Review: The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail

Review by Dragon Page Teen correspondent Darcy Low

Hi guys,

Been a while since I done a book review. This time I got a great one for everyone to enjoy!

The Youngest Templar"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 thought 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 and respected knights. But he also himself thrust into the middle of political intrigue deeper than a simple boy would expect to be a part of. Caught between rival knights desperate for power and 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 forrest and a Al Hashshashin warrior (who happens to be a girl). But even with their help, can he safely bring the Holy Grail back to England and escape the men who follow in his wake?"

The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail is one of those books I picked off the shelf at random. I love books about knights and castles, and one about teens in that time period sounds cool to me. And wow, the first book I read this summer turned out to be one of the best all year!

Tristan is a young boy who was dropped on a abbey's doorstep years ago, and was raised by monks there until he reached sixteen or so. The monks treat him well, and he helps them in the stables and grow food; making friends with a mute monk there. Life there is good, but he is very sheltered and knows very little of the outside world, only that Richard is waging war overseas to regain the Holy land. All this changes when a group of knights shows up at the abbey. Two of the knights seem to recognize him, which is very odd because Tristan has lived his entire life there.

One, Sir Thomas; treats him kindly and talks him into becoming his squire, training him in fighting and how to be a Crusader. The other, Sir Hugh, takes a instant dislike to Tristan and even beats him at one point, again for no known reason at the time. Later on in the story, when they get over into the holy land, the town they are in becomes overrun, and Tristan is forced to escape with the Grail, promising Sir Thomas he will keep it safe and see it gets back to England. Alone in a country he has never seen, back behind enemy lines; Tristan has to make his way to a Crusader held stronghold, avoiding enemy patrols and other knights who would give anything to have the Grail and it's powers for their own.

There is so much about this book that I loved, it is very hard to know where to start. I even had to stop in this review for a day and put my thoughts in order. So here goes.

First, the characters themselves are very well written and completely believable. Tristan himself starts off as a innocent young boy who knows very little of the outside world into a pretty good squire. Unlike a lot of teen books I have read, his character doesn't automatically know everything by the third chapter. This book shows his hard work and training as a squire in a good way. The other characters mentioned above are well written too, The young archer of course is Robin Hood, but I figure you guessed that already. However this is Robin as a young peasant boy who was forced into the crusades due to things at home, and he is not at all happy about it. This is very good and very important, because this writer has given us readers who love the Robin Hood story, a very good back story and again it just completly makes sense how it is written, You will read it say, "Hey yeah, that would be just how it was back then." It just totally fits. He also met very briefly John Little, when he first becomes a squire. The character is much younger of course, but their are hints of the character he will become latter on. I liked how he too is introduced to us. The girl that Tristan teams up with was a total shock, she too is someone important, but I will not reveal here who she is, that would be a spoiler and I been told I maybe spoil too much in my reviews. (hope not, you peeps need to let me know if I do.)

The story itself is just excellent. There is a lot of action, tons of mystery and something that is new in books I have read so far. War and killing are shown as having a effect on all of the characters, along with the aftermath of both. When Tristan kills his first enemy in self defense, he is sickened by it and thinks not only that he has taken a life, but he feels concern over the family that this man has left behind. There is something you don't always see in a book. Also, this writter shows both sides to the war itself, and how it's the leaders who start the war and how innocent people can get caught up in them.

This is the first book in the series, and I can't wait for the next one. The writer, Michael P Spradlin, has been wrtting teen and children books for a while now and it shows. You can find out more about him at michaelspradlin.com.

He is a new writer to me, as this is one of those those books I picked up at random. But now I want to read more of his books and this one is going on my shelf. I know i'll go back to it again and again later on. This is one everyone who like fantasy, mystery or historical dramas will enjoy, both teens and adults. Dad read it along with me and was saying how much he liked it and how well written it is. And that is saying a lot, dad is usually very busy and doesn't have a lot of time to read anymore.

Oh one last thing on the Crusades itself. I did some checking, and King Richard not only used taxes to force people into joining the Crusades, but there were also children that were in the war as well. Often a farmer or peasant could not meet the taxes and was too old to join the war, so their sons went off to "pay the tax." Jenny told me there was a movie she saw that showed this and had a lot of teen actors in the roles. We don't know the name of it, if anyone does, please let us know.

The book is put out by Putman and I am sure you can find it anywhere and I really recommend this one. You are going to love it!

Darcy

The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail by Michael Spradlin
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (September 18, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0399247637
ISBN-13: 978-0399247637
Genre: Adventure

Comments

  1. cool thanks Summer! I think everyone will like this a lot, adults and kids. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

    Darcy

Speak Your Mind

*