
The story is set before WWI shook the foundations of many royal houses of Europe in a time of secret societies, assignation plots and counter plots. After showing themselves up to the task, the heroes, two young boys are sent on a mission carrying a secret message which signals the start of a revolt against a bloody tyrant of a small country. A bit surprising considering the period, one of the boys is a cripple, from polio I surmise. I don't recall another such in the role of hero from literature of the time.
It was very long for such a simple plot. However, it was quite the "cinderella story" in that it is a common childhood dream. There is alot of reference to buddist law & I didn't particularily like that. No foul language. Somewhat makes you think it is true history.
As a fan of 'The Secret Garden' and 'A Little Princess' thought I might as well pick this up. I can see why it's obscure! On the surface, the story of the lost heir to a kingdom and his journey across Europe ought to be a ripping yarn; but Burnett manages to avoid every single opportunity for suspense, action, conflict, or drama of any kind. The hero is of the Little Lord Fauntleroy type, a paragon of boyhood; his companion The Rat is interesting but never gets to do anything because nothing ever happens.
What makes this more than bearable is the magnificent reading by David Thorn, narrating the preposterous story with a slow, poetic gravity and commitment that makes it seem as though it all might have a profound meaning. Burnett does write in the fine turn-of-the-century classic prose style, so the combination is a pleasure to listen to, even if the story itself is a bit of a dead loss. Good to doze off to?
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