The Chestnut Soldier (The Magician Trilogy #3)

by Jenny Nimmo

Hardcover, 2007



Local notes

Fic Nim





Orchard Books (2007), Edition: Reissue, 203 pages. $9.99.


To purge the anger from an ancient Welsh demonic god that he had helped release, and to soothe a moody, troubled soldier, Gwyn Griffiths draws on the strength of his namesake and ancestor in Welsh magic, Gwydion Gwyn.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

203 p.; 8.46 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Phantasma
The first two books in this series were much better.

I'm not sure if my opinion stems from disgust at the implied relationship between Nia and Evan or not. Nia is 11, last I checked and Evan is mentioned as "in his thirties." The relationship between the two might be innocent, but Nia, at least,
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appears to feel otherwise and is encouraged in her romantic feelings for Evan by other adults.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it creeped me out.

I much, much, much prefer the Charlie Bone books. If you're going to read Nimmo, read Midnight for Charlie Bone.
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LibraryThing member cpotter
An evil spirit escapes from a ancient toy horse. The spirit gains control of a mysterious stranger who has come to Wales to recover from his injuries. Friends and family begin to fight and everything seems to be going wrong in Gwyn's quiet town. Not as interesting as Nimmo's Charlie Bone series,
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the author assumes the reader has some background in Welsh mythology.
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LibraryThing member the_hag
A Satisfying conclusion to a delightful series! This is the final book in the Magician Trilogy (The Snow Spider, Emlyn's Moon, & The Chestnut Soldier). When we first met Gwyn he'd just turned 9 and as this book concludes, he is turning 14...the books (themes and story lines) have evolved and
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matured just as the characters and as such, we find that The Chestnut Soldier has more mature subject matter than the previous two, however all three deal with subtle magic, human frailty, and no small amount of tragedy all thoroughly filtered through the lens of Welsh mythology/folklore. As with the previous books, the usual gang is all present, though Nia and Gwyn are most prominent here. As with the second book, the story is about Gwyn and his gift, but he really plays an almost peripheral role and here Nia and her mysterious soldier cousin Evan take center stage for most of the story.

In this final book, the final of the "five gifts" (the mutilated chestnut horse) his grandmother gave him at age 9 (the first book) finally comes into play. Here we find a soldier wounded badly coming "home" to the only family he has left in the area (the rest of his family having moved to Australia years before). At first things seem relatively normal with him, but as time goes on he becomes more and more angry, like anger is consuming him and his once supportive and worried cousins become frightened of him. Gwyn wants to help, but he's got issues he's dealing with too...he hasn't grown in nearly two years and is felling left behind in many ways. What once seemed a boon now feels like a curse to him. He wishes that he could be normal, that he hadn't inherited his ancestral "gift." Will Gwyn come to terms with all of this and be able to help Nia and Evan before the evil that escapes from the mangled chestnut horse takes over his troubled soul? With Gwyn struggling to find his right place and truly come to terms with who he is and Nia desperately trying to assert her identity and worth in the family when they are thrown into chaos as Evan becomes increasingly disturbed by the "injury" that befell him. Readers will feel the turmoil, angst, and edgy excitement as the story progresses and will certainly enjoy seeing how it all comes together in the end.

Overall I give The Chestnut Soldier four stars. It's got strong magical themes, Welsh mythology/folklore, an evil force trying to break into "our" world, an unwilling hero, a damsel in distress who manages to be a hero in her own way and as is the case with all three books, family is all important here. They are not shown as perfect things...each family here is full of flawed people all trying to work out who they are and striving to enjoy life for themselves and as a part of the larger family unit. What shines most of all here is that no matter how flawed they are, family is where the heart is and they are always there for one another in the end. I also like that the magic here isn't typical of the genre, it's not flashy or "in your face." In the Magician's Trilogy is it's more unknowable and mysterious, allowing the real focus to remain on the individual struggles, quests to find oneself, and most especially on familial relationships. Since it is common in this type of book for the family to be absent or so un-nurturing and unsupportive (as to be abusive in many cases), which serves to allow the child to enter in to the self-explorative adventure, I really enjoy the refreshing presence of a loving and supportive family by all the characters in the story...sure they've got issues, but at the heart of it all, the family IS an integral part of the storyline. We're sad to see the story come to a close...but it's a satisfying end!
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