Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Youngest Templar


The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail

Michael P. Spradlin

Tristan has only known life in the monastery where he was found as an infant. Although he was raised by monks, he has never had the desire to become one, so when a group of Knights Templar stops there on their way to fight in the Third Crusade, he accepts the offer to become a squire to one of the leaders, Sir Thomas. Unfortunately he also makes an enemy of the other leader, Sir Hugh.

When they reach the Holy Land, Tristan soon discovers that fighting and killing are not much fun, and unfortunately there is plenty of both. When Acre is attacked and it is apparent that it will fall to the enemy, Sir Thomas entrusts Tristan with the greatest treasure of Christendom – the Holy Grail and tells him to take it to a church in Scotland. Tristan must make his way through the Saracens, past Sir Hugh and hope to get safely out of the Holy Land. He’ll find a couple of companions along the way, and encounter more trouble than he ever bargained for.

I didn’t find Keeper of the Grail to be great historical fiction, but it was fun to read and I think it will be popular to many of my boys. It reads like many of the Dan Brown like adult adventure novels, but without so much explanation about every facet of the story. While I was glad about this last part, I do wish there were a little more explanation about the Crusades, because I fear that many of the students who are going to attempt this novel will know nothing about them. I’m a big fan of authors’ notes either at the beginning or ending of a novel, explaining the historical setting of the novel.

I found the characters of Tristan, Robard, and Maryam to be likable but I thought Sir Thomas and Sir Hugh were fairly one-dimensional characters. This is the first book in a series, and the second book is already out.

7 comments:

Ms. Yingling said...

This is one that my boys really like. Pair it with Jinks' Pagan's Crusade and Cadnum's Book of the Lion.

Paige Y. said...

I haven't read either of those -- I know I have Book of the Lion in my library. i'm working on a series of historical fiction booktalks for a 6th grade teacher so I'll check these other two books out too. Thanks for the suggestions.

Camille said...

I've listened to the first and second books in this series. I liked the cliff hanger endings and thought the not-so-subtle hints about who his friends Robard and Maryam are going to turn out to be were fun. I am looking forward to the third one. I am also wondering who Tristan is going to turn out to be.

Jan von Harz said...

The Youngest Templar is a Mark Twain nominee(MALA) and is one my list to read this year. Thanks for the review.

Paige Y. said...

Camille,

I think the mystery over Tristian's identity is what will keep me reading the series.

Jan,

It will be interesting to see if the book wins the Mark Twain award. I think it's sure to be popular with my students.

millymarie said...

Looks like a fun read. The main character semi reminds me of (or sounds like) a young Indiana Jones.

Paige Y. said...

I can see where you get the comparison between Tristan and Indiana Jones. I think this book would appeal to anyone who loves the movies.