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Down on his luck and kicked in the pants one too many times, Pagan Kidrouk arrives on the doorstep of the Templar Knights in medieval Jerusalem, looking for work as a squire. Expecting only a respite from life on the street and a few square meals, the sarcastic sixteen-year-old finds himself hard at work for Lord Roland ...
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Down on his luck and kicked in the pants one too many times, Pagan Kidrouk arrives on the doorstep of the Templar Knights in medieval Jerusalem, looking for work as a squire. Expecting only a respite from life on the street and a few square meals, the sarcastic sixteen-year-old finds himself hard at work for Lord Roland de Bram — a not-so-exciting life of polishing Lord Roland's armor, laundering his garments, and even training to fight by his side. But as the Infidel Saladin leads his army to Jerusalem, it becomes more and more difficult for Pagan and Lord Roland to decide what action to take or whom to trust. Is a bloody battle for control of the Holy City inevitable?
In twelth-century Jerusalem, orphaned sixteen-year-old Pagan is assigned to work for Lord Roland, a Templar knight, as Saladin's armies close in on the Holy City.
A big man in brown, sitting behind a table. Big hands. Big chest. Short and broad. Head like a rock, face scarred like a battle axe. He looks up and sees–what’s this? A street urchin? Whatever it is, it’s trouble. Trouble advances cautiously.
"They said I should report to the Standard-Bearer."
The big man nods.
"You can call me sir," he says. (Voice like gravel rattling in a cast-iron pot.) He pulls out a quill pen. "Name?" he says.
"Pagan Kidrouk, sir."
(Hell in a handcart.)
"Pagan Kidrouk, sir."
Scratch, scratch. He writes very slowly.
Rockhead looks up. The brain peeps out from behind the brawn.
"Don’t worry, sir. It didn’t happen in a stable."
Clunk. Another jest falls flat on the ground.
"Rule number one, Kidrouk. In the Order of the Temple you speak only when you’re spoken to."
Rockhead smells rich and rare, like a well-matured piece of cheese. No baths for the Templars. Hot water is for girls and porridge and other soft, wet things. If a Templar wants a bath he can go and stand in the rain. That’s what God put it there for.
"And where did you come from, Kidrouk?" (The unspoken question: out of a slop bucket?) Rockhead is highly suspicious. You can see what he’s thinking. Just look at this runt! Smells like the Infidel, and looks like a Bedouin boy. Skin the color of braised almonds. Built like a horsewhip. Black hair. Black eyes. What in the name of God is this Order coming to? We’ll be recruiting stray dogs next.
"I’m a local, sir. I served in the Jerusalem garrison."
"The night watch. I patrolled the northern beat. Between the Postern of Lazarus and the Postern of Saint Magdalene."
"You mean the Jewry quarter?"
"That’s the one. Sir."
"And why did you leave?"
"Well, sir . . . it was the jokes."
Pause. Rockhead’s brows roll together like gathering thunderclouds. But the storm doesn’t break.
"It was the what?"
"It was the jokes, sir. In the guardroom. Not that I object to jokes as such. Some of my best friends are complete jokes. But I don’t like leper jokes. Or dysentery jokes. Especially when I’m eating."
Rockhead puts his pen down. Game’s over.
PAGAN'S CRUSADE by Catherine Jinks. Copyright (c) 2004 by Catherine Jinks. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Posted March 27, 2008
Posted March 26, 2007
Sarcasm, history, and action come together in this great book. You will simply fall in love with Pagan. This is one of those books that you'll be up reading at 1:00am just because it's impossible to put down. Pagan is pretty much a genius in his own way. Sir Roland is amazing as well. Once you read it, don't forget about the three other books!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2005
What a fantastic book! Enagaging, well-written, intelligent! Jinks' knowledge of the subject graces every page without bogging the story down. Reading it, one really feels as if they have been transported into the age of the Crusades, into Pagan's world. Jinks has taken the time to develop all her characters, despite the constraints of Pagan's first-person point of view, and Pagan himself is a very dynamic, entertaining character. Also, the way Jinks crafts his thoughts is interesting to read. Pagan is witty, sarcastic, and intelligent, overall a brilliant protagonist.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2005
Posted March 25, 2005
After reading just the first page, I was totally hooked. Pagan's first person, present tense narrative, consisting of half thoughts and partial sentences is engaging and extremely funny to read. His sardonic view of life makes the relationship between him and Roland all the more touching. Pagan is an imperfect, but likeable character who turns out to be much less selfish than he would at first lead you to believe. A wonderful read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 5, 2008
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