Raised by monks, the orphan Tristan never dreamed that he might see the world or discover the truth about his past. But that changes the day that the Knights Templar ride through the abbey on their way to fight in the Holy Land for Richard the Lionheart’s Crusade. Overnight Tristan becomes a squire to Sir Thomas, one of the Templar’s most courageous knights. But he also finds himself entrusted with the most sacred relic in all of Christendom, the Holy Grail.
With the chaos of war surrounding him, Tristan teams up with a young archer from Sherwood Forest and a deadly Al Hashshashin warrior. But even with their help, can he safely bring the Holy Grail back to England and escape the evil men who follow in its wake?
- Pub. Date: September 2009
- Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
I really enjoyed reading this book. Spradlin deftly captures the essence of the adventure and danger of twelfth century for young readers. As Tristan leaves his safe home at the monastery and joins the Knights Templar as a squire, he engages in adventures that he would never before dream of. Sir Thomas offers him the opportunity of a lifetime by taking him to the Holy Land and giving him a strange audience with the King. Sir Hugh, obviously corrupt in some way, does what he can to tempt Tristan by alluding to the fact he knows about the boy's origins.
As a battle goes horribly awry, Sir Thomas entrusts Tristan with the Holy Grail, which he is to deliver safely back in England. Traveling with it, Tristan finds that it seems to have a protective sort of power in his darkest moments. Along the way he meets the fiery Robard Hode, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the character readers will recognize from the Robin Hood story, and the two of them unwittingly fall into the path of Maryam, who I have a feeling is not quite what she seems.
The most enjoyable part of the story to me is the mysterious aspects of Tristan's background. He seems to make King Richard feel uneasy, and Sir Hugh knows something about how Tristan was left at the monastery. His adventures in getting the Grail to safety are interesting enough, but I have a feeling that there is more in store for Tristan than that simple aspect of the story.
This is a well-written, engaging adventure that will appeal to readers young and old.