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The Arkadians

by Lloyd Alexander
Reviewed by Victor

Enjoyable book with heavy mythology but great characters.


This story focuses on Lucian, the newly promoted royal bean counter, who overhears two royal advisers plotting against the King. These advisers are also priests of a sort, they cut up chickens and interpret them, but really they just make up whatever story they want the King to hear. So, Lucian is forced to flee the palace, but quickly makes a traveling partner: a talking donkey named Fronto. Since he is running away anyway, Lucian decided to help the donkey to become a man once again. The reader finds out how he had been transformed into a donkey for some foolish actions. They search high and low trying to find the Lady of Wild Things in order to change the donkey back, but the King's advisers have convinced Bromius the king to persecute the lady and all her followers. This makes it quite the challenge to find the lady.


Very high morals in "The Arkadians". Those character who do bad things suffer the consequences. Traits shown consistently throughout the book are forgiveness and love.

Spiritual Content

An offering is given to the sea, there is much mythological content as the goat people, horse people, and the Lady of Wild Things all have a view on how Arkadia came to be. Prophecy and transformations occur, but they are not reflected as being spiritual, more as teaching a lesson.


Lucian is hit on the head multiple times, a young couple is murdered and the story referenced, but not described. Someone is burnt in a fire, Calcus and Phoebus try to kill Bromius with sharp knives, and a horse's head is cut off.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A donkey drinks fermented mare's milk and wine at different points in the story. A bar is visited. No drugs.

Sexual Content

None mentioned.

Crude or Profane Language or Content



This book was so enjoyable, I actually read it twice in a row. Alexander's humour appeals to me; it makes me laugh and fills me with that syrupy sweet feeling as of time spent with friends. I enjoyed the characters immensely.

One thing to think about is the mythology in the book. I don't believe it is intended to have spiritual significance, but it was a bit confusing nonetheless, especially when an individual is physically transformed by a raging fire; also the unusual creation stories are worth being aware of.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 8-10

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