The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly

trumpeterkrakowReview of The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly

Mr. Kelly leads us on a tale of suspense and mystery in the medieval town of Krakow, Poland. We follow Joseph, a young boy and his family displaced when they flee their homestead in the middle of the night. They arrive in Krakow hoping to find safety and shelter with a relative, only to find this relative has been forced to leave the town. The family has no financial means left to continue their journey and must find a way to survive in Krakow while hiding their identity and keeping a mysterious gift destined for the king safe.

The story started off a bit slow and I was fearing that this book was not going to live up to what a Newbery Medal winner should be. However, that was a short-lived fear and things picked up and will have a you on the edge of your seat as you know the danger is closing in around the family. Have they trusted the right people with their secret or has someone tried to profit from the knowledge?


Image from read book edition.

Sprinkled throughout the book are black and white sketches of the city. The edition I read also had three color images, one at the beginning, one early on in the story and the other near the end. The setting is well described and depicts the fifteenth century lifestyle with talk of kings, alchemist and Cossack’s.

Author Bio:

Eric P. Kelly, a student of Slavic culture for most of his life, wrote The Trumpeter of Krakow while teaching and studying at the University of Krakow. During five years spent in Poland he traveled with an American relief unit among the Poles who were driven out of the Ukraine in 1920, directed a supply train at the time of the war with the Soviets, and studied and visited many places in the country he came to love so well. A newspaperman in his native Massachusetts in younger days, Mr. Kelly later wrote many magazine articles and several books for young people. He died in 1960. (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

Kelly’s other works include:

A Girl Who Would be Queen: The Story and Diary of the Young Countess Krasinska of Poland – Adding to the mystery of what little we know about Countess Francoise Krasinska, Kelly takes us through her ambition to occupy the Polish throne.

The Golden Star of Halich: A Tale of the Red Land in 1362 – Farther back, in the days of Tartar raids, a young noble played a thrilling part in holding firm the beginnings of the Polish nation. Gypsies, Kings, Bishops – and a mysterious princess. (Courtesy of book jacket)

Misc. Review Details:

Title: The Trumpeter of Krakow
Author: Eric P. Kelly
Publisher: The Macmillan Company (1958)
Source: Public Library
Format Read: Hardcover
Genres/Subjects: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Poland, Medieval
Award: Newbery Medal (1929)


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