Tristan, a boy who has been raised by monks, leaves the abbey to become squire to Sir Thomas, a Templar knight. Templars are knights who are sworn to serve God, and do not serve any particular king.
Set during the third crusade, Tristan and Sir Thomas leave England for the Holy Land. The Holy Land is being overrun with Saracens, or Muslims; King Richard the Lionheart requested the help of the Templar knights, who readily agreed.
However, during a final battle for the city of Acre, the Templars can not stand against the Saracens; when Sir Thomas realizes that all is lost, he leads Tristan to a secret passage and gives him the Holy Grail, which has been kept hidden for years without anyone knowing of it’s existence.
Tristan leaves the battlefield, with orders to return North to Scotland, where he is to give the Holy Grail to a priest who will know what to do with it.
Along the way, Tristan joins up with Robard and Maryam, who help him fend off Saracens, the Kings’s guards, Assassins (who are the fiercest tribe of natives in the Holy Land), the Archbishop of France, a power-hungry Templar knight who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Grail, and King Richard himself!
This trilogy was really great, telling of Tristan’s long journey to Scotland. I was really locked into the book, and couldn’t tear myself away. The sword fighting scenes were the best, and were very believable. I also liked the mystery, for Tristan’s origins are unknown.
I did have several problems with the story though; things that were left unsaid. I did not like how little is known about Maryam, and she seems perfectly happy to go along with them as they leave her native land headed North. No one questions the fact that she is a girl Assassin, or that she is Muslim, which never comes up at all.
I also felt like there was a large part in the second book that could have been left out, involving a mix-up with Cathars that seemed totally unnecessary.
I did not care for the fact that the Grail is said to have magic powers; because it is a Christian relic, this doesn’t make any sense at all.
All in all, I really liked the book, even though some of it bothered me; I would most definitely mention to anyone that if you get the books from the library, get them all at once! One book blends into another, with cliffhangers at the end of each one. Most of it was really well written, and I liked that it wasn’t too slow at the beginning; things really sped up quick.
If you liked The Rangers Apprentice, this is definitely up your alley!
Overall Rating: 4/5
Violence: 6/10 (lots of sword fighting, archery, wars; most did not describe a lot, but there were wounds that made me cringe)
Language: 2/10 (one word is said throughout the book that seems to be the medieval version of a mild bad word today)
Inappropriateness/Romance: 2/10 (more of a crush)
Audience: Ages 10 and up