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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Keeper of the Grail (The Youngest Templar #1) by Michael P. Spradlin

1191 A.D. The orphan Tristan has joined the Knights Templar as a squire, journeying with Richard the Lionheart on his crusade to free the Holy Land from the Saracens. As defeat looms near, Tristan is entrusted with the most sacred of Christian relics, the Holy Grail. He must return it safely to Britain, but he must also keep it secret, because the Grail’s power will drive men to madness, and even his fellow Knights Templar will kill for it. Tristan teams up with the fiery Robard Hode— returning to his home in Sherwood after serving with the King’s Archers—and Maryam, an equally fierce girl and a member of the dreaded Hashshashin. Together they must escape the Holy Land, dodging bandits, the forces of the Saladin, and unscrupulous knights who will stop at nothing to possess the Grail.

Keeper of the Grail is an amazing story. It definitely deserves its spot on my top five list. The story starts with Tristan. While fifteen year old Tristan was thankful that the monks took him in after he was abandoned, he thirsted for change. When Tristan least expects it, the change arrives in the form of Sir Thomas and his fellow Knights Templar. Through a page turning chapters (that I’m not going to tell you about) Tristan becomes Sir Thomas’ new squire. The knights (plus Tristan) resume their journey to Acre. On the way Tristan learns swordsmanship, war tactics, and the laws of duty.

After they arrive at Acre, they are presented with a problem: Al Hashshashin warriors (they either win or die trying). The Templar regimento of 2,000 didn’t even stand a chance against 6,000 assassins. After the walls of Acre were breached, the Templars decided to take a final stand at the crusader’s palace. Like the sands of a desert being changed by the wind; Tristan’s new life was tossed to chaos. Sir Thomas took Tristan to a secret passageway and told him to escape. However, there was one last order Tristan was to complete for his knight. He was to take the most sacred relic of all time to Scotland; The Holy Grail. As Sir Thomas locked him into the passageway, Tristan realized that it was Sir Thomas' dying wish. Along the journey, Tristan makes two loyal friends who become his traveling companions. But he keeps his burdened mission a secret, and it takes its toll.

At a jaw dropping ending the questions fly past your brain giving you milliseconds to think about them. How much longer can he lie? Or will he even live long enough to tell his tale?

This book is an absolute recommend.

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