New Year’s has passed. Twelfth Night is almost here. Krabat, a fourteen-year-old beggar boy dressed up as one of the Three Kings, is traveling from village to village singing carols. One night he has a strange dream in which he is summoned by a faraway voice to go to a mysterious mill—and when he wakes he is irresistibly drawn there. At the mill he finds eleven other boys, all of them, like him, the apprentices of its Master, a powerful sorcerer, as Krabat soon discovers. During the week the boys work ceaselessly grinding grain, but on Friday nights the Master initiates them into the mysteries of the ancient Art of Arts. One day, however, the sound of church bells and of a passing girl singing an Easter hymn penetrates the boys’ prison: At last a plan is set in motion that will win them their freedom and put an end to the Master’s dark designs.
Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill was one of Cornelia Funke’s most beloved books as a child, and it is easy to see why. It is a wondrous story of magic, black and white; of courage and cunning; and of high adventure.