This magical adventure set in an enchanted castle surrounded by thorns tells a tale of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination. By the acclaimed author of The Princess Curse and Handbook for Dragon Slayers, this original fantasy is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale.
When blacksmith apprentice Sand wakes up in a ruined castle, he has no idea how he got there, but the thorny brambles that surround the walls prevent him from leaving. As he begins to fix up the castle in order to survive, everything he touches somehow works better than it should. Then, as he continues to explore, Sand discovers the castle’s secrets, including its long lost heir, Perrotte. Together they must fully repair the broken castle if they ever want to leave.
Merrie Haskell was born in Michigan and grew up in North Carolina. She wrote her first story at the age of seven, and she walked dogs after school in order to buy her first typewriter.
Merrie returned north to attend the Residential College of the University of Michigan, where she earned a BA in biological anthropology. Her fiction has appeared in Nature, Asimov's Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, and Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy: 2008 Download. She now lives in Saline, Michigan, with her husband and stepdaughter. Merrie works in a library with over seven million books, and she finds this to be just about the right number. She is also the author of The Princess Curse and Handbook for Dragon Slayers.
“Haskell effortlessly weaves together internal and external forces, leading to a tense climax. Subtle parallels to ‘Sleeping Beauty’ are omnipresent, but Sand and Perrotte’s work of restoring the castle, avenging old wrongs, and forgiving once-bitter enemies takes its own, novel course.” — The Horn Book
“Exploring a range of weighty subjects, from the horror of war to the difficulty of forgiveness, Haskell makes every subplot and character count, reinforcing the story’s elaborate metaphorical and thematic structure.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The developing relationship between the two main characters is portrayed realistically; it’s often as prickly as the thorns that surround them. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s and Shannon Hale’s fairy tale adaptations will enjoy the adventure and mystery here.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
The Castle Behind Thorns is a graceful and enchanting fantasy that celebrates the healing magic of kindness, friendship, and love. I was utterly charmed. — Rae Carson, author of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series
“A warm and lovely story about friendship, magic, the long shadow of the past, and blacksmithing.” — Robin McKinley, Newbery Medalist author of THE HERO AND THE CROWN and THE BLUE SWORD
Utterly magical . . . a fairy tale about healing a broken castle, a broken soul, a broken country, and a broken heart. — Catherine Gilbert Murdock, acclaimed author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben
Sand and his passion will resonate with readers of all ages—I adored him just as much as my young patrons will. — Ally Watkins, Youth Services Librarian, Central Mississippi Regional Library System
A subtle and engaging parable of healing, The Castle Behind Thorns offers its readers a window into the human metaphor which lies at the roots of fantasy and magic. — Kenny Brechner, DDG Booksellers
I loved everything about this book! From the characters to the themes, it all worked together to form a really fun and interesting story. I think it would make an excellent book club book, it just lends itself to detailed discussion. — Faith Hochhalter, Children's Book Specialist, Changing Hands Bookstore