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mogal
11.3.09, 1:59 PM
This series is such sheer fun that I read it straight through. My husband loved it also.

Pagan's Crusade: In which we meet Pagan in the year 1187 in the city of Jerusalem. Pagan is a sixteen-year-old street urchin, an Arab Christian who desperately seeks employment with the Templar Knights and is hired as squire to Lord Roland Roucy de Bram, a perfect knight. Pagan's irreverent attitude is a perfect foil for Roland, who takes his knightly duties very seriously, including protecting the Christian pilgrims, who are depicted as overeager tourists in a screamingly funny chapter.

Pagan's Exile: After the fall of Jerusalem, Pagan accompanies Lord Roland to his family home in Languedoc. Pagan is shocked at the brutish behavior of Roland's family, which is engaged in multiple feuds. Following an atrocious criminal act and a tragic death, Roland discards his sword forever and vows to serve God as a monk. Pagan of course joins him.

Pagan's Vows: Pagan doesn't fit into monastic life very well. He is bullied and horrified by acts of corrruption by church officials. But he also receives a very surprising opportunity.

Pagan's Scribe: The first three novels are narrated by Pagan. The last is narrated by Isadore, a young church cleric. Twenty years have passed and Pagan is now Archdeacon of Carcassonne. The Pope and King of France have declared war on Cathar heretics and Pagan is trying to prevent genocide. Isadore is not as compelling a narrator as Pagan, but is a very effective outside observer of the deep devotion between Pagan and Roland. The ending may bring a tear or two.

Jinks writes for children, but I don't think I would recommend these for anyone under about twelve. For one thing it is helpful to know something about the Crusades and life in medieval Europe. Also there are adult themes concerning religion and intolerance and a few sexual references. People who enjoy Harry Potter should enjoy Pagan.