The Inquisitor’s Tale (Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog)
By Adam Gidwitz
Hi! Has anyone ever looked down on you because of your looks? Maybe you know someone who has done that to someone else. Well, Jeanne, William and Jacob have been looked down on because of their looks or beliefs all their lives!
Jeanne is a peasant girl and people in this book believe that peasants work with the devil. In fact, most rich people believe that anyone who isn’t rich cannot belong to God. Rich people in this book are white men (no women - they believe that all women are believers in the devil), and all are Christians. (But not all Christians are bad. Just different Christians in this book have different beliefs. But we know that this is just a book and we know that true Christians believe in the love of God.) William, who is African-American, is looked down on because of his skin color. And Jacob is looked down on because he has a different belief than everyone else. He is a Jew. How do these three unlikely friends meet? Well, it all started with a dog…
When Jeanne was a little girl, her parents were out in the field and they had left her inside with her dog, Gwenforte. It’s a weird name for a dog, right? Then, a snake slithered into the house. Of course Gwenforte, being the good dog that she was, protected the baby and killed the snake. In all the confusion, Jeanne had hidden herself underneath the hay. When the parents came back and couldn’t find their baby girl, they assumed the worst: that Gwenforte had killed her! That day, they took Gwenforte outside and killed her. Then, they found their little baby hidden underneath all the hay. They realized what they had done after they found the snake, and they made a nice little grave for the sweet little dog. And from that day forth, everyone brought their children to Gwenforte, “the holy dog,” and prayed that, underneath her good care, their children would grow up to be great people.
William was a monk. A monk is a person who studies the Bible. Most evil children are sent to a school to become monks because the town wants them to grow up in God’s presence and not be the evil children they see them to be. And the only reason William got sent to the monastery (the place where monks live) is because of his skin color. Then, after being expelled, he gets sent to a very dark place to be trained. There, he meets evil people and destroys them with just his bare hands even though they had weapons. This is William’s magical power.
Jacob is a Jewish boy who can heal anything with his hands, a plant and a prayer. This is his magical power. One day, some nasty Christian children burned down his village because of a dare. He found someone with their head bleeding and busted and he healed them instantly. But his mother and father were caught in the fire. They told him to go to his aunt and uncle’s house and they would meet him there. He heads off to Saint-Denis where his aunt and uncle live.
Now, I have one more thing to tell you about Jeanne. One night, her favorite villager - an old, kind-hearted witch - was taken by a giant to who knows where. Then, she started having her “visions.” Her “visions” were little fits that she would have and she would see small glimpses of the future. And the night before that kind-hearted witch was taken, she saw her being taken by that giant. Nobody believed her, but it came true! Then one night, an army came to her village. Jeanne had a vision that Gwenforte, the holy dog, had come back! She rushed to his grave, and sure enough he was there, standing in all his glory on top of the earth. Then, it turned out that the army had been coming for Gwenforte. So Jeanne took him and hid, but they soon found her. Little Gwenforte ran away before she could be taken, and the guards led Jeanne to a bar where they would sit down and have a drink. And that’s where they all met!
First came William, splattered in blood from his attack, to rest. Next came Jeanne, tied with a rope and led by a knight. And third came Jacob, just looking for directions to Saint-Denis. A knight caught Jacob taking food from a pig because he was so hungry. The knight called that stealing and was about to kill him when William came up and saved Jacob. Then, they saved Jeanne and they all headed off together. But they knew they were not safe from the law even yet, because witchcraft was a terrible crime! But could they help their magical powers? No! So they decided to work together and go off on many adventures of their own.
Would they survive their terrible journeys? Would the law against witchcraft be taken back? As I always say, read the book to find out!
A few helpful things I like to say about the books I read:
“Run and Get Mom” (how I describe the scariness factor – zero being not scary at all and five being majorly scary): 4
“Yucky-Lovey Stuff” (how I describe the romance factor – zero having no yucky-lovey parts in it and five having major yucky-lovey parts): 1 (and this is compassion, not real kissing)
I give this book 5 wands.
This book was amazingly amazing to me!! It showed that sometimes people judge others just because of things that are out of their control.