We want to break new ground with this category. The foundation is of course kits made from original LEGO® bricks – in this case, the castles from Jeff Friesen’s book The LEGO® Castle Book. In order to build these models, you will also need to buy the book – unless you already have it.

What’s new is that this series is accompanied by an exciting and amusing story. It was written by Anne Lavin, author of A Black Sheep. One chapter is included with each castle kit, so it makes sense to read the chapters in the order we have stipulated. And to give you a little foretaste, here’s the:

Prologue, or how Edwin became Whispering Bard

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a country as far away or as close as your imagination allows (I don’t know where you call home), there lived the heavy-drinking and rowdy knight named Cuthbert. He once owned a proud castle, but unhappily was short of money, and now it was so ramshackle and dilapidated that it brought him no joy to live there.

Cuthbert didn’t have much to his name except for a spindly horse, a puny donkey and a squire named Edwin.

One crisp sunny morning, as Cuthbert slept, still heavily inebriated, in his room, Edwin awoke to his master’s loud snoring. The squire watched from his palliasse for a while – undecided as to whether he should get up yet – specks of dust dancing in the sun through the room. Then he jumped up with one leap. He had come to a conclusion: he didn’t want to stay here any longer! He wanted to see the world that lay beyond the surrounding five villages and… yes, he was astonished at his own daring… He wanted to be a minstrel.

He still seemed young enough and also possessed wonderful blond hair and a pleasant singing voice, as far as he could tell.

No sooner said than done. He put on his best doublet, picked up the few silver groats he had saved, crept into the stable, mounted the puny donkey and fled into the nearby forest and further and further into the unknown. From then on, he called himself Whispering Bard, because he needed an appropriate name as an artist. He could already see himself singing before the walls of magnificent castles, from whose towers delicate women’s hands were applauding, throwing him roses and coins, and perhaps inviting him in to offer him their heart. His fame would precede him and everywhere the fairest damsels and most beautiful princesses would be eagerly awaiting him…

It took almost two whole days before Knight Cuthbert woke up from his carousing, and hours more before he noticed the absence of his squire and donkey, but by then Whispering Bard was long gone.

Do you want to know how the story continues? Begin with the Sleeping Dragon!