Tuesday 5 March 2019

The Scarlet Cross - Liam N. Martin - Christendom Saga Book 1

The Scarlet Cross
Christendom Saga Book 1
Liam N. Martin
ISBN 9781544638591


First, I need to state that I was very impressed with this book. Before I picked it up to give a read, I had been informed that the author began writing this book at the age of 11 and he published it at 14. He is now nearly 16 and is working on the sequel. In many ways it reminds me of the historical fiction books on lesser known saints by Susan Peak. Like many when I was younger, I had a fascination with the crusades, the religious orders, of knights and chivalry. But I would never have imagined researching and writing a novel like this volume.  The description of the book is:

“In Twelfth Century Europe, which was divided by feudal warfare and threatened by the might of Islam in the east and the west, danger was always around the corner and fear loomed everywhere. Only by rooting himself in his courage and his faith can Karl hope to survive. This is a tale of bravery and fear, hope and despair, joy and sadness, victory and defeat. But above all it is a tale of heroism, created not only to remind the reader of the past, but to inspire them to greatness.”

Reading this book was like going back to my own youth and fascination with these topics. In this book we follow a young man as he leaves his how to study in his uncle’s house. He begins as a house page, then a squire and eventually a knight. It was a great read. The characters are very well developed and fleshed out. The world is well crafted and for the most part seems historically accurate. There is a theological statement I would challenge academically but it is an off-hand statement and does not detract from the story as a whole. But overall the story is very well written.

After the story there are two appendices. The first is a glossary of terms with a total of 38 terms. The second is a brief historical summary of:
On The Holy Roman Empire
On Knighthood and Feudalism
On Heraldry
On the Crusades
On the Byzantine Empire
On Richard I the Lion Hearted
On the Knights Templar, and the Knights of Saint John

I read a lot, since I started keeping track over 20 years ago I average well over 100 books a year, in fact just shy of 150 books a year. I have read a few books by younger authors. Of those I have read this is likely the second best. The only other I can think of is Kenneth Oppel, who published his first book at 18, but later published others he wrote when younger.

As such, I can state that this is a fantastic first effort. A great read for fans of historical fiction, or teen fiction. I love the mix of faith and actions. And actions directed by faith. It is a great read and effort by the author. I encourage you to pick it up and find yourself transported back in space and time and enter the Christendom Saga!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Liam N. Martin:
Christendom Saga Series:
The Scarlet Cross

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