The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

Book - 2018
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"Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom -- from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain's host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them -- and war for their nations. Witty mixed media illustrations show Brangwain's furtive missives back to the elf kingdom, while Werfel's determinedly unbiased narrative tells an entirely different story." -- From publisher.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780763698225
Branch Call Number: FICTION And
Description: 516 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Yelchin, Eugene


From Library Staff

Craig G: In this satirical fantasy, a mild-mannered elf is sent to the goblin city in an attempt to bring peace between the two nations. When the elfin emissary is greeted by a goblin scholar, both soon realize that the visit is a tangle of miscommunication, spies, and sabotage...and no one shoul... Read More »

Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom - from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years.

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Jun 10, 2019

Love this book. Delightfully entertaining. Would be fun to read to children and discuss the pictures. Love it.

vpl_childrens May 15, 2019

While digging the king's new pool, the elves have found an old goblin relic. In an effort (supposedly) to fortify their new truce with the goblins, after 1000 years of war, the elven kingdom sends one of their scientists to gift the strange carved egg to the goblin king. What follows is an illustrated account of the elf's visit from several points of view, none of which are reliable.

WoodmontTeens May 02, 2019

There is high art in this book. Read it if you like fantasy, and things that can get twisty.

Apr 24, 2019

This utilizes a format that I don't think has been named, but which I like. It intersperses prose with sequential picture story-telling, or a kind of comics. Brian Selznick has done this successfully more than once, and there are Scade and Buller's "The Fog Mound" books. The latter uses word balloons in the graphic sequences. Selznick and this book do not. I really enjoy this format, and since I first saw it have been thinking it is a way of writing in the future. Usually, now it is published as young adult or young readers. M.T Anderson is a veteran of young adult fiction with two absolute classics in print - "Feed" and "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party". In "...Spurge", he and Eugene Yeltsin use the two different narrative styles- prose and graphics - to present the story from two different points of view. It is fantasy with elves and goblins, but with new ideas and imagination. The two different styles pull you through the book, with the picture sections relieving the prose, and vice versa. The two protagonists and the strange friendship they weave is unforgettable. It is a study in where differences between people stem from, and consequences of how we see such differences. It has humor and a new magic sustaining it throughout. The pictures seem like illustrations because they cover one or two pages, but they are sequential story-telling in nature. It even offers sound advice for young adult or otherwise: “You cannot trust the wealthy and powerful….Just because you’re useful to the wealthy doesn’t mean they’ll reward you. It just means they’ll use you.”

Jan 14, 2019

This was kind of an odd one, although I think perhaps that's to be expected from Anderson. Anyway, it's about an uptight elven historian who is sent (via barrel and catapult) as an ambassador to the goblins to deliver a gift to help reaffirm their peace agreement. Unknown to him the elven king has other plans for the gift. It's kind of an odd couple thing, as the ambassador is housed by a goblin historian who has to protect him from his social missteps.

IndyPL_SteveB Jan 08, 2019

Fantastic novel for older children and teens (and adults who haven’t left those ages behind). This immensely creative and complex book is a combination of words and pictures, where the words tell part of the story and the pictures tell a very different version of the story. Except that sometimes the pictures are completely wrong.

Brangwain Spurge is an Elfin historian, picked to carry a treasure to the King of the Goblins, ostensibly to help begin peace talks. He is to stay with Werfel, a Goblin historian, in order to share historical insights and promote cultural exchange. But Spurge has a secret assignment to spy on the Goblin capital city. Neither historian understands the other’s culture, so complete confusion reigns. When Spurge accidentally insults various Goblin warriors and gets caught trying to spy, Spurge and Werfel must flee for their lives. The cultural misunderstandings are often hilarious, especially in the proper etiquette of insults. But most of the humor is more Swiftian as we see the way each race thinks of the other as the villainous group who started all the wars.

The pictures are fascinating and require a lot of attention. Some sections of the plot are ONLY told in the pictures. But many of the pictures are actually the results of Spurge’s frightened imagination and tell a false story.

JCLChrisK Nov 20, 2018

A delightfully fun deconstruction of ethnocentrism and skewed perception starring an archivist and a historian. Each is an expert on the long history of hatred and war between the elven and goblin kingdoms, paired together as part of a diplomatic mission. The elf's story is told through wordless illustrations, the goblin's through pictureless text, and even though they are recording the same events they tell wildly different stories. Plus there might be more to the mission than either knows, espionage and subterfuge in which they are unwitting pawns. The serious underlying themes are gradually revealed through humorous narration and sometimes silly events, as the cultures involved in this clash are easily lampooned without fear of offense. It makes for a unique, enjoyably off-kilter, and ultimately humanizing tale.

Nov 19, 2018

I liked this a lot. It feels like hums it's own version of a tune Terry Pratchett played. I want smoked pickles after reading this. I also really enjoyed the pictures.


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LibrarianDest Nov 09, 2018

LibrarianDest thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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