The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian BeckYoung Tom comes from a line of storybook heroes. And by that I mean the actual heroes of such stories as Jack the Giant Killer and The Frog Prince. Whether a clever tailor or a charming prince, the hero in each of your favorite fairy tales was most likely a member of the Trueheart clan, acting on instructions from the staff at the Story Bureau, and with a little help from sprites who carry messages and throw in a little magic now and then.
Heres how it works: Either Toms father Jack (missing these last several years) or one of his six elder brothers (all named Jack, or some variation thereof), on receiving a memo from the Story Bureau, marches out of the family cottage and into either the north, south, east, or west gate of the Land of Stories—a place where all the ingredients are in place for an adventure with trolls, giants, fairy godmothers, wicked witches, and what you will. After completing their adventure, they come home and tell the story, and this is what gets published in our world. So the Truehearts serve a vital function, keeping tales of imagination and enchantment flowing into the world of hard facts and harsh realities.
But now, something has gone wrong. One of the idea men at the Story Bureau has gone rogue, embedding traps in a series of story-beginnings that are sent to Toms older brothers. As the boys twelfth birthday approaches, and his apprenticeship as a storybook hero is set to begin, all of his role models are obliged to march away, promising to return on time for his birthday party. Instead, Toms birthday brings a message from the Story Bureau, ordering him to set out on a rescue mission to find his lost brothers, and by any means possible to help them complete their assignments.
And so Tom becomes the unsung hero in the untold part of the stories of Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty, the Frog Prince, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Snow White. And readers familiar with Chris Colfers The Wishing Spell are treated to another Land of Stories—same name, different map—based on quite a different principle. While Im not sure the concept behind this tale stands up to any scrutiny, theres no denying that it sets the stage for a thrilling adventure in which one small boy rights many wrongs, confronts a full-grown villain, experiences an interesting behind the scenes version of several well-known stories, and forms an endearing bond with a talking crow. Its a growing experience for a boy who worries about whether he will find his courage. Its wholesome fun for readers of most any age. And finally, it hints at a darker mystery that Tom must face in subsequent books.
Ian Beck is an artist and illustrator best known for his work on album covers, an animated telefilm, and over a dozen childrens picture-books. His other titles include Pastworld, The Hidden Kingdom, The Haunting of Charity Delafield, and a book for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic readers titled Samurai; plus a collection of fairy tales, a retelling of The Little Mermaid, and two sequels to this book. Their titles are Tom Trueheart and the Land of Dark Stories and Tom Trueheart and the Land of Myths and Legends.
The Secret History of Tom Trueheart - Boy Adventurer
Sign up for our newsletters! In the Land of Stories, the Trueheart men are famous for their heroic, exciting and sometimes romantic antics. They carry on a family tradition started by their brave and well-known father, Jack. Trueheart senior is heralded throughout the land as a great adventurer. But since his mysterious disappearance, his boys have taken over the tasks assigned by the Story Bureau and the Guild of Stories to finish the tales devised by Guild members. The Trueheart sons, appropriately named some form of Jack after their beloved father, each receive letters from the Bureau with directions and clues to an adventure they are to undertake.
Thank you! Fairytale fans have had plenty of opportunities recently to revisit their favorite stories in a variety of full-length retellings. In this once-upon-a-time world, there is a Story Bureau from whence all tales issue. Stories are then acted out by a combination of stock characters and adventurers, the latter being the six eldest Trueheart boys. For most readers, however, this is likely too much talk and not enough action. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.