Release Date: 02/09/10
As a boy, Andrew was touched by the otherworld when the ghost of a dead murderer sought out his village, showing him his fate. And though his father is just a blacksmith, nothing will keep Andrew from riding to the Crusades to seek the honours he has been promised. He lives battles of the imagination, seeing harsh midday sun glint off sword and armour, where he rides his horse into war in a riot of colour and noise. But dead men keep secrets, and much of the future has been kept from him. Andrew may find the glory of the Crusades and skirmish with Saladin's most powerful warriors. Or he may become entangled in Templar politics and wander in the desert haunted by jinn and demons. What is certain is that Andrew will face tests of blade and spirit. And his dreams will be measured in blood before he sees home again.
Young Adult novels are full of adventure and deep within this one is a young lad’s dream of becoming a knight. Set during the crusades the author feels like they’ve borrowed from “A Knights Tale”quite liberally. It’s fun, it’s quirky and there’s a supporting cast of players that are a huge amount of fun to hang around.
That said, the side quests and struggles of some of these players did feel at times, like they were superfluous to the story’s overall arc. Which, whilst I could see that the author was utilising them in order to help create different paces for the reader, would have been better had they been put to one side for a separate tale all of their own set to run at the same time as the main story and could have used a number of Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravate films for inspiration.
Overall, the story will fulfil what the reader wants as destiny is met head on, dreams are achieved and all in is a great piece of escapism for the young adult reader.