The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairytale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles.

First published well, in 1973 actually, this book spawned the Rob Reiner-directed cult film of the same name. It's a tongue-in-cheek fairytale of love, life, action, death and life again. Featuring the obligatory handsome Prince and supremely beautiful princess, it also boasts a Spanish sword wizard, the Zoo of Death, a chocolate-coated resurrection pill and lots of villains, who span the spectrum from evil, through even more evil to (gasp) most evil. And then there's Fezzik, the gentle giant addicted to rhyming. William Goldman--who's won two Oscars for his screenwriting (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men), and has endeared himself to dentists and their patients planetwide through his novel Marathon Man--has always claimed he merely abridged this text, extracting the "good parts" from an inventive yet wordy classic by Florinese literary superstar, S Morgenstern. It has, however, been whispered in certain circles that Morgenstern himself is a figment of Goldman's ultra-fertile imagination. Read Goldman's original and special Anniversary introductions and make up your own mind. Oh--and don't forget his explanation as to why he's only "abridged" the first chapter of the sequel Buttercup's Baby--which appears here for the first time--and why it took him so long to get round to it. Completely delightful, suitable for cynics and romantics alike. Suspension of disbelief optional.


"One of the most laconic, tightly-plotted tales of mythical morality you'll ever read, an anti-establishment satire disguised as a love story, more of a scary tale than a fairy tale" Uncut

"There's nothing fluffy about The Princess Bride. The rocket-powered narrative tricks you without being merely tricksy, and is both modern and timeless" Neon

"A funny thriller for readers who are about ten years of age or wish they were ... Readers of a nervous disposition should be prepared to skim rapidly over the Zoo of Death episode or stick to fiction meant for grown-ups" Spectator

10/10 Completely delightful, suitable for cynics and romantics alike.

Review by

3 positive reader review(s) for The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride reader reviews

from Scotland

Good, very good.
9/10 ()

from United States

The Princess Bride is a very adventurous book that keeps you turning pages long after you planned to stop. There is plenty of adventure and danger. You never know what is going to happen next. On top of all that is kept interesting by the humor sewn throughout the whole thing. It was a very interesting and exciting book to read. I had only ever seen the movie until reading the book and the book has a lot more detail that I loved having.
9/10 ()

from Australia

"This is still my favourite book of all time, and I wish more than ever that I had written it" writes Goldman in his anniversary introduction. I feel just the same. It is sweet, cynical, lovely, terrible, serious, tongue in cheek and above all, beautiful.
10/10 ()

9.4/10 from 4 reviews

All William Goldman Reviews