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The Brothers Lionheart

The Brothers Lionheart is a tale of love strong enough to conquer death – not just once, but twice. After brothers Jonathan and Crusty pass away they meet again in Nangijala, the land of eternal spring. Casting a long shadow over their world is the evil tyrant Tengil, ruler of the country Karmanjaka, where he’s building his new fortress up in the The Ancient Mountains.

Jonathan and Crusty’s narrative is a story of love that’s both timeless and deeply touching. It’s a tale about the battle between good and evil, between fear and courage, about a struggle for freedom – and about death. When the book was originally published it created quite a stir, with people asking whether it was really suitable to write about death for children. However, Astrid Lindgren received such an enormous amount of letters from young people, who felt comforted by the story, and who wondered what happened to Jonathan and Crusty as they crossed over to the land of Nangilima, that she actually decided to write a letter where she recounted exactly what the brothers did next…

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The story behind The Brothers Lionheart

At the Northern Cemetery in Stockholm, Astrid saw the stone erected for the Bernström Brothers, who both died very young. And at the Vimmerby cemetery, Astrid read, "Here rest the infant brothers Fahlén, deceased 1860." "That's when I knew it would be a tale about death and two brothers," Astrid said.

The story behind The Brothers Lionheart
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What happened in Nangilima?

Astrid Lindgren received thousands of letters from young readers thanking her, telling her how they felt comforted, and wondering what happened to Crusty and Jonathan in Nangilima. And for the first, and last, time she wrote a letter to the children who were wondering what happened next.

Read the letter

“Jonathan told me how there are things you have to do, even if they are dangerous. “Why is that?” I asked. “Because if you don’t you are not a human being, you’re nothing but a little louse,” Jonathan replied.”

From The Brothers Lionheart
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The Brothers Lionheart

My brother, Jonathan, knew that I was going to die. 'How can things be so terrible,' I asked. 'That some people have to die, when they're not even ten years old?' 'I don't think it's that terrible,' said Jonathan. 'I think you'll have a marvellous time.'

About the book

Read about the other characters