Terence Hanbury White (1906–1964) was born in Bombay, India, and educated at Queen’s College, Cambridge. His childhood was unhappy–?”my parents loathed each other,” he later wrote–?and he grew up to become a solitary person with a deep fund of strange lore and a tremendous enthusiasm for fishing, hunting, and flying (which he took up to overcome his fear of heights). White taught for some years at the Stowe School until the success in 1936 of England Have My Bones, a book about outdoor adventure, allowed him to quit teaching and become a full-time writer. Along with The Goshawk, White was the author of twenty-six published works, including his famed sequence of Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King; the fantasy Mistress Masham’s Repose (published in The New York Review Children’s Collection); a collection of essays on the eighteenth century, The Age of Scandal; and a translation of a medieval Latin bestiary, A Book of Beasts. He died at sea on his way home from an American lecture tour and is buried in Piraeus, Greece.
“When I first saw him he was a round thing like a clothes basket covered with sacking.” What the author of The Once and Future King discovered beneath this unpromising cover was much more than Gos—the hawk he acquired after reading century-old falconry training manuals—but a tragicomic battle both of endurance and wills unlike anything he’d experienced before.
“One of the finest, most magical and extraordinary children’s books ever written.” —Anne Fine, Children’s Laureate of Britain