The Book of the Lion

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9780670883868: The Book of the Lion

Set in medieval England, young Edmund's life is forever changed when he joins Richard Lionheart's army and fights in the Battle of Arsuf whereupon he learns importance personal lessons about compassion and cruelty.

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Review:

"God wills it!" the Crusaders cry in battle. In this richly detailed and lovingly crafted story, Michael Cadnum explores the terrible paradox of holy war through the eyes of Edmund, a young apprentice metalworker, who finds himself unexpectedly rescued from prison and pressed into service as a squire to a knight. Without a bit of experience with horses or swords, Edmund goes off in terror and delight to help rescue the True Cross from the infidels in Jerusalem, and finds his manhood in surviving the siege of the sea-fortress Acre and the terrible bloody battle of Arsuf.

This is not the sanitized version of the Middle Ages that appears in so many young adult novels. From the first scene, in which the king's men punish Edmund's master by whacking off his hand, Cadnum gives us the authentic brutality of the period--its stink and bugs, random cruelty, drunkenness, and sudden death--as well as its colorful pageantry and lofty ideals. His previous medieval novel, In a Dark Wood, first showed his poetic skill with the small, vivid details that bring these times alive in all their strangeness. In The Book of the Lion, Edmund's journey to the Holy Land is full of such moments, as well as the heart-stopping adventure teens enjoy. The many young readers who are in love with the Middle Ages will come away from this story with their understanding of that time (and our own) enriched and deepened. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

About the Author:

Michael Cadnum is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for adults and young adults, including the contemporary novels Rundown, Heat, and Edge and the historical novel In a Dark Wood.

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