Pagan's Vows (Pagan Chronicles Series #3)

Pagan's Vows (Pagan Chronicles Series #3)

by Catherine Jinks, Peter De Seve

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The third of four books featuring Pagan's adventures, PAGAN'S VOWS is a medieval thriller that leads the reader through a web of mystery and intrigue — in the most unlikely of places.

Having renounced the sword, Pagan and Lord Roland arrive at the Abbey of St. Martin to devote their lives to God. But no sooner are they outfitted in their novices'

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The third of four books featuring Pagan's adventures, PAGAN'S VOWS is a medieval thriller that leads the reader through a web of mystery and intrigue — in the most unlikely of places.

Having renounced the sword, Pagan and Lord Roland arrive at the Abbey of St. Martin to devote their lives to God. But no sooner are they outfitted in their novices' habits than Pagan suspects that something mysterious is going on. While the emotionally wrecked Roland tries to find peace in monastic life, the humility and blind obedience required of all novices do not come easily to the worldly Pagan — especially when he learns that the monastery is riddled with deceit and corruption. Someone is stealing alms, and Pagan is determined to find out who. But the truth may come at a price, one that could force him to reconsider his pious role — and his dedication to Roland.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Jinks turns medieval history into fodder for both high comedy and allegory," said PW in a starred review of her Pagan's Crusade, the first of a planned quartet of books. Pagan's Vows by Catherine Jinks, the third installment, finds Lord Roland and Pagan renouncing their violent ways as they aspire to become monks at the Abbey of Saint Martin. Pagan's familiar, wry observations make light of his and Roland's struggles, adjusting to their monastic life. Pagan also finds out who is embezzling money from the abbey. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
During the Crusades Pagan Kidrouk experiences many adventures as the audacious squire to Sir Roland de Brum. Those stories are told in two earlier books. In this latest book Sir Roland decides to seek peace at a monastery in France where both he and Pagan become novices. Sir Roland, who always had a rather saintly aspect, fits in quite well. Pagan is not cut out for a life of obedience and silence. His restless spirit and inquiring mind threaten the peace of the monastery and lead to possible expulsion for both him and Sir Roland. When Pagan uncovers evidence of someone stealing alms, his investigation puts his life in danger. The story takes many twists and turns as the lively, wise-cracking, and engaging hero tries to adjust to monastic life. The unexpected resolution of the story is quite satisfying. The fact that this author is both a medieval scholar and fan of British comedies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, shows in this book. She creates a strong sense of what life may have been like for a novice in a 12th century French monastery and she endows her protagonist with a wry, sarcastic wit. She says Pagan "sprang into her head fully-formed" and was such a strong character, it will take four books to tell his story. Ms. Jinks, who lives in Australia, has received numerous awards for her young adult books, including the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year. 2004 (orig. 1995), Candlewick Press, Ages 12 to Adult.
—Janet Crane Barley
Readers first captivated by Pagan Kidrouk, street-smart squire to the noble knight Lord Roland Roucy de Bram, in Pagan's Crusade (Candlewick, 2003/VOYA December 2003), will snap up this third volume of his chronicles. Having fought for and lost Crusader Jerusalem, Pagan and Roland escaped to Roland's native France only to be plunged into the equally sanguinary conflicts of Pagan in Exile (Candlewick, 2004/VOYA April 2004). Here Roland, sick of bloodshed, enters a monastery and loyal Pagan signs on as well. But never was there a squarer peg in a rounder hole. The black-robed monks remind Pagan of "crows around a corpse," and their rules chafe. He is barely "allowed to turn over in bed." Worse, Roland, absorbed in prayer and penitence, is unavailable when Pagan discovers trouble in the abbey. There is hanky-panky in the cloister. Pagan is no prude, but corruption is different. Pagan digs deeper and finds dark deeds, blackmail, cover-ups, and danger. Where to turn? Whom to tell? In whom should he place his trust? With Roland growing ever more remote and the stern novice master harrying Pagan toward ever greater intellectual efforts, Pagan has fallen into a medieval nightmare. Jinks's fascination with the details of twelfth-century life is apparent throughout the novel, and in some places, overshadows the story. Also bothersome is that Pagan and Roland are confined within cloistered walls for the most part. That aspect felt a touch static, but Pagan is still Pagan: smart, sassy, and vulnerable. Buy this book and rejoice-there is a fourth coming. VOYA CODES: 4Q 5P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; 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
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Life in a medieval monastery is rife with venomous characters and underhanded dealings in this unfocused series offering set in 1188. Squire Pagan Kidrouk and his master, Lord Roland, have entered the Abbey of St. Martin to train as monks. Life consists of memorizing Latin passages, praying, and staying out of trouble. Pagan begins to hear whispers of a bribery scheme involving the cover-up of a church official's pedophilia, and when he begins to unravel the threads of the scandal, he changes the course of not only his own life, but also the lives of several others. It's important to have read the two earlier books in order to put these characters into context and understand their actions. The story rambles for quite awhile until it becomes more cohesive and eventful. The prose is somewhat choppy due to the use of short fragments rather than complete sentences. Also, Pagan's sarcastic thoughts are often placed in parentheses within these fragments, further interrupting the flow. The characters sometimes change their behaviors without explanation and some loose ends remain unresolved. Avi's Crispin (Hyperion, 2002) or Nancy Springer's I Am Mordred (Philomel, 1998) are better choices.-Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Equal parts Boethius and blackmail, this third volume of a projected quartet sends wise-cracking ex-street-kid Pagan Kidrouk and his best friend/father figure Roland Roucy de Bram into the bookish but far from otherworldly confines of a 12th-century Benedictine monastery. With his usual gift for landing in the soup, not only does Pagan struggle to adapt to the (supposedly) ascetic monastic life style, he's singled out for relentless grilling in Latin, Rhetoric, and other scholastic studies, cottons to an extortion scheme involving alms money and a fugitive pederast, and worriedly watches Roland, devout but shaken to his soul by the heartbreaking events of Pagan in Exile (2004), wasting away. Nothing like the cloistered life for peace and quiet. As before, Pagan's mix of bad attitude and profound loyalty make a winning combination, and readers will come (or continue) to care as deeply as he does for his troubled, deeply decent companion. Humor? Rage? Agony? Spiritual journeys? Murder? Moral turpitude? Twists both welcome and dismaying? This decidedly unique historical saga has it all. (Fiction. 12-15)

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Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Pagan, #3
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.88(h) x 1.09(d)
540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Whoops! Don’t lose Montazin, Pagan. Scurrying after him: out of the northern transept, through the garden, into the graveyard. Trying to keep up. He has a chiseled face and elegant hands, with long, bony fingers. He stops near one of the more recent graves.

"Well?" he says. "What is it?"

"Please, Father, it’s Father Aeldred."

"What about him?"

"I think he’s stealing money."

Montazin’s expression changes. It becomes very intent. He narrows his eyes.

"What do you mean?" he says.

"I was in the almonry, washing feet — twelve feet — when I heard Father Aeldred tell Father Bernard that there were eight paupers. So Father Bernard gave him eight coins. But there were only six paupers, which means that Father Aeldred must have kept the other two coins. He was lying, Father."

Montazin seems to be thinking. His face is unreadable.

"Brother Aeldred may have made a mistake," he says at last, very slowly. "Or you may have."

"No, Father, I don’t think so. You see, I think he’s visiting someone in town. A widow." (Forgive me, Roquefire, but I never made any promises.) "I think that’s where the money might be going. To the woman in town."

Montazin blinks. This time he really seems startled.

"How do you know about that?" he exclaims.

"Someone told me.


"Well . . . if you don’t mind, I can’t tell you who told me. But it’s true, I swear it is."

A long pause. Everything’s very quiet and peaceful out here, now that the bells have stopped ringing. Just the twitter of birds, the buzzing of bees, and the faraway sound of a horse’s whinny.

"Have you told anyone else about this?" Montazin suddenly inquires.

"No, Father."

"Then don’t. It’s a very serious thing, to accuse a monk of breaking his vows. Of course I shall look into it immediately. If it’s true, Brother Aeldred will be punished. But if you’ve made a mistake . . ."

Another pause. Don’t tell me. If I’ve made a mistake, you’ll pour molten lead down my throat and hang me upside down from the bell tower.

PAGAN'S VOWS by Catherine Jinks. Copyright (c) 2004 by Catherine Jinks. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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Meet the Author

Catherine Jinks is a medieval scholar and young adult author — a background that is evident in this third of four stories 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 Templar squire 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 I¹ve ever written about. The cutest, too, I think." Catherine Jinks lives in Australia.

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