Two boys, two faiths, one unholy war—two boys from opposing worlds come face to face in a thought-provoking historical adventure.
When Adam’s mother dies unconfessed, he pledges to save her soul with dust from the Holy Land. Employed as a dog-boy for the local knight, Adam grabs the chance to join the Crusade to reclaim Jerusalem. He burns with determination to strike down the infidel enemy. Salim, a merchant’s son, is leading an uneventful life in the port of Acre—until news arrives that a Crusader attack is imminent. To keep Salim safe, his father buys him an apprenticeship with an esteemed traveling doctor. But Salim’s employment leads him to the heart of Sultan Saladin’s camp—and into battle against the barbaric and unholy invaders.
This is the first time I’ve ever read a book about the crusades, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I figured that there would be a lot of fighting, and probably an awkward friendship between Salim and Adam at some point. However, this book was so much more. It had such an interesting story and although it had some faults, I really enjoyed it.
The story switches between Salim and Adam, and so it shows two very different perspectives of the crusades. I really liked seeing the differences between the way they viewed the crusade and also their opinion about their enemies. Seeing similarities in their lives was also interesting, like when they both arrived at their respective camps. What I wasn’t as keen on was the fact that this book starts out quite slowly. Things happen but not much happens plot-wise until about half way through, where things speed up considerably and get a whole lot more exciting. So, I definitely preferred the second half of this book.
The characters themselves were great to get to know. Although I enjoyed reading about Salim’s story more than Adam’s, both had an interesting story to tell and there was plenty of characater development, especially after the two of them met. The scenes which had both of them in were probably my favourites, because it showed them starting to see each other as normal people and not just the enemy.
This book has a lot of important messages about war and religion, and I think it’s one of those books that everybody should read.