Pagan in Exile (Pagan Chronicles Series #2)

Pagan in Exile (Pagan Chronicles Series #2)

by Catherine Jinks, Tim Stevens

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"The setting is medieval, but the issues addressed have twenty-first century parallels. . . . Jinks's writing is the tour de force of young adult prose." —VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES

The year is 1188, and Jerusalem is in the hands of the Infidel. Upstanding Crusaders and their squires — like Lord Roland Roucy de Bram and Pagan Kidrouk

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"The setting is medieval, but the issues addressed have twenty-first century parallels. . . . Jinks's writing is the tour de force of young adult prose." —VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES

The year is 1188, and Jerusalem is in the hands of the Infidel. Upstanding Crusaders and their squires — like Lord Roland Roucy de Bram and Pagan Kidrouk — are returning to Europe, hoping to rally more knights to their cause. The sardonic young Pagan expects Lord Roland's family to be the picture of fortitude and good manners, but he's in for a rude awakening. Brutish and unfeeling, the de Bram clan cares nothing for the Crusades, or indeed for anything outside their neighborhood in France. Meanwhile, local unrest is brewing. Church authorities are duking it out with the de Brams over a group of "heretics" living nearby. And now Pagan and Roland, sworn to defend Christianity, are left to decide for themselves who to stand by — and whom to trust.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Following Pagan's Crusade, which, according to PW, "turns medieval history into fodder for both high comedy and allegory," this episode traces Pagan and Lord Roland's travels to France, where they are forced to exorcise ghosts from Lord Roland's past. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jerusalem has fallen to the soldiers of Saladin. Pagan Kidrouk and his master, Lord Roland Roucy de Bram, are in Lord Roland's homeland seeking knights for a new Crusade to free the holiest of cities from the hands of the infidel. It is hard to know what Lord Roland's squire expected in his master's home in the south of France, but it certainly was not what they find when they arrive. Lord Roland's father, brothers and their families and retainers live in such squalor and have such uncouth manners and ways that Pagan is appalled. How can his almost saintly master come from such a family? It is clearly a waste of time to think that this crowd of unbelieving savages will have any interest in freeing Jerusalem from the clutches of the infidel. Pagan is all for leaving as quickly as possible. He also begins to feel afraid of the effect that Lord Roland's family is having in his master. They are like a disease, corrupting and evil and Pagan wants to get his master away from their influence as soon as he can. Then the situation gets very complicated when a local dispute breaks out between Lord Roland's father and the nearby abbey. People are killed and Lord Roland cannot bring himself to leave until he has done his best to find a resolution to the problem. However, the stubbornness of the Abbot and of Lord Roland's father is such that the dispute only escalates. Pagan is the most honest of narrators. His voice is funny, vibrant, and it gives us a vivid picture of his world which is often dreadfully realistic. His first hunt leaves Pagan sick at heart and in the stomach, and there is no doubt that the living conditions in Lord Roland's childhood home disgusts the boy from Jerusalem. The peoplewho live in that home don't impress him either. They are cruel, crude, often barbaric, and have very little respect for anyone outside their family circle. Pagan has such a wonderful sense of the ironic. He sees the things in life that make it pitiful on the one hand, and yet worth living on the other. He also sees the greatness in people and his love for his master is complete. For Lord Roland he will risk his life again and again and for Lord Roland he will overcome his greatest fears. By the end of the book it is very hard not to feel great pride for this street boy from Palestine who has such a sharp tongue, quick wit, and big heart. Catherine Jinks has once again given us a book that is hard to put down, is often deeply disturbing, and that leaves one wondering what Pagan and his master will do next. The savagery and often barbarity of the times can be difficult to read about as can the hypocrisy of the so-called men of God. There certainly are parallels with our own times, where men kill in the name of religion. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 13 up.
—Marya Jansen-Gruber
This second book in Jinks's four-part series about Pagan Kidrouk, squire to Lord Roland Roucy de Bram of the Knights Templar, is every bit as good as her first book, Pagan's Crusade (Candlewick, 2003/VOYA December 2003). The year is 1188, and having fought for and lost Jerusalem to Muslim forces, seventeen-year-old Pagan, a Christian Arab, accompanies Roland to the latter's native France. There Roland presses his powerful father to join Pope Gregory's Crusade to retake the Holy Land. Fat chance. "The Pope can eat stewed scorpions and die," says Roland's father. He is preoccupied, locked in a power struggle with the nearby Abbey, and wisely loathe to entrust the family lands to the tender mercies of Roland's unlovely, squabbling older brothers. Inevitably, Pagan and Roland are drawn into the local secular versus religious brawl—high-minded and naïve Roland as would-be peacemaker and Pagan, the wise-cracking, former Jerusalem street urchin, as a savvy but ever more horrified observer concerned for his master's safety. In the process and in dialogue with each other, both Pagan and Roland come to question their most basic assumptions about the world and themselves. The setting is medieval, but the issues addressed have twenty-first century parallels. Pagan's voice—funny, swift, sarcastic, and often touching—carries the novel. This reviewer cannot remember a more compelling or rewarding page-turner. Jinks's writing is a tour de force of young adult prose. Happy are they who read and introduce young readers to Pagan. VOYA Codes: 5Q 5P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Candlewick, 336p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Mary E. Heslin
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, January 2004: Street urchin Pagan Kidrouk, age 16, desperate for money and a way off the streets, seeks work as a squire with the Templar Knights in Jerusalem. The year is 1187, and the Knights are charged with defending the kingdom from the Infidels and protecting pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. Pagan is assigned to work for the noble Lord Roland de Bram, to care for his horses ("the joyful duty of steaming manure," as Pagan sardonically puts it) and his armor, and if necessary to fight by his side. Meanwhile, Saladin's armies are marching toward the Holy City, and it takes all of Pagan's cleverness to save Roland and himself and make an escape. In the sequel, Pagan in Exile, second in this four-part series, Roland and Pagan have traveled to France, hoping to rally other knights to the cause of retaking Jerusalem. Pagan expects Roland will receive a warm welcome from his family, but instead they are met with hostility, and in the end they must fight to save themselves. Jinks, a medieval scholar and author of books for YAs, originally published this lively series in her native Australia. Quick-witted Pagan, who narrates in the present tense, is a wonderful character, full of wisecracks and sarcastic asides but brave and loyal in defense of his beloved Lord Roland. Action, drama, and humor abound, along with colorful details of life in medieval times. Pagan's adventures make an interesting contrast to Michael Cadnum's more somber novels about squires in the era of the Crusades, The Book of the Lion and The Leopard Sword. (Book Two of the Pagan Chronicles). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior highschool students. 1994, Candlewick, 326p. map., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
Kirkus Reviews
In the second of a projected four episodes, medievalist Jinks sends her wise-guy squire Pagan Kidrouk and his beloved, sternly moral Knight Templar Sir Roland Roucy de Bram, from Jerusalem, which has just been retaken by Saladin, to Roland's native Languedoc. The two crusaders arrive to find the de Brams, a brutal, dysfunctional family if ever there was one, engaged in an escalating feud with the local monastery. Without slowing the plot down a whit, the author limns her 12th-century setting in extensive, usually stomach-wrenching, detail; through Pagan's eyes the castle-dwellers live in disgusting, almost comic squalor, their mores and behavior seeming all the more vicious in contrast to that of a small, pious (doomed) community of "heretic" Cathars dwelling nearby. Despite Roland's best efforts, events spiral into a series of bloodbaths that leave him and Pagan both broken-hearted, ready to take up a monastic life rather than stay in their violent world. Readers will laugh and weep along with these vividly rendered wanderers. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-15)

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Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Pagan, #2
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.82(d)
530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

What's everybody staring at? . . .

Look at that fellow there, gawking away. Face like a gob of spittle, he's staring at me! Why don't you get yourself a mirror, Spitface, if you really want something to stare at.

A one-armed child makes a rude gesture. Runs away as I poke out a viciously threatening tongue. No backbone, little coward.

"Pagan." Roland's voice is cold and stern. (Doesn't want his squire eroding the dignity of his arrival.) "Please behave yourself."

"It's not my fault. What's wrong with them? They don't seem very pleased to see you."

"It's been a long time, Pagan. Six years. They may not remember who I am."

Six years. Imagine what it must be like, coming home after six years. A quick glance at his profile, jolting along not two arm-lengths away. . . . But there's no expression on Roland's chiseled face. His eyes aren't even misty. Not that I was expecting anything different: you'd see a pig become Pope before you'd ever see Lord Roland Roucy de Bram in tears.

He twitches his reins and it's time to turn right. Another narrow little street lined with pale sandstone houses, all sporting those funny peaked roofs. . . .

People clustered on doorsteps, staring.

They're staring at Roland, too, of course. You have to admit he's worth a look. The golden-haired knight on his glossy black horse with his blue eyes and wide shoulders and white tunic (well, off-white really, I haven't washed it in weeks), and the distinctive red cross on his chest. You don't often see a vision of Saint George wandering past your scrap bucket on an overcast afternoon in the middle of nowhere. It's like watching a stained-glass window come to life. People push and whisper and cross themselves. A sort of hush seems to follow us down the street.

This is really embarrassing.

PAGAN IN EXILE by Catherine Jinks. Copyright (c) 2004 by Catherine Jinks. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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