Catherine Jinks is a medieval scholar and author of young adult books -- a background that is evident in this fourth and final story about Pagan Kidrouk. Catherine Jinks's books have garnered numerous awards, including the prestigious Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year. Pagan grew out of a university course Catherine Jinks took about the Crusades and her fascination with the real Order of the Templar. She was also heavily influenced by British comedies like MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. She didn't expect, however, that she would end up writing four books about Pagan Kidrouk. "He was such a strong character," she explains, "that he sprang into my head fully formed, and wouldn't go away until I'd worked out his entire life span. He's certainly the strongest character I've ever written about. The cutest, too, I think."
"From the Hardcover edition."
Gr 8 Up-There have been few characters in recent historical fiction more vibrant than the street-smart, fast-talking protagonist of this series. In Pagan's Crusade (2003), Pagan in Exile (2004), and Pagan's Vows (2004, all Candlewick), orphaned Pagan joins the Knights Templar in a desperate attempt to escape the mean streets of Jerusalem and becomes squire to Lord Roland. He follows his master back to his home in southern France and joins him in a monastery when Roland renounces his crude family. In this fourth volume, a young, bookish clerk, Isidore, takes up the narrative. Pagan is 20 years older, now Archdeacon of Carcassonne, and enlists Isidore to serve as his scribe. Pagan's acerbic wit and sharp logic are needed by local lords to argue their case before a marauding army of frustrated Crusaders, turned against their own countrymen to search out heretics. Isidore's breathless description of the often-violent and chaotic world around him creates a page-turning epic. Readers who already know Pagan will be fascinated to see him as an adult, with the same fierce loyalty for his friends and caustic anger that he exhibited as a teen. He develops a protective fondness for Isidore, helping him cope with the epilepsy that is too little understood in medieval France. Pair this book with Kevin Crossley-Holland's King of the Middle March (2004) and Frances Temple's The Ramsay Scallop (1994, both Scholastic) for a multifaceted view of 13th-century Europe.-Connie C. Rockman, Stratford Library Association, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.