Stephen is born of a noble family in the reign of Edward 2nd. He is aloof and sensitive and is repeatedly taunted by his brothers and suffers agonies for it. Regarded as good for nothing, his only friend is a puppy that he rescues for drowning. His father sends him off to a monastery at age 14. The pup is to be given to a ruthless man so Stephen has it butchered rather than imagine the dog ill—treated. In the monastery he sent to work for an elderly monk who has devoted his life and skill to illuminating mss. of the gospels. Hating it, he runs away and is eventually found by a knight who teaches him to fight and becomes the first person ever to see good in him and who tells him to thank God for making different and to be himself, not act a part. The knight is publicly beheaded for loyalty to Edward 2nd and Stephen is alone again. Eventually he joins a group of knights and becomes a great leader of men because his sensitivity in youth has enabled him to understand others. A young squire is apprenticed to him —everyone regards this squire as worthless but Stephen's perseverance and trust, often ill—founded, make the boy into a worthy squire — until he died os smallpox, and Stephen is alone again. After wars in Scotland and a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he decides to return to the monastery, not aged 26 and to devote his life to art (having drawn all his life while other boys were ought fighting and climbing trees) and the monk to whom he had been apprenticed is overjoyed — he's the most highly—skilled illuminator of mss. in Europe and he knew Stephen had talent but had never told him so for fear he'd be conceited and cease to strive for perfection and had rued the day Stephen had run away. A good book to place in the hands of aloof, shy and sensitive kids to help them to love themselves — but the era of chivalry might be too distant to interest them — though this distance might help them to accept the story as it is not too close to home and is, therefore, sufficiently remote to make its point without them feeling 'got at'.