In this story of the crusades, Charlotte M. Yonge, author of “The Little Duke,” and “The Heir of Redclyffe”, invents a page for Prince Edward of England, shortly after the battle of Evesham in 1265.

The page is the youngest son of Simon of Monfort, Earl of Leicester, which makes for interesting tricks and turns in the story, as the loyalty of the page is called into account during the crusades to Tunis after the death of St Louis IX (1270), and again in Acre, Palestine, in 1272.

Although Yonge has taken some liberties with the story, she clearly lists her sources of historical fact at the beginning of the book, leaving us in no doubt which areas are fact and which are fancy. This is a courtesy much appreciated by the young readers of my household.

I found this an interesting read myself, it was enjoyed by my 11yr old daughter, but wasn’t much of a success as a read aloud. The man of the house pronounced it “too Catholic”, and the little girls found too many characters to keep track of at the beginning of the story.

Overall, I would consider it a worthwhile addition to your library if you enjoy history and adventure, tales of loyalty and friendship, and don’t mind the slightly heavier language of the times.

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