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The lost prince de Frances Hodgson Burnett
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The lost prince (1915 original; edició 1996)

de Frances Hodgson Burnett

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
5951430,145 (3.77)31
From the author of such children's classics as The Secret Garden and A Little Princess comes this enchanting story of a young boy discovering his true destiny. Twelve-year-old Marco has spent his life traveling with his father in secrecy, forbidden to speak about their country of origin, Samavia, which has been fraught with war ever since the prince mysteriously disappeared 500 years ago. But now, there is hope that peace may come at last, as it has been rumored that a descendant of the lost prince may have been found.… (més)
Membre:camila.maria
Títol:The lost prince
Autors:Frances Hodgson Burnett
Informació:London : Puffin, 1996.
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:****
Etiquetes:literatura-clásica

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The Lost Prince de Frances Hodgson Burnett (1915)

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This is one of my all-time favorite children's books, even though I didn't discover it until I was an adult. There is something immensely appealing about a story where even a twelve-year-old boy can significantly affect the world around him. Early on, we learn that Marco, his father, Stefan, and their servant Lazarus are Samavian nationals in exile from their beloved country. They travel from country to country, are very poor, and there is some mystery to their lifestyle. Marco and his father are very close. Marco's love for his father is evident in everything he does. Stefan's love for Marco is equally apparent, as is a different sort of protectiveness than is seen in most families. I loved the trust that Stefan showed Marco and the respectful interest he showed in the things that Marco told him.

Marco learned from a very young age how to be quiet about their lives. Though well-traveled, when living in a country, he appears to be from that country. If they return to a city after time away, they live in a new area and do not visit old neighborhoods. Marco has learned to entertain himself and knows the pleasures of free libraries and free days at museums. Once in a while, he makes a friend during their time in a city. Here, Marco has just moved to London and has gone exploring to learn about his new neighborhood and refresh his memories of the city. He stumbles on a group of boys known as "The Squad," led by a disabled boy known as The Rat.

Jem Ratcliffe is the son of a former schoolmaster who has fallen on hard times and taken to drinking. The Rat is fascinated by military and war-related things and has trained his "men" in drilling and maneuvers. His first encounter with Marco begins with him throwing a rock at Marco and ends with an unexpected friendship. Marco and The Rat bond over their love of Samavia, though The Rat only knows about it from what is in the newspapers. The Rat has an amazingly vivid and complex imagination and creates a game that involves two boys who spread the word of a Lost Prince found and a throne to take back.

Meanwhile, Stefan and Lazarus are seen to be involved in something highly secretive. As the news of Samavia becomes more dire, their fears for their homeland grow. There is also a glimmer of hope that a descendant of their Lost Prince could be found and restored to the throne. Stefan is interested in hearing about his son's new friend and is intrigued by The Game they play, even making the occasional suggestion.

When The Rat's father dies, he goes to Marco and Stefan for help. I loved the kindness and compassion that Stefan showed the boy and its effect on him. The Rat's reaction was perhaps a little excessive, but Stefan often had that effect on people. He was stunned when Stefan invited him to join their family. As things go from bad to worse in Samavia, we see an increase in Stefan's secret activities, and that Marco also plays a part. With The Rat's arrival, he, too, is included.

The tension of the book picks up when Stefan turns The Game into the real thing. Still under the guise of make-believe, he gives the boys tasks to learn and carry out, all in the spirit of pretend. Both boys sense that it has moved beyond that and are proved right when Stefan asks them to become the Bearers of the Sign. The powers-that-be believe that two boys can do things that would be suspicious in grown men. Even after reading the book many times, I am always glued to the pages as Marco and The Rat make their way across Europe, delivering their message. From the poor to the powerful, each recipient has their place. I love the descriptions of where they go and what they have to do each time. There are challenges to overcome, and no small amount of danger. The last stop is an emotional one and adds another piece to the reader's puzzle, and while The Rat suspects the truth, Marco is strangely oblivious. Quest completed, they return to London, only to find that Stefan is not there. I loved the building tension as they wait for word from him. I loved the conclusion and Marco's joy at being reunited with Stefan.

Written in 1915, it is easy to see the influences of the time on the story. Class differences are evident. Marco and Stefan are obviously of the upper class despite their impoverished circumstances. Stefan's commanding presence is made much of, as is Marco's demeanor. While The Rat isn't quite on the level they are because his father "used to be a gentleman," he is seen as a bit above his "Squad" members. Current events of the day appear to have influenced the setting, and the names have a definite Slavic influence. There are some hints of mysticism, also a big deal during that time. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Nov 13, 2020 |
Verkorte versie
  Marjoles | Jul 31, 2017 |
Marco is a 12 year old boy raised by his father and his father's devoted servant. They live in dingy little rented rooms that are visited by secretive gentlemen. They travel constantly, and Marco has been trained since birth to pass as a native of any of the countries in Europe. When a crisis hits, Marco needs all of his training and devotion to his father.

This is a romantic tale, not in the sense of love but in the sense that it's a fantasy of how European feudalism works, a bit like The Prisoner of Zenda crossed with the Scarlet Pimpernell. The men are all Real Men, women are Real Women, and all the classes instinctively know and hold to Their Place. The lower classes feel an innate, uncontrollable devotion to those who should justly rule them. The upper classes are natural leaders, who always know the right thing to do. Marco's every word and movement betrays him as someone who should be obeyed. Supposedly, people's eyes follow him down the street and they exclaim in wonder at his regal bearing. (His lower class friend, by the way, literally begs to be allowed to polish his boots.)

This is basically the boy's version of [b:The Little Princess|523711|Disney Princess The Little Mermaid (Disney Princess, 2)|Walt Disney Company|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1175529515s/523711.jpg|13559056], except that Marco is macho where Sarah is girly. In both, they are big-eyed children with thick dark hair who are devoted to their papas. They are characterized by their imaginations, high intelligence, bravery, and innate poise. After a childhood spent accepting service as their natural due, cruel and foolish people force them into isolation and poverty. And yet, their inborn abilities allow them to rise above those who would destroy them, and they triumph in the end by being richer and more powerful than before. Even complete strangers are excited by their triumph, because they so obviously, naturally deserve wealth and power.

I found it all revolting. I'm used to the gender essentialism in Burnett, but she really goes all out in her classism. It's such an obvious, contrived fantasy, and I really lost all patience for it early on. I probably could have borne it better if Marco hadn't been so perfect (even Sarah Crewe gets a moment of frustration--but Marco always thinks and does the right thing), if the big plot twist Marco is the lost prince! surprise! wasn't so obvious, or if the spiritualist subplot hadn't been so dreadful. As it was, I forced my way through only by reading the worst passages aloud to my roommates so we could cackle at them together. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This is one of the lesser-known novels for teenagers by Frances Hodgson Burnett (best known for 'The Secret Garden'). It was written about a hundred years ago, so is out of copyright and was free for my Kindle.

The story is loosely based on fact, but features an imaginary Eastern European country called Samavia. Marco, the young protagonist of the book, has been brought up as a patriot by his father, despite never having been there. He is observant and intelligent, and knows when to be quiet. He becomes friendly with a disabled street urchin known as 'the Rat', who eventually becomes his aide-de-camp when the two boys, in a somewhat unlikely scenario, travel across Europe to give a 'sign' that will start a revolution in Samavia.

The eventual ending was obvious from fairly early in the book - I assume the reader is meant to know, as there are so many clues - and there's rather over-much description and philosophising for modern tastes. Still, it's an exciting adventure, if one doesn't mind suspending reality slightly more than usual for a non-fantasy book, and surprisingly modern in much of its outlook. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
What was clearly meant as a boy's adventure tale of derring-do but, like most Burnett, seemed to veer off into something much more odd. The reveal was fairly obvious from the start and began to just get painful for the wait, though she did get me doubting my first instinct a few times but mostly it was the odd diversions in Budhist mystic on the mountain top that did me in. Yes, I continue on with these Burnett readings.
  amyem58 | Mar 10, 2015 |
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Frances Hodgson Burnettautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Bower, Maurice L.Il·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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From the author of such children's classics as The Secret Garden and A Little Princess comes this enchanting story of a young boy discovering his true destiny. Twelve-year-old Marco has spent his life traveling with his father in secrecy, forbidden to speak about their country of origin, Samavia, which has been fraught with war ever since the prince mysteriously disappeared 500 years ago. But now, there is hope that peace may come at last, as it has been rumored that a descendant of the lost prince may have been found.

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