“The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen” by Lloyd Alexander

prince_jen

Prince Jen of T’ang (a fictional China) undertakes a journey to the far-off utopian Kingdom of Tienkuo to figure out what makes it so great.  He brings six gifts for the king, each rather ordinary on the outside but actually (as we find out) possessing unique magical powers.

In the series of unfortunate events which disrupts the expedition, each gift is lost, given, or used up to get out of trouble.  But, as it often turns out, the journey IS the destination and Prince Jen learns what he needs to from his mysterious teacher, Master Fu/Hu/Wu/Shu/Chu. (did I forget any?  I guess they are all manifestations of the same guy.)

Really a good read.  Some pretty humorous parts.  I loved Moxa, the honorable robber who always follows the Robber Code: basically don’t rob from anyone who doesn’t deserve it.  Unfortunately he is not a very successful robber, since the Code pretty much exempts almost everyone in one way or another.  But at least he has the Eye of Discerning Perception and the Nose of Thoughtful Inhalations!

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