The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grade 5n/a4.574487
A 2017 Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award

An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout!

The Inquisitor's Tale is one of the most celebrated children's books of the year! ★ New York Times Bestseller ★ A New York Times Editor’s Choice ★ A New York Times Notable Children’s Book ★ A People Magazine Kid Pick ★ A Washington Post Best Children’s Book ★ A Wall Street Journal Best Children's Book ★ An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book ★ A Booklist Best Book ★ A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book ★ A Kirkus Reviews Best Book ★ A Publishers Weekly Best Book ★ A School Library Journal Best Book ★ An ALA Notable Children's Book

“A profound and ambitious tour de force. Gidwitz is a masterful storyteller.” —Matt de la Peña, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author

“What Gidwitz accomplishes here is staggering." —New York Times Book Review

Includes a detailed historical note and bibliography

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.


It’s no surprise that Gidwitz’s latest book has been likened to The Canterbury Tales, considering its central story is told by multiple storytellers. As each narrator fills in what happens next in the story of the three children and their potentially holy dog, their tales get not only more fantastical but also more puzzling and addictive. However, the gradual intricacy of the story that is not Gidwitz’s big accomplishment. Rather it is the complex themes (xenophobia, zealotry, censorship etc.) he is able to bring up while still maintaining a light tone, thus giving readers a chance to come to conclusions themselves. (Also, there is a farting dragon.)”—Entertainment Weekly, “Best MG Books of 2016

"Puckish, learned, serendipitous . . . Sparkling medieval adventure." —Wall Street Journal

★ "Gidwitz strikes literary gold with this mirthful and compulsively readable adventure story. . . . A masterpiece of storytelling that is addictive and engrossing." —Kirkus, starred review

★ "A well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure." —Booklist, starred review

★ "Scatological humor, serious matter, colloquial present-day language, the ideal of diversity and mutual understanding—this has it all." —The Horn Book, starred review

★ "I have never read a book like this. It’s weird, and unfamiliar, and religious, and irreligious, and more fun than it has any right to be. . . . Gidwitz is on fire here, making medieval history feel fresh and current." —School Library Journal, starred review

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published on September 27, 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0525426167
ISBN-13: 9780525426165
16 Book Reviews
Add a Rating
  • calebodhooray
    calebodhoorayThursday, January 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm44 stars
    I think this book is interesting because it has adventure in it and it proves that you can become a best friend to a stranger. The reason I only gave it four stars is because it can get a little scary sometimes. It's about these three magical children who try to stop people from burning books, and running away from the authorities because they think their magic is witchcraft.
    • ochaco_uraraka
      ochaco_urarakaThursday, July 4, 2019 at 2:21 am55 stars
      The Inquisitor's Tale is truly a work of art. At first, I didn't really want to read it. But then I caught on, and the story got more and more exciting every time you turn a page. Gidwitz weaves this story with magic, casting it's readers under a spell. With exciting characters, magnificent powers, and holy dogs, this tale will make you feel enthralled, excited and wonder all at the same time. The Inquisitor's Tale is a freaking masterpiece.
      • tlove
        tloveSaturday, December 17, 2016 at 4:43 am55 stars
        This book is different then my normal genre of book which is mystery. However, it kept me engaged with its medieval history and it's entertaining storyline. Throughout the book I felt like I was sitting around the table listening first hand to everyone's tales. I enjoyed that there was an incorporation of old biblical stories along with some humorous fictional characters.
        • cblocksurprise
          cblocksurpriseSunday, November 6, 2016 at 11:37 am55 stars
          I think this book is really really good and includes some fairy tails and some real stuff. It is kind of gory (I mean a LOT) And I like when William was talking to the other two children about his donkey. I would rate it 5/5 stars.
          • ocelot
            ocelotSaturday, November 5, 2016 at 7:33 am55 stars
            This is a very interesting book, and I love books that include stories inside them. This actually takes place in an inn, where many different types of people tell stories of three young children, and a dog, named Gwenforte, which is a very strange name for a dog. The stories include the three children, and their dog, and talk about their adventures. These children are special: From seeing the future, to having supernatural powers, to healing any wound, these children are remarkable creatures. From adventures with dragons, to kings, to castles (in the year 1242), these kids have experienced it all. Each chapter is a different part, told by a different person. I would recommend this book to people who like fairytales, fiction, and a bit of adventure!
            • unicorn992
              unicorn992Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 2:11 pm
              OK it is fine but has NO excitement or adventure
              • pipermc11
                pipermc11Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 7:02 pm55 starsFeatured
                Have you ever wondered how fairy tales were formed? Look no further than The Inquisitor's Tale! I really enjoyed this, and it gave a unique perspective in how stories are written. Each of the characters were unique, such as Jeanne being influenced by Joan of Arc, as both are strong warriors. Jacob's motivation about family was especially important and was very real. I also loved Will's character, because he was so kind and passionate about his religion. The illustrations also brought a whole new level and helped me with the different characters. What I loved most about the book was how much the author made sure that the book was authentic. He did a lot of research to make sure that he was proud of the story, and I could tell he put a lot of hard work into writing this book! Overall, I would suggest this book for older readers who want to read about a more serious story that also has a great plot!
                • AlisonMonday, October 17, 2016 at 5:49 pm
                  Hi everyone if somebody knows the plot and conflict os this book "The Inquisitor's Tale" please comment down below because I have to do a book report on this and I need to turn it in on Monday. I will be some happy if you would help me out. Thank You so much
                  • RoniMonday, October 17, 2016 at 5:46 pm
                    I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed it
                    • readwriter
                      readwriterThursday, October 13, 2016 at 4:03 pm55 starsFeatured
                      This was by far one of the best books I've ever read! Full of adventure, betrayal, suspense, and, of course, never-ending inquisition. In this tale, a man comes to an inn seeking a story. Not just any story, though. No way, this man was looking for a story of three children. Oh, and their holy dog, Gwenforte, of course. The man hears of their adventures to reach their destinations, save ancient Jewish books, and escape a king and his mother. This book has kept me on my toes ever since I first opened it and I knew when I closed it, it wouldn't be for the last time.