Pagan's Scribe (Pagan Chronicles Series #4)

Pagan's Scribe (Pagan Chronicles Series #4)

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by Catherine Jinks

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"Rich in authentic detail, humor, grief, and deep insight into the life of the mind as well as the heart, this makes a fitting close to a high-water mark in historical fiction." — KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

Impressed by the bookish Isidore, Pagan Kidrouk — now Archdeacon of Carcassonne — hires the boy as his scribe. Eager to


"Rich in authentic detail, humor, grief, and deep insight into the life of the mind as well as the heart, this makes a fitting close to a high-water mark in historical fiction." — KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

Impressed by the bookish Isidore, Pagan Kidrouk — now Archdeacon of Carcassonne — hires the boy as his scribe. Eager to flee a cloistered existence, naive Isidore quickly discovers that the real world isn't all as the poets and philosophers claim. The year is 1209, and papal forcesfrom the north are driving their bloody crusade against the Cathar hereticsto Carcassonne. With the battle lines inching ever closer, the world ofFather Pagan, Lord Roland, and Roland's mysterious brother grows more real to Isidore — and more terrifying — by the day. The last of four books inan acclaimed series, PAGAN'S SCRIBE casts the worldly,wisecracking Pagan in an unexpected role as friend and mentor to a young soulin need.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
Jinks brings her utterly addictive "Pagan Chronicles" to a wrenching close, taking irreverent former street urchin Pagan Kidrouk through the horrors of the 13th-century Albigensian Crusade. Now some years since the close of Pagan's Vows (2004), Pagan has been dispatched on a mission to bring the heretic Cathars back into the Church-a task made all the more difficult by the rampant ignorance and cupidity of the local clergy. But larger forces are at work, and southern France soon finds itself invaded by armies from the north, authorized by the Pope to root out all heresy and eager to do so as violently as possible. Changing narrators for this final installment, Jinks introduces Isidore, a learned but naive young clerk with a sullen attitude, who becomes Pagan's amanuensis and rabid admirer, and through whose eyes readers will get unforgettably vivid views, both of the squalor of medieval daily life, and of the campaign's tragic outcome. The story stands alone, but familiarity with the continuing characters will make it a stronger reading experience. Rich in authentic detail, humor, grief and deep insight into the life of the mind as well as the heart, this makes a fitting close to a high-water mark in historical fiction. (Fiction. 12-15)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Pagan Chronicles Series, #4
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

"Father Pagan," he says, "a very disturbing rumor has reached my ears. I've been told that you wish to demolish our refectory. Surely this cannot be true?"

The Archdeacon has to think for a moment. He blinks, and bends his mind to the question with an effort that's written clearly on his brow.

"Yes," he replies. "Yes, it is true."

"Father, I must protest. This is going too far."

"I'm sorry, but there's no alternative. Lord Raymond needs the stone for his fortifications."

":And we need our refectory for our meals, Father! I find it incredible that you should disregard our rights in this way. You haven't even presented your request to the cathedral chapter for consideration — you've just gone ahead and ignored us completely! The Bishop would never have allowed this."

"The Bishop is in Montpellier! The Bishop has forfeited his authority by running away to hide, like a snake in the grass!"

"I hope you're not implying — "

"Shut up!" The Archdeacon jumps to his feet. "Just shut up! I've had it up to here with you people! Would you rather give up your refectory, or have your guts ripped out and trampled all over the church floor? Because that's what's happened to the canons at Béziers! That's what's happened to the Chancellor at Béziers! Is that what you want?"

Father Guibert takes a step backward, retreating before the blaze of the Archdeacon's fury.

"At — at Béziers?" he quavers.

"They've slaughtered all the clergy there! They've hacked them to pieces on the steps of their own altar! They've killed the entire population! And you're talking to me about your miserable refectory? You make me sick!"

"Father — please — "

"Get out of here! Go on! Go and tell those bleating fools that they can either eat off their knees or have their limbs strewn all over the cathedral! And if I hear one more complaint, I'm going to sling you all out of this city, and let you take your chances with the northern knights! See how much they care about your refectory when they start slicing off your fingers!"

The Chancellor bolts. He stumbles out the door backward, and Father Pagan slams it shut behind him — slams it so hard that the floor shakes. An echoing silence, taut with emotion.

Lord Jordan releases my shoulder.

"Well," he says smoothly, "I knew I could rely on you to spread the news in a gentle, reassuring way. I mean, God forbid that anyone should panic."

PAGAN'S SCRIBE by Catherine Jinks. Copyright (c) 2006 by Catherine Jinks. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Meet the Author

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.

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Pagan's Scribe (Pagan Chronicles Series #4) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I read it in about 2 days and i couldn't put it down! Pagan's scribe paints a really good picture of what life was like in southern France in the year 1209. I highly suggest that you read this book!