Two boys from two cultures are at the heart of this wonderful work from this first class author. Rich in hostorical setting, we see the crusades through the eyes of an Arabic boy who works for a Jewish doctor, as well as a peasant boy from England eagre to earn the indulgence from the pope to work off his mother's lack of confession to a priest on her deathbed.
Elizabeth Laird does a wonderful job of creating a sense of place in this narrative, and I found myself imagining all the hot arid dustiness, the filth and disease as well as the mre salubrious settings for this book. She also spends a lot of time on the history, and to my inexpert but not totally uninformed point of view, it all seemed spot on.
None of that would matter if the story was lifeless though. Fortunately this book delivers on that score too, and was enjoyable, with plenty to keep the reader interested, including treachery, love, battles and such like. It was perhaps not the best story I have ever read, and for that reason I give it 4 stars. The target young adult audience can enjoy this book very much, but not all would necessarily make their way through it. All the same it rewards everyone who does, being a great story that finishes well and good history too.
Just occasionally I felt that modern attitudes maybe coloured the thought processes of the characters in the books - but that would probably help young adults to enjoy it, rather than hindering.