Ragged and exhausted from fighting in the Crusades, Hubert, a knight's squire, and his fellow crusaders board a ship bound for England. But the return home is neither quick nor easy. Hubert must use his sword against ships full of attacking infidels, and he is nearly slain at the hand of a vengeful knight. A shipwreck strands them in Rome, where the beautiful and brave Lady Galena nearly tempts him to stay. Instead, loyalty to his master prevails and they finally reach their beloved land-only to find that one of ...
Ragged and exhausted from fighting in the Crusades, Hubert, a knight's squire, and his fellow crusaders board a ship bound for England. But the return home is neither quick nor easy. Hubert must use his sword against ships full of attacking infidels, and he is nearly slain at the hand of a vengeful knight. A shipwreck strands them in Rome, where the beautiful and brave Lady Galena nearly tempts him to stay. Instead, loyalty to his master prevails and they finally reach their beloved land-only to find that one of their group faces execution when he steps ashore. If Hubert is to save his friend's life, he must first save his own.
A knight's squire, exhausted from the Crusades, must use his sword to fight attacking infidels during the return voyage to England.
Michael Cadnum follows up The Book of the Lion, which PW called a "majestic novel" in a starred review, with The Leopard Sword. Hubert and Edmund, fresh from the Crusades, take on a covert challenge while sailing home to England.
This sequel to The Book of the Lion continues the story of the squires, Hubert and Edmund, during the Crusades. As Hubert begins telling the story they are on board a ship carrying wounded and disease-wracked knights and squires from Jerusalem back to their English homeland. The journey, filled with danger and misadventure, includes untrustworthy and dangerous shipmates, the threat of pirates, and severe weather conditions. When they are on land, life is no less perilous, with a vicious joust on the Greek islands and an ambush and attack by a band of ruffians in Rome. Then they get safely home—but wait. Hubert isn't safe after all. He is challenged to a joust to the death and the reader hangs on to every word, desperate to know if the likable hero will survive the deadly challenge. The author writes in an accessible style that manages to convey the feel of times past. His meticulous research shows but never to the point of burdening the reader or slowing the exciting story. Mr. Cadnum is the author of 23 books and received a National Book Award for The Book of the Lion. 2002, Viking,
— Janet Crane Barley
In the acclaimed prequel, The Book of the Lion (reviewed in KLIATT in May 2000), Cadnum conveyed both the spectacle and the horror of the Crusades through the eyes of a young squire, Edmund. Though this sequel can stand alone, it takes up where the first leaves off, as the siege of Acre has ended and the "sick and war-battered" knights and their squires begin the long sea journey home to England. The narrator this time is Edmund's friend Hubert, the 18-year-old squire to injured Sir Nigel. Their ship is chased by Saracen galleys, and shortly the returning Crusaders are in a fight for their lives at sea. On board, a thieving servant makes trouble, too, and in a stop at the Greek island of Chios Hubert and his knight engage in a violent joust with a nasty knight and his squire over a suspected theft. Back on board again, their ship sinks just offshore from Italy, and they lose all their treasure. On foot, the embattled Crusaders go to Rome to meet King Richard's envoy there, and Hubert falls for the envoy's daughter. They accompany her on a dangerous voyage across Rome, whose streets are filled with outlaws. Hubert is tempted to stay, but duty calls, and he returns to England. There Prince John is trying to take over the throne and Edmund is in danger of arrest and execution. Hubert must engage in a trial by combat to save Edmund's life. This stirring, violent tale of life in the Middle Ages is replete with details of food, garments, armor and battle, bringing to life the adventures and tribulations of the Crusaders. Cadnum continues his exploration of "the call that war has on young people...This terrible paradox—that caring, responsible individuals can engage in acts of brutality—bothbaffles and fascinates me." This exciting and carefully researched historical fiction will fascinate readers, too. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Penguin Putnam, Viking, 224p.,
— Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Set after the fall of Acre during the Crusades, this second book continues the adventure that began in The Book of the Lion (Viking, 2000). Now Hubert and Edmund are on their way back to England, facing many hardships and challenges along the way. Cadnum vividly describes the tedium and terror of the sea voyage as the Crusaders outrun enemy ships, survive a shipwreck, and arrive in Rome only to deal with the bands of criminals there. Hubert tells the story with candor. Though he hopes to become a proper knight, he does not glorify fighting and repeatedly describes the futility of battle, referring to war as a "butcher's craft." When they reach England, the men discover that Edmund's life is in danger. He had joined the Crusades after the master to whom he was apprenticed was arrested and killed for selling impure silver. Fighting successfully in the Crusades was supposed to erase his "crime." However, Prince John is trying to gain power in the absence of his brother, King Richard, who went off to the Crusades, and he puts a high price on Edmund's freedom. The book's exciting climax centers around a challenge accepted by Hubert to save his friend's life. Historical information is skillfully interwoven into this adventurous tale, making it a fine selection to use for interdisciplinary study.-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Two squires and their knights struggle to make their way back to England from the Holy Land after the bloody Siege of Acre. In this sequel to Cadnum’s The Book of the Lion (2000), Hubert, squire to Sir Nigel and best friend to fellow squire Edmund, takes up the narrative. His description of their fitful travels demonstrates that 12th-century Europe was a lawless place in the extreme, and the characters find that they are little safer in their journey than they were on the battlefield as they move from pursuit by a Saracen ship to a brief respite in Greece to a Rome beset by gangs. This makes for an episodic story with little cohesion beyond the characters’ desire to return home and their feud with a rival knight and his page, the resolution of which contains the heart of the text’s argument: how much is one willing to fight, and for what cause is a fight justified? Hubert himself makes for an appealing character; he enjoys both a sense of humor and a clear-eyed understanding of himself, flaws and all. As he describes the action, he observes it, weighing his faith in God and his desire to be a knight against the squalor of actual combat. There is the tendency to wonder how much Hubert’s attitude is informed by 21st-century values; certainly his mentor, who has seen much more combat than he has, appears to have no such qualms. Cadnum writes in an author’s note that he wanted to explore the "terrible paradox—that caring responsible individuals can engage in acts of brutality." The narrative itself is caught on this paradox, moving from exciting skirmishes and jousts to Hubert’s moments of doubt, with imperfect success at finding an answer. The details of medieval Europe are vividly realized,the characters and their relationships are sympathetic, the action can be thrilling—but somehow it all adds up to less than the sum of its parts. (Fiction. 12+)