Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
Add The Inquisitor's Tale to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

The Inquisitor's Tale

Best Seller
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
Paperback $9.99
Mar 20, 2018 | ISBN 9780142427378

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (3) +
  • $9.99

    Mar 20, 2018 | ISBN 9780142427378 | Middle Grade (10 and up)

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • $18.99

    Sep 27, 2016 | ISBN 9780525426165 | Middle Grade (10 and up)

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Sep 27, 2016 | ISBN 9781101612606 | Middle Grade (10 and up)

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Sep 27, 2016 | ISBN 9780735287372 | Middle Grade (10 and up)

    623 Minutes

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from The Inquisitor’s Tale

Product Details


“What Gidwitz accomplishes here is staggering. ‘The Inquisitor’s Tale’ is equal parts swashbuckling epic, medieval morality play, religious polemic and bawdy burlesque, propelling us toward a white-knuckle climax where three children must leap into a fire to save…a Talmud. And yet, the rescue of this single book feels like higher stakes than any world-incinerating superhero battle. Part of this is because ‘The Inquisitor’s Tale’ is dense with literary and earthy delights, including Hatem Aly’s exquisite illustrations, which wrap around the text as in an illuminated manuscript.”—New York Times Book Review

Adam Gidwitz mingles earthy humor and high culture in The Inquisitor’s Tale, a medieval story that unfurls Chaucer-style, with revelers in an inn taking turns to explain why the king of France is trying to hunt down three child-saints and their holy dog. Hatem Aly’s marginal illuminations add sparkle to this novel for 11- to 16-year-olds.”—Wall Street Journal, “Best Books of 2016”

“Three children persecuted for their religious beliefs band together to fight intolerance—and save their necks—in this fascinating story set in 13th century France.”—People

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”

★ “Gidwitz continues to toy with narrative in a well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past…The tale that comes into focus is one of religious persecution and faith, friendships that transcend difference, and a dangerously flatulent dragon—Gidwitz continues to have no problem mixing high and low.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “It is a time of miracles and saints, of fiends and dragons, all of which Gidwitz has meticulously teased from legends and histories of the Middle Ages…Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure.”—Booklist, starred review

★ “Gidwitz strikes literary gold with this mirthful and compulsively readable adventure story set in medieval France…While the three protagonists initially come together out of necessity, the heartwarming friendship they form celebrates a common humanity that transcends the bounds of race, religion, and social class. The author creates a richly designed medieval world, filled with imperious knights, farting dragons, foreboding forests, and soulless fiends, in which nothing is as it seems, including the tellers of the tales…Gidwitz’s lighthearted touch nonetheless provides for insightful commentary on the dangers of narrow-mindedness and zealotry that will resonate with modern readers. A masterpiece of storytelling that is addictive and engrossing.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “Gidwitz’s tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heartstopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great woodchippers of history—the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start…This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader’s appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, or the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it.”—School Library Journal, starred review

★ “An ambitious mash-up of medieval saints’ lives, the Joan of Arc legend, thirteenth-century French history, and elements of The Canterbury Tales…Gidwitz presents moral issues that are currently relevant, and gives several theological arguments about good and evil a brisk, accessible airing. Scatological humor, serious matter, colloquial present-day language, the ideal of diversity and mutual understanding—this has it all.”—The Horn Book, starred review

★ “Cleverly crafted…Six years of extensive research and a natural storyteller’s gift shine in [Gidwitz’s] spiffily spun novel…Over-the-top skirmishes, comical triumphs over thugs, unlikely allies, religious persecution, stinky French cheese, noble acts of bravery, deep-seated emotion, profound theological questions–and a fatally flatulent dragon–intermingle in this suspenseful novel set in a medieval world where atrocities are committed in the name of God. In the style of “illuminated” medieval texts, Egyptian-born illustrator Hatem Aly illuminates Gidwitz’s story with whimsical black-and-white drawings that enliven this philosophical swashbuckler.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review

“This ‘Canterbury Tale’-style masterpiece is serious, scatological, violent, funny, philosophical and timely.”—San Francisco Chronicle, gift guide

“The children are like none we’ve met before: so dignified, so self-sufficient, so, well, medieval. And yet, they are funny, intensely real and believably brave…Gidwitz and illustrator Hatem Aly breathe life into a tale that you won’t soon forget.”—Chicago Tribune

“Gidwitz paints a vivid image of medieval France, and his mix of heart and humor makes this book an utterly magical read. Who else could weave a tale of acceptance, love and hope, complete with farting dragons?”—San Diego Union Tribune

“Brimming with action, history, humor and much more, Gidwitz has crafted a masterfully seamless novel that is thought-provokingly relevant, making this selection nothing short of brilliant.”—Books to Borrow, Books to Buy

“Whimsical and winding…One of the most interesting parts of this story is the message it teaches: A story is established that brings together three characters from very different backgrounds. At first there is conflict between them, but the characters learn to work together. With the conflict in the current political atmosphere, perhaps this is something even adults could stand to learn.”—Denver Post
Game-changing…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…As I write this review in 2016 and politicians bandy hate speech about without so much as a blink, I can’t think of a book written for kids more timely than this…As for the writing itself, that’s what you’re paying your money for at the end of the day. Gidwitz is on fire here, making medieval history feel fresh and current.”—Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production
[An] exciting adventure story…Just as medieval manuscripts had illuminated drawings, great illustrations go hand-in-hand with the story. Gidwitz finds a way to make the Dark Ages not so dark but exciting and full of mystery.”—The Clarion Ledger, holiday gift guide
 “The Inquisitor’s Tale is a well-researched and thoroughly engaging adventure, which beautifully imagines the feel and texture of thirteenth-century France. It is also a moving exploration of friendship, curiosity, and love of learning in a world all too filled with narrow-mindedness and hate.”—Sarah Lipton, professor of medieval history at SUNY, Stony Brook 
Accolades for A Tale Dark & Grimm:

New York Times bestseller
Selection on the Today Show’s Al’s Book Club for Kids
NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Selection
An E. B. White Read Aloud Honor Book
New York Times Editors’ Choice pick
Publishers Weekly Flying Start
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
ALA Notable Book

“Unlike any children’s book I’ve ever read . . . [it] holds up to multiple re-readings, like the classic I think it will turn out to be.” —New York Times Book Review

“A marvelous reworking of old stories that manages to be fresh, frightening, funny, and humane.” —Wall Street Journal


Newbery Honor Book HONOR 2017

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Back to Top