3.77 (53 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is a pacy, novelised retelling of one of English literature's greatest stories. Dramatic line drawings bring the exciting story about a brave Scandinavian warrior to life. The story tells of Beowulf's adventures, as he slays the ogre Grendel, who has been terrorizing a neighbouring king's land. "Kingfisher Epics" are retellings of classic tales and legends that retain all the exhilaration and immediacy of their originals. With exciting illustrations and accessible language, these magnificent stories will captivate readers discovering them for the first time. There are four other titles in the series: "The Iliad", "The Odyssey", "King Arthur" and "Robin Hood". The setting of the epic is 6th century Scandinavia. For 12 years, an ogre named Grendel has menaced King Hrothgar, raiding his mead-hall and killing his men. Beowulf, a young warrior from neighbouring Geatland, comes to the king's aid, bringing with him 14 of his men. Beowulf and the Geats bed down in the mead-hall to wait for Grendel. The ogre furiously bursts in on them, killing one. With the strength of 30 men, Beowulf seizes the ogre's arm and rips it from its shoulder. The beast flees and dies.
The Danes celebrate with a feast. Grendel's mother enters the mead-hall that night, retrieves her son's arm, and kills one of Beowulf's men. The next morning, Beowulf follows the mother's tracks into a dark swamp. Carrying a sword, Beowulf dives into the water to seek the mother. Grendel's mother hauls Beowulf to her cave. Beowulf fights back but the sword does no damage. The mother moves to kill Beowulf, but his armour protects him. Suddenly Beowulf spots a magical, giant sword and uses it to cut off the mother's head. The magic sword melts to its hilt. Beowulf returns to the lake's surface carrying the head and hilt. After more gifts and celebration, Beowulf and his men return home. He becomes king and rules successfully for 50 years. But Beowulf must slay one last demon, a fiery dragon who leaves the mighty king mortally wounded. Dying, Beowulf leaves his kingdom to his friend Wiglaf and requests that his body be cremated in a funeral pyre and buried high on a seaside cliff with the dragon's treasure-hoard.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 124 x 198 x 14mm | 258.55g
  • Kingfisher Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • b/w line drawings
  • 0753415011
  • 9780753415016
  • 2,290,435

About Penelope Hicks

Penelope Hicks was born in India but now lives in West London. She is the author of one children's book (The Barefoot Book of Fairies - writing as Rose Williams) and an adult novel. While at university, she translated Beowulf from the original which triggered an interest in Old English literature. Penelope has a PhD in 18th English literature. She lectures and regularly contributes to academic journals. James McLean is a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist. His work has appeared in national newspapers and comics. He was the series illustrator for the Channel 4 television show Checking Into History.
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Rating details

53 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 30% (16)
4 34% (18)
3 23% (12)
2 9% (5)
1 4% (2)
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