Book: The Book of the Lion

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The Book of the Lion

Author: Michael Cadnum
Publisher: Puffin Books

Edmund, an apprentice, is seized by the king’s men and thrown in jail for his master’s crime of counterfeiting. Then Edmund is unexpectedly released into the custody of Sir Nigel, a knight in search of a squire. Edmund will train as a squire and accompany the knight on a journey to fight alongside Richard the Lionheart on the Crusades. As they travel across Europe, Edmund is fascinated by all he sees, but he fears for his safety in the days that lie ahead. How can he possibly prepare for the untold horrors of war? “This is a pulse-pounding tale, vivid and visceral.” -Booklist

“Fans of history and adventure will devour this well-crafted, dramatic quest.”


“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

Barnes and Noble

In twelfth-century England, after his master, a maker of coins for the king, is brutally punished for alleged counterfeiting, 17-year-old Edmund finds himself traveling to the Holy Land as squire to a knight crusader on his way to join the forces of Richard Lionheart. This sweeping medieval epic from the acclaimed author of Rundown, Heat, and In a Dark Wood, will be devoured by fans of history and adventure, alike.

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