Monday, December 22, 2014

The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail by Michael Spradlin

Stories of the Crusades have reached fifteen-year-old Tristan and the monks at St. Alban's monastery. But King Richard is calling for reinforcements to defend the Christian settlements in Jerusalem. A group of Templar knights acting upon the king's request lodge at St. Alban's. One knight, Sir Thomas, meets Tristan and convinces him to be his squire. After a treacherous voyage, the Templar knights arrive in Jerusalem to witness a losing battle with the Saladin. During a siege, Sir Thomas reveals to Tristan that he has the Holy Grail and he entrusts it to Tristan to take it to a Scottish monastery. Tristan escapes the battle in hopes of securing a passage back to England.

Spradlin’s expertly mixes both history and legend to create an intense, well-written start to The Youngest Templar series. Readers will be fully immersed in the culture and life of an orphaned teenage boy as they follow Tristan in and out of the failed Crusade. But besides successfully exhibiting the time period, Spradlin also includes major players from the Robin Hood legend. Tristan's friend, Robard Hode is a King's Archer and a Saladin maiden, Maryam, joins their quest to return the grail. Because of the description of war and violence, this book is more appropriate for ages 10 and up. The second book in the The Youngest Templar trilogy is Trail of Fate.

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