Great evil threatens the peaceful land of Prydain. Taran, a lowly Assistant Pig Keeper, must battle a diabolical fiend or face the destruction of his beloved home. Taran sets out on a journey with his companion, Gurgi, to find out who his parents are. On this journey, he encounters several old friends and a foe or two. At the end of his journey, Taran discovers who he is, but will he find his father? Accompanied by a host of companions as loyal as they are strange, Taran discovers that being a hero means much more than facing danger. His courageous heart struggles with questions of good and evil, nobility and common birth until ultimately he is forced to make the most crucial decision of his life. Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli — all of whom become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain. Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise. The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."