"Sir Jean of Acre is an amazingly detailed historical novel about a youth,Jean, who grows up to become a Knight Templar, one of those renowned knights who guards the Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land of Jerusalem.  The story begins when Jean is a boy, rescuing his younger brother from some boyhood mishap.  Through this mishap, we see the kind of man Jean will become, and we meet his parents.  His mother, Eleanor, is very against the Knights Templar, for she believes her husband still wishes to be a Knight, and is very fearful of losing him to the order again.  Jean's father, Geoffrey, was a novice, who gave up becoming a knight to marry Eleanor.  Jean has heard tales of his father's deeds from friends and servants, and has decided to enter the order as soon as he is able.  His mother swears she will disown him if he does, but he leaves anyway.  From there, the book delves into how Jean becomes a Knight, and travels to Acre, and watches the 'infidels' re-take the Holy Land in a vicious religious war.

Jean is a very sympathetic character that is easy to read about.  His nobility lies not only in his birth, but also in his personality.  He wants only to be the best Knight he can be, and in achieving that goal, carves a rich tale in a harsh land.  The struggle for the Christian Knights to keep their tiny hold on the 'Holy Land' is a fascinating one, and creates a violent backdrop for the story.

This is an amazingly well written book.  I can't imagine the stacks of research,and the traveling Ms.  Schrader must have gone through in order to know the various lands she describes so well.  I rate this book a 5 out of five stars as one of the single best historical novels I have ever read."

Kara Wolf , simgen.com

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