Lucidly written and well researched, A Journey of Innocents is a marvelously spellbinding novel about a thirteenth century event which was so tragic and so calamitous that for many, it is difficult to believe it actually occurred. It is the story of an army of children whose faith in God was so strong and unyielding that they were willing to sacrifice all, even their very life, in order to accomplish what they had been taught with such fervor was God's will - the Christian domination of the land of Christ.
Over 70,000 German and French children participated in the extraordinary medieval event known as "The Children's Crusade." This novel evolves around the French portion of the Crusade which by itself involved nearly 30,000 children. The average age of the children was 12, most were boys, many were as young as 5 or 6. The leader of the French Crusade was himself, only 12.
The story portrays the children with their innocence, their vitality and zest for life, their deep faith in God and their dreams of chivalry. More than half the children lost their life during their holy quest. Many of the survivors were captured and enslaved by the Saracens and were made to serve their masters in the brothels of North Africa and Palestine. Thousands of the children died quickly after their enslavement as they were forced to toil in the fields or mines of their captors. As the story unfolds, it revolves around several fictional characters and follows them with the Crusade on their incredible odyssey, giving a day by day chronology as best as can be determined, with 13 detailed maps.
This is the true story of 30,000 little soldiers of God who in their innocence, truly believed their goal would be granted by divine right and who endured decimating thirst, hunger, exhaustion and disillusionment in the belief that their sacrifices were necessary in order to effect God's will.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Janasik is the author of "A Journey of Innocents." This book is the book about The Children's Crusade.
Never heard of it? Almost no one has. It is an obscure part of the history of man that we'd rather forget.
In 1212, one Stephen of Cloyes (France) received a message from God. He was to organize a children's crusade to march on Jerusalem and take back the Holy Land for Christendom. How were they to succeed when the armies of Europe had failed? No problem. With their innocence and purity they would win the day. To get there they had to march to the Mediterranean where God would dutifully part the waters so they could walk across to the Holy Land.
Of course it didn't quite happen that way and about 45,000 children disappeared forever. It was 1212 when a child was usually apprenticed out at the age of eight, where faith and religious fervor were the only game in town. It was a brutal time in Europe, when heretics were burned in public with the blessing and instigation of the Church.
Janasik has researched the era with great attention to the fine details of this historical event. Though an American, he tried to write dialogue the way that medieval French children spoke. A difficult task, but it seems to work
This is a novel (311 pages.) It is a novel because the truth is limited to the fact of the Crusade and reports of the few who survived. Janasik takes a handful of children and their adult protector and follows them through recruitment to the end. - Century PressFrom the Author:
In 1969, while studying the medieval Crusades in high school, the issue of The Children's Crusade arose but as I remember, only in the briefest of manner and only to acknowledge that such an event had indeed occurred. Even then, I was enthralled with the idea of an army of children, but as a teenager, medieval history held a low priority in my young life.
Several years later, while studying medieval history in college, the same thing occurred. My instructor seemed to know little of the event, only that it had indeed occurred. But now my priorities centered on concentrating on preparing myself to enter a profession and I had little time to study the issue further.
Recently however, I was able to devote the time necessary to fully research the event which has enthralled me since I was a child. As my research proceeded, I became appalled at the sheer number of youngsters involved in both the Children's Crusades, (the French Crusade involved 30,000 children, the German Crusade involved 40,000 children.) I became astonished by how young the children were who participated in the Crusade, (the average age of the children was 12.) Even more surprising was the age of its leaders. The leader of the French Crusade was 12. The leader of the German Crusade was younger still, only 10.
Further, I was shocked at the half-hearted and ineffective efforts taken by both the Church and the rulers of the time to inhibit the development of the Crusade, even though their advisors had warned them that such an event would be detrimental to the well-being of both The Holy Roman Empire and the nation of France.
History provides no record of any of the participants of The Children's Crusade except to give the most basic of information about the two young leaders. Therefore it became necessary for me to fictionalize the main characters in order to tell the story in such a way that would give the reader a feel for the emotion behind the story of these children. To tell the story using only the historical records available would result in only a cold documentation of the event and such documentaries regarding The Children's Crusade are already available (brief and fleeting though they may be.)
The result is a book which will tell the reader how and why The Children's Crusade developed, what happened as the Crusade proceeded and what the end result was of those children who participated in the Crusade. This book will provide fascinating and intriguing reading for almost any reader.
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