The Cross of Lead (Crispin Series #1)

The Cross of Lead (Crispin Series #1)

4.0 230
by Avi

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"Asta's Son" is all he's ever been called. The lack of a name is appropriate, because he and his mother are but poor peasants in 14th century medieval England. But this thirteen-year-old boy who thought he had little to lose soon finds himself with even less—no home, no family, or possessions. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he may be killed on sight, by…  See more details below


"Asta's Son" is all he's ever been called. The lack of a name is appropriate, because he and his mother are but poor peasants in 14th century medieval England. But this thirteen-year-old boy who thought he had little to lose soon finds himself with even less—no home, no family, or possessions. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he may be killed on sight, by anyone. If he wishes to remain alive, he must flee his tiny village. All the boy takes with him is a newly revealed name—Crispin—and his mother's cross of lead.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Winner of the 2003 Newbery Medal, Avi's action-packed adventure, Crispin, transports us back to 14th-century England, where a young serf on the run from his miserable past comes to discover not only his true identity but a sense of self-worth.

Infusing his tale with a deep sense of medieval time and place, Avi recounts the harrowing story of a "nameless boy" known only as "Asta's son." When his mother dies and the village steward unjustly accuses him of murder, the boy flees for his life, carrying with him his mother's lead cross and the newly revealed knowledge of his real name: Crispin. On the run, he becomes the servant and then the friend of a hulking juggler named Bear. En route to a clandestine meeting with social reformer John Ball (a real historical figure in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381), Bear is captured and imprisoned. Crispin sets out to rescue his master and discovers along the way the life-changing secret engraved on his mother's lead cross.

Crispin is one of Avi's most engaging characters, and this story one of his most moving adventures. Emerging from intense poverty of life and spirit, this young serf evolves into a complex and brave hero, as he learns that knowledge is the power that leads to true freedom. Readers will be swept away by the rich prose and historical details; Crispin is a life-affirming book that picks you up -- and doesn't let you down. Matt Warner

Product Details

Disney Press
Publication date:
Crispin Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Avi's books are loved by kids and adults everywhere. He has written more than 50 books, several of which have garnered prestigious awards, including the Newbery Medal and two Newbery Honors. His titles with Hyperion include Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Crispin at the Edge of the World, and The Book Without Words. He lives with his family in Colorado.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

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The Cross of Lead (Crispin Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 230 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would strongly recommend this book to anybody that likes adventure books that keep you guessing. This book is about a 13 year-old boy named Crispin whose mother died. Shortly after he is orphaned, he is proclaimed a ¿wolf¿s head,¿ meaning anyone can kill him. Crispin is accused of stealing money and the murder of a priest. In most of the story Crispin is running, scared for his safety and his life, because people want to kill him. I would recommend this book to all middle school students.
Ananagram More than 1 year ago
Crispin,by Avi, was a particularly drab book due to its lackadaisical plot line and lack of true uniqueness. In this book, it seemed like Crispin just happened to stumble into situation after situation for the sake of the plot. For example, Crispin happened to stumble into the very church in Great Wexly that contained John Aycliffe, or that Bear and Crispin wandered into the precise town that had Furnival’s men in it. Also, Crispin had no real character development until the end, his evolution mirroring that of a graph of global population growth during the 1900s-2000. The plot twist, the very pinnacle of the book’s plot, was dry and predictable, building up so much anticipation only to have the reader feeling let down. Furthermore, the book had no closure, it seemed to jump from the fight scene to a happy moment where everyone rejoiced without a care to as what happened five sentences earlier. This book was also filled with cliches, from the first page to the very last line, which felt like it was pulled from a generic book about a teen discovering himself. In conclusion, Crispin was a monotonous book that was not up to the Newberry standards it supposedly qualifies for. -Zofia, Hibler Student
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was gery dry at first but after you kept turning the pages it got better and better. It is a great book and has a great plot. Great for all middle schoolers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is boring at the begining! But once you get to the middle it is like you are stuck in the middle of CRISPIN THE CROSS OF LEAD. You can not stop reading............ I am reading this book in 6th grade language and didn't want to read it but I'm glad I did! I recommend this to 11+. It truely is an awesoms book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book in schol and I loved it! I do have to say some parts were a little dull but then it got amuzing! Crispin is a perfect book for ages 11-15
cmjlccarlos More than 1 year ago
At the beggining it seems a little boring, but towards the middle the book gets really interesting and entertaining! I was givin a list at the end of fith grade, this and the black pearl were two of the six books! Blac pearl is also an interesting book. I would like to recommend the black pearl to anyone who likes this book. It is about a boy whose mother dies, gets named a wolf's head, and finds a friend. I believe most people will like it!!! I did, and now I must write a report on it. Yay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting so far slightly deppressing but it is the midevil times, so what do expect. I am 80 pgs in and so far it is good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have evet read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so boring and is hard to get whats happening in the story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CRISPIN wasnt as good as I had hoped. The cover looked good. I admit, it was a catchy cover. But sometimes, this gal(Yes, I am a girl) is very picky. Especially when it comes to run-away, adventure books. Like Percy Jackson. Yeah, thats a good example. Percy Jackson and Coraline are better books than Crispin. I read books better than this. And they are terrible books. Avi, I am dissapointed in this book. No mental pictures to match Crispins personality. I still have lots questions exploding in my brain! Like, WHY DID CRISPIN RUN AWAY THE FIRST TIME? WHY DIDNT HE LISTEN? Those are only some of the questions I have. So, readers, I suggest you DON'T read this book. Avi, I am sorry. But try harder next time. I might still read your boks. But not this ine. Sorry. Once again, Avi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and fell in love!These books are to die for! All I have to say,READ THE BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is very very boring and uninteresting. There is lots of death and terrible things in the beginning. I did not like it and neither did anyone else who had to read it for my school. Avi's written better books. I could not always understand what was happening partly because I was just reading through not really paying attention to what the book was saying. It also gave a person in my class serious nightmares in the beginning. It was just a terrible book that was boring and kept going.
Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Review by Jill Williamson

Asta¿s son has never had a name. But now that his mother has died, a priest tells him his name is Crispin. Accused of a crime he didn¿t commit, Crispin flees his village home. On his journey he meets a juggler named Bear, who teaches him the ways of entertaining, self defense, and snaring rabbits. At first Crispin is afraid of Bear, but the man takes care of him and teaches him to think for himself.

Crispin¿s enemies continue to pursue him. Crispin wonders why they are so intent on seeing him killed? He is no one. He and Bear reach the city of Great Wexly where Crispin stumbles onto a dark secret that leaves him no choice but to fight for his and Bear¿s life.

Crispin: the Cross of Lead is a story about a poor orphan in medieval England. Avi creates a world for the reader that shocks and fascinates as much as the plot. It¿s no surprise why this book earned the Newberry. I highly recommend it for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend this book for many reasons. It makes a great summer read for students going into 7th grade. It combines historical violence, emotion, affection, and life and death decisions. This book is full of in-depth descriptions you can always ¿see¿ the picture running through your head. In the beginning, Crispin is a peasant who is considered a nobody but, by the end of the story he finds himself face-to-face with one of the strongest men and he becomes a hero. All in all, I would highly recommended this book for middle school students.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poor Crispin loses his mother and is accused of stealing. While fleeing for his life he meets a man named Bear who becomes somewhat of a father figure to him. Bear teaches him things he never would have learned and takes him places he never would have gone. On his journey with Bear he learns that his real father is a Lord. He also learns maturity and strength. I was not thoroughly excited to read this book, but once I started I could not put it down. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Avi once again captivated me with this story set in fourteenth century England. A thirteen-year-old peasant boy whose mother, the only person in the world who cares about him, suddenly dies. From the very beginning, my heart hurt for this young boy who, after being falsely accused of theft is forced to leave his village and run for his life. When he meets up with a giant of a man named Bear who takes him on as an apprentice mummer, he learns that his real name is Crispin and that he is the illegitimate son of Lord Furnival and heir to the throne. The villian, John Aycliffe, won't stop until he see 'Asta's son' dead. The action-packed chase through Great Wexley and the events that lead to Crispin's freedom were thrilling. The characters in the story touched my heart -- I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I highly recommend this book to readers both young and old!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading several of Avi's books as a child, my hopes for Crispin were high. As I read the book however, my anticipation quickly turned to disappointment. The storyline and the resolution were shallow. The story took place around a series of seemingly random events during Crispin's journey. Whilte the historical time was rather well represented, it still does not make up for the less than sterling storyline. All in all, I expected a story of more depth from Avi. In comparison to his other books many of which I have read, such as: The Fighting Ground, Poppy, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing But the Truth, The Man Who Was Poe, The Good Dog, and Blue Heron , I must say that Crispin was a big let down.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I am at page 218 and im enjoyong this book like crazy. I dis like a lot of books around the goneria but i love this and would reconmend it to all yall who likes books by Avi. Im a country girl and a usualky only read books that have to do with the country but i decided to give a noncoutry book a try. I cant wait to get done with the next 44 pages to get done with the book and see how Crispen ends up. And if anything happens to Bear. Have fun reading this book. I aint got the time to read it cause i have a trillion things to do a month but i still make time. I will be really suprised if i read this book more than once. I hate reading books over and over again cause you already know what gonna happen. Crispen: Cross of Lead has action, adventure, and curiosity all in one book.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Lord furnival is his dad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most people are saying its boring at first but actually i got kinda bored near the middle of the book. I recommend this for middle schooler
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it and so did my seventh grade students.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crispen is an amazing adventure story. I totally recomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in 7th grade and read this book in class. This was a GREAT book full of action and suspense. A++++ I would totally reccomend this book :)