Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Youngest Templar

Storyline - Book 1 - Keeper of the Grail - Tristan is an orphan with no knowledge of his past living at St. Alban's when a group of Templars stay for the night and one of them asks him to be his squire. When he accepts, Tristan is in for training and fighting in the Third Crusade in the Holy Land with Richard III. But, when the town they are in is under siege and about to be taken, Tristan's knight, Sir Thomas, sends him on one last duty. He entrusts to him the Holy Grail and tells him to deliver it to Scotland. On his way, Tristan meets up with an archer, Robard Hode, and an assassin, Maryam, who help him. He also has an enemy on his trail, Sir Hugh, who wants the Grail. At any cost.

Book 2 - Trail of Fate - Tristan washes up on the shores of France and meets a group of Cathars, and their leader Celia, who are in trouble with some powerful men. Tristan has to decide if he can help them and still guard the Grail. Especially with Sir Hugh on his trail and a new enemy lurking a head.

Book 3 - Orphan of Destiny - England at last! This should be easy for the three travelers, right? No. England is under heavy taxes by Prince John who is ruling the kingdom. Sir Hugh is still on the trail. And, if that isn't enough, Tristan is hurt. On their way, they are met with even more difficulties, such as the Sheriff of Nottingham who is taxing Robard's home harshly and hurting its people. Will they ever make it to there destination in Scotland with all the things standing in the way ansd Sir Hugh appearing at every corner to take the Grail? And will the answers to Tristan's birth and family be answered when everyone seems to know about it but him?

Author - Michael P. Spradlin

Age Group - 12 and up

Positive - "Honor, duty, and sacrifice" (Orphan of Destiny, Chap. 38, Pg. 252) is not only the Templar morals but also the theme with in the series. When Tristan and Robard are attacked by the Assassins and one gets hurt, Robard has every intention of killing him but Tristan is willing to sacrifice himself to save a defenseless man, even one who just tried to kill him. Tristan stays true to his knight and friends, even when they go and get themselves in trouble. Tristan is willing to give any thing for the safety of his friends. Robard is a caring and protective character even with his hot head and vengeful spirit, who would do anything for his friends. Robard has a chance to kill the man he feels killed his father but lets him go. Maryam is the voice of reason and can get to what is troubling someone. She also is someone they group can depend on is sticky situations and is willing to listen and give support when needed. The dog, Angel, is a pretty neat character as well.

Negative - Robard is very hot headed and vengeful. He tries to kill someone who just tried to kill him and Tristan even though they are unarmed and defenseless. He also has every intention to kill the man he feels responsible for killing his father and making his mother's life difficult. Tristan has had enough of Sir Hugh and him endangering his friends and feels the only way to get the knight to stop is to kill him. Tristan kills in rage and anger once. There were some sware words in book two.

Finish - A series I heartily enjoyed over the last couple of years as they came out one by one. I also enjoyed the endings (cliffhangers). I also like the end of this series which is always an important thing for me and, if any more stories can be told about Tristan and his friends, I would love to read them. Sword fights, chase scenes, and good writing and morals bring this book together for a great read which will make you want to know what happens next. Recommend to anyone who loves adventure and/or books placed in a historical setting. A great series worth the time to read.

Links - Learn more about the series at: http://theyoungesttemplar.com/

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Homelanders Series

Storyline - Book 1 - The Last Thing I Remember - Charlie West is an average teenager: Goes to school, has a crush on a girl, wants to join the air force, and is a black belt in karate. But one night, after going to sleep in his own bed, he wakes up strapped to a chair being torchered by a group of terrorists by the name of the Homelanders. Not only that, a year of his life is gone and he can't remember what happened. Also, (as if the above stuff wasn't enough) he is convicted of a murder of an old friend.

Book 2 - The Longest Way Home - Charlie's home and trying to figure out what happened. But when his friends insist on helping out, it might be more than any of them can chew.

Book 3 - Charlie finally finds a man by the name of Waterman who is some how connected to his past. But when Waterman says he has to chain Charlie to a chair and give him an injection that will be painful, how it Charlie to know if he is on his side? Or is he another enemy? And what exactly is hidden in his memory? And how far behind are the Homelands?

Author - Andrew Klavan

Age Group - 15 and up (at least in high school because of at least one mature situation in book 1)

Positive - Charlie tries to do the right thing and find out the truth, even if that truth is not what he wants. He looks out for his friends and is trusting in his faith. In book 1, a women is being attacked and Charlie intervenes to protect her, even though he doesn't even know her. At the end of book 1, he tries to help someone else and gets himself accused as a bad guy. He looks after others before himself. When Charlie is sick, the woman who's house Charlie broken into cares for him even though he broke and entered, showing she was willing to help someone who needed it even though they did wrong.

Negative - Like stated before, a woman is attacked in book 1 but it is not graphic or detailed but makes the book in appropriate for anyone below high school (I just don't think a younger person should be exposed to the idea). Charlie has doubts at least once and feels God tells him "he has no where to go" which is quite hopeless and not something God would say. But Charlie does come back from that and I think he knows God didn't abandon him. He brakes into a house and eats someone else's food but does leave them money.

Finish - Fascinating and original storyline and idea. As one person said (I can't remember who or where I read this) but these books is The Fugitive and The Bourne Identity mixed together. I have to agree with that assessment. It can move a little slow and things can be repeated more than they have to but the books leave you wanting to know what happens next.

Links - You can learn more about the series at: http://www.thehomelanders.com/index.php and at: http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/

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