It is the time of the Third Crusade. Richard, the Lionheart, known to all as 'the absent King' sits upon the throne. In a quiet corner of England, Tristan, a young orphan boy raised by the monks of St. Alban's Abbey, dreams of a life of adventure and more importantly to discover the truth about his mysterious past.
When a group of Knights Templar stops at the Abbey to rest for the evening, Tristan is offered a chance to become the squire of Sir Thomas Leux. Realizing this is a chance to have the adventure he seeks, Tristan agrees and Sir Thomas trains him in the ways of a knight.
Months later, with Sir Thomas in the Holy Land, Tristan and his comrades are besieged in the city of Acre. When the city is about to fall, Sir Thomas gives Tristan one last order. Return the Holy Grail, the most sacred relic in all of Christendom, to England for safekeeping. Tristan escapes the city by secret passage and sets off to fulfill his promise to Sir Thomas.
But every duty has a price. Along the way Tristan will make both friends and enemies and will be relentlessly pursued by Sir Hugh Montfort, an evil and cowardly knight who will stop at nothing to possess the Grail.
Tristan, orphan and newbie Templar, sets off on an adventure to learn who he really is. A familiar enough premise, but pulled off with a strong voice and likable characters. I found the similar but different theme stretched a little far with 'Robard Hode' and 'Maryam' who turn up later in the story, but their genuinely funny characters made their names forgivable. Tristan was by far my favourite character. I appreciated his honesty, innate chivalry and the way that he didn't shy away from hard work. Unfortunately, just as I was beginning to like him, I hit the end of the book with a voilent thump, licked my wounds and began wondering where the next volume was.
Coming soon, I am told. I hope so! This book has a mother of all cliff hangars on the final page and really must be read with the sequel readily to hand.
Now to distract myself while I wait for 'Trail of Fate' to arrive.
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"Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)