Mimus is as luminous and entertaining as Cornelia Funke's Thief Lord or Inkheart, yet Lilli Thal has created a dramatic and spellbinding universe all her own. The dark Middle Ages jump to life in blazing color in this world of adventure and imagination.
Two mighty kingdoms are engaged in endless, merciless war, but change appears imminent. King Philip is meeting his archenemy, King Theodo, to sign a peace treaty. But King Philip and his men are tricked and consigned to the squalid dungeons of King Theodo's castle. Soon, his son, 12-year-old Prince Florin, is lured to the castle, where the same horror awaits him.
On a whim, King Theodo decides to make the captive crown prince his second Fool, trained by Mimus, an enigmatic, occasionally spiteful, and unpredictable court jester. To add to Florin's misery, he and Mimus are fed a daily portion of gruel, forced to live in a dark, damp tower, and required to entertain the court on demand. But events ultimately turn for Florin and the other captives. They escape and it is Mimus's intervention that helps make it possible.
Mimus is a stunning novel that will take readers in its grip and hold them until the last page is turned. Through the brilliant rhymes, jokes, and wordplay of Mimus, the unceasing action and compelling events are sprinkled with lightness and humor.
|Publisher:||Random House Audio Publishing Group|
|Age Range:||12 Years|
About the Author
Lilli Thal has a master's degree in medieval history, art, and archeology and has won multiple awards for her three previous young adult novels. She lives in Germany.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from the first chapter:
"But the sorceress avenged herself on the prince by imprisoning him in a stone tower without a roof. Deprived of shelter he was scorched by the sun and soaked by the rain and snow. And the sorceress commanded a raven to fly over the tower once a day and let fall a thimbleful of water and a morsel of food as black and bitter as wormwood..."
Tanko fell silent. The other boys sitting beside him on the tree trunk stared at him expectantly. Florin could feel the prince's parching thirst, the taste of wormwood on his tongue.
"What then?" Senna insisted. "What happened to the prince after that?"
Lost in thought, Tanko bent and picked up a round piece of moss from the forest floor. Stroking it as if it were a furry little animal, he went on:
"The prince groaned aloud in his distress, but all that answered him was the silence of the sky and the howling of the wind. And the sorceress, having considered how to increase his sufferings, commanded an eagle to -- "
The boys gave a jump, startled by a loud snapping of twigs in the undergrowth.
"What an impressive sight," said a familiar voice. The four youngsters sprang to their feet at the sound of it. "There they sit like a row of ringdoves, the future masters of Moltovia, shuddering at some old wives' tale. Why trouble to go to the exercise yard? Let old Count Ursio teach his straw dummies to fence!"
The bushes parted and a gray-haired man stepped into the clearing. Short and wiry, he was nimble and vigorous in his movements and had a face like tanned leather. Although Count Ursio was very old -- or so he seemed to his pupils -- he still wore the leather tunic and iron shin armor of a swordsman. He proceeded to examine the four youngsters like an officer inspecting his troops. Having looked daggers at each of them in turn, he came to a halt in front of Tanko.
"Why not finish your story?" he demanded, rocking belligerently on his heels.
Tanko stared at the tips of his toes in sheepish silence.
Count Ursio drew a deep breath. "Teller of fairy tales!" He spat out the words like the coarsest of insults. "You're nothing but a dreamer!" he barked like a furious mastiff. "Go take your tales and sit with the washerwomen! It's no wonder any farmer's lad can unhorse you! You aim to be one of the king's knights? A fairground huckster -- that's all you're fit for! I'll give you a handbell, then you can join the clowns and fire-eaters and entertain the rabble in the streets!"
Radbod, who was standing beside Tanko, tittered despite himself. He would have done better not to, because Count Ursio promptly rounded on him.
"And what of you, my boy?" He pressed Radbod's head back with two fingers under his chin to force the youth to look him in the eye. "What will your noble father say if I send you home to your fine castle? What if I advise him to tie you to your nursemaid's apron strings for another few years before he sends you back to the royal school of knighthood?"
Although nearly thirteen, Radbod was -- much to his sorrow -- short for his age and slender. He swallowed this insult with his lips pressed tightly together.
"But here's the biggest buffoon of all!" The old count left Radbod and drew himself up in front of Senna, who was almost a head taller. "You think you're the best of this wretched bunch? You hope to succeed Sturmius as the prince's bodyguard?" The louder his voice became, the more Senna seemed to shrink. "Tell me something: What would you have done if a horde of vile Vinlanders had burst in on Tanko's fairy tale? Uttered a spell and turned them into toads?"
Senna tried to speak. "But Count Ursio, there aren't any Vinlanders so close to Montfield Castle, you know that full well."
"Look over there!" barked the old fencing master, With outstretched arm, he indicated a tall youth leaning on his sword at the edge of the clearing. "Is Sturmius sitting down with you fools? No, he's keeping watch as befits the prince's bodyguard. He's a dependable fellow!"
Sturmius gripped the hilt of his sword, trying not to look too proud of himself.
The old count walked past them all again. "A washerwoman..." he growled contemptuously, "a babe in arms... a buffoon..." He clasped his hands together as if in prayer.
"Holy St, George, noblest of warriors, assist me! See to it that these youngsters grow up at last!"
Florin bit his lip to suppress a grin. "You've forgotten me, Count Ursio," he said politely.
The count gave a little bow. "It does not behoove me to rebuke you, Your Highness," he said. "You must always set your companions a good example -- no one knows that better than you."
He took an hourglass from the pocket of his tunic and set it down on a tree stump. "You'll all be at the exercise yard before the glass empties," he growled. "Complete with armor, swords and shields -- or you'll regret it. And don't take it into your heads to turn the clock back!" With a last menacing glare, he disappeared into the trees.
"Brrr!" Radbod shook himself like a wet dog after a rainstorm.
"Trust the old fox to steal up on us on foot!" said Senna. "We'd have heard his horse half a mile away."
"If he had his way, we'd never leave the castle," Tanko said plaintively, "and would go to bed armed to the teeth."
"Count Ursio sleeps in full armor every night," Florin added. "What on earth will he do if peace really comes?"
"He'll invent some new threat," Tanko predicted, "and bully us even more. To Count Ursio, sword drill and swordplay are as necessary as breathing."
"It looks as if we'll be fencing in the rain," Radbod said, with an appraising glance at the sky. "But who cares?" He mimicked Ursio's voice. "What will you do in battle, you milksops? Ask the vile Vinlanders to hold off until the weather improves?"
Tanko cast a worried glance at the sand in the hourglass, which had run nearly halfway through.
"We'd better go."
"There's no hurry." Cool as a cucumber, Senna produced an ivory pin from his pocket. Having carefully dipped it in some pitch oozing from the tree trunk, he bent over Count Ursio's hourglass. "First I want to know if he survives.
"If who survives?" Tanko stared at him.
"The prince in the tower, of course," Senna replied as he neatly thrust the pin through the hourglass's leather case. The pitch clogged the trickle of sand, which stopped abruptly. "Just imagine, a thimbleful of water and a morsel of wormwood a day! Our prince grumbles if ten of his favorite dishes fail to appear on the table at once." He nudged Florin in the ribs. "It's a miracle you remain so thin, Your Highness."
"Food certainly sticks to your ribs," Florin retorted. "Three years at Montfield Castle have doubled your girth as well as your height!"
"Don't be envious!" Senna withdrew the pin with a jerk. "Well, friends," he said contentedly, "now we've solved that problem. what would you say to making a little detour on the way to the exercise yard?"
"The hideaway!" Florin and Radbod exclaimed together.
The hideaway was an abandoned hermit's hut that stood not far from Montfield Castle, concealed by a thicket of fir saplings and bramble bushes. The boys had stumbled across it by chance while hunting deer -- a meeting place during the winter days to come.
"But we can't!" Tanko eyed the useless hourglass apprehensively.
Table of Contents
Across the Frontier
The Jester's Second Skin
The Donkey Hunt
Agony of Mind
Pupil and Master
The Royal Children
Kitchen and Cellar
A Nocturnal Visitor
In the Dungeons
Duel with a Giant
The Game of Chess
The Jester's Peace
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Congratulations to Lilli Thal on her first place 'Gold' win in the 2005 ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards! Translated from Thal's native German by John Brownjohn, 'Mimus' is a prodigious tale of a young prince who is forced to become a 'Fool' when tricked by his father's old enemy, King Theodo. The experience is humbling for the sheltered Prince Florin, who doesn't understand why King Theodo loathes his family so deeply. Revenge is taken upon the entire kingdom of Moltovia and Florin's father, King Phillip. The story has a subtle message regarding the double-edged sword of revenge and the need for forgiveness, even if the crimes committed are horrid. There's also humor weaved skillfully on the pages. The banter between Mimus (King Theodo's Jester) and Prince Florin, who becomes the Jester's pupil, is very witty. The jokes and riddles lighten the horrors of torture and war. I'm hoping to find a sequel to Mimus, for I already miss the 'poetic jousting' between the Jester and Prince Florin.
This book I wasn't expecting to be at all the most thirlling book ever, ( i am a book worm I luv to read books) I read all the time and I know what books I want to read , and one day the librarian told me to read this book called " Mimus." I objected at once but she checked it out to me anyway. I read and read and now I own the book , I just can't keep my nose out of this book. I love it. I think the author did a great job on everything that they wrote. I hope you all read this book because it is the best book ever. It makes you feel like you are there watching this boy while he is growing up to be come a man. :)
I think that this book is an adventure for a young prince. The boy who is going to travel to place where is father is captured and is now a jester for King Vinland. It's an amazing story!!! I just love to read it over and over again. It is just one of the books where you actually can feel how the boy is feeling. You should totally buy this book because it is an amazing one.
This book is truly a masterpiece, one that will definitely be enjoyed by all. Lilli Thal's writing, even through translation, is amazing. Her characters are wonderfully played, Mimus himself especially. A book I'd reccomend to all of my friends, and potentially force soem of them into reading.
I do not lie, this book was amazing. It was full of suspense, action, and humor!! I loved Mimus!! He stole the show!! This book was well written for all of its twist and turns and a great job to the translator! You wouldn't have ever known it was once in German!! Certaintly not lost in translation.
I wanted to like this book, but just really wasn't impressed. The problem might have been that we were reading it out loud, and it just moved way too slowly for that. It was hard to really care about the main character, because he could be kindof dumb. There were definitely some interesting things going on, just not enough to keep us enthralled. We didn't actually finish the book - it just moved too slowly, and we were bored.
Loved this book. Bit different to what I usually read, but well worth while.
Mimus is a thrilling novel about two countries at war, Moltovia and Vinland. When it looks as though peace is at hand, Vinland captures the king of Moltovia and his son, Florin. Florin is then forced to become the apprentice of the court jester Mimus. This book, by Lilli Thal, is full of different emotional and physical challenges for Florin, while he discovers that jesters are worth little more than animals. Will he ever return to his old life as high royalty or will he stay as the jester of Vinland for his entire life? The overall writing is great, and the characters are very interesting. There are some areas where I feel that the grammar is incorrect, but that is probably because the book was originally written in German. I would recommend this book to any age group. It is a must read!! Reviewed By:DevinDefinitely
I found this book in my school library and wasn't expecting it to be at all good.'Not from how the cover looked or anything, it is just that my school library doesn't have many good books' Then I started reading it and found that I could not put the thing down. Soon I was done. Now I find myself wanting to read it again. The next time I go to the book store, I am going to buy this book. Thank you, Lilli Thal, for this very enjoyable read.
Awesome book, but it would have been nice to see Florin be a little bit more of a static character, but I suppose if you too were raised as a prince who¿s every whim had been catered to you¿d be just as annoying and spoiled. Also here¿s a good question about Florin's friend Tanko, did he die in the fire?Too bad Florin didin't learn a thing or two from his puckish jester pal.