The Load of Unicorn
Ref: 2170
Alt. Title: Caxton's Challenge
Published: 1959
Publisher: Methuen


Benedict, known as Bendy, has been apprenticed by his forward-looking father to the printer William Caxton. This infuriates his mean half-brothers who are scriveners and fear that the new-fangled printing press will drive them out of business. They have secretly waylaid the printer's delivery of new paper and are hiding it. Bendy knows about it but is worried about the consequences of telling, especially as his half-brothers may be involved with Lancastrian rebels.

Caxton sends Bendy and another apprentice on a quest to find the complete manuscript of Thomas Mallory's stories of King Arthur. Mallory's stories had been circulating as a series of independent and internally consistent tales, but Caxton believes there is a single manuscript, based on the fact that some of the tales make clear reference to earlier episodes. Bendy's quest proves dangerous as others are also on the trail.

First Edition

The Load of Unicorn
1959 children's historical novel by Cynthia Harnett

The Load of Unicorn is a children's historical novel written and illustrated by Cynthia Harnett. It was first published in 1959, and then republished by Egmont Classics in 2001. It is set in London in 15th century, and concerns the adventures of an apprentice of William Caxton, the printer. The title refers to a load of paper with a unicorn watermark, ordered by Caxton from Flanders but never delivered.

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