Tuscany, 1096 AD. Luca, young heir to the title of Conte de Falconi, sees demons. Since no one else can see them, Luca must keep quiet about what he sees.
Luca also has dreams—dreams that sometimes predict the future. Luca sees his father murdered in one such dream and vows to stop it coming true. Even if he has to go against his father’s wishes and follow him on the great pilgrimage to capture the Holy Lands.
When Luca is given an ancient book that holds some inscrutable power, he knows he’s been thrown into an adventure that will lead to places beyond his understanding. But with the help of Suzan, the beautiful girl he rescues from the desert, he will realize his true quest: to defeat the forces of man and demon that wish to destroy the world. ~Goodreads Blurb
Another era that one doesn’t see as much of in Historical YA fiction, the Crusades. I suppose that may be because it wasn’t a very glamorous time. Say what you want about those Tudors, and I have, but you can’t say they weren’t elaborate. Very few people have written intriguing YA fiction about the Crusades, more often the story tend to focus on those left behind, and the struggles they have to overcome having their loved ones so far away. Robin Hood and the like are definitely what comes to mind when I think of that time period. Of course you have to remember that there were more than one Crusade and they all ended in different states of disarray for either sides.
Author Kimberley Starr has taken a unique approach to this book. The boy who sees demons has a unique voice that leaves the read almost uncomfortable and uneasy while at the same time drawing you in to see what sort of chaos this boy’s life will unwind to be. The female counterpoint has her own struggles and it leaves me torn between these broken children to see who I feel for more. The tone has a more defined change once these characters meet and their adventures unfold. The fantasy elements become more heavily added once they meet. Besides an annoying tendency towards unfounded jealousy, our lead characters are well thought out and play their roles to an excellent finish, though the Big Bad battle scene was smaller than I would prefer. I would recommend this book as an excellent starter towards Crusade historical fiction. With its fantasy elements distracting and at times almost excusing the actions of the Crusaders as simple possession, the story can get a bit gory and yet somehow it quickly moves on to new locations. Starr has done a great job of combining important historical characters with her own twist on history to create this fantasy rich tapestry of the past.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing in exchange for honest feedback**
Freelance Editor & Reviewer