Acre's Bastard by Wayne Turmel. Published by Achis Press 2018 (2nd Ed.) 298 pages. I purchased this book from Amazon.com in e-book format. It is also available in paperback. The opinions contained in this review are my own.
The Plot in brief:
Acre's Bastard is the tale of 10 year old Lucca Le Pou, an orphan boy who lives with a foot in two worlds. His father was a Frankish knight, his mother a Syrian Muslim. The year is 1187 and the Christian's have a tenuous hold on the Holy Land. Lucca is cared for by the monastic military order known as the Order of the Knights of St. John, or the Hospitallers for short. A spunky mischievous boy, he leads a band of like-minded ragamuffins through the raucous streets of Acre. Lucca's life takes a dramatic turn when he is taken in by a mysterious man he knows as Marco, a knight from the Order of St. Lazarus. Together their adventure's take a serious turn as Saladin the great Muslim leader threatens the Christians hold on Acre and Jerusalem.
I don't normally read books whose main character is a child. I have to admit, Lucca sucked me in within a few pages. Lucca is smart, plucky, observant, brave and a survivor, but at his core he is still a child with a child's need for love and protection. His character is well drawn and believable. He remains true to character throughout the book. Lucca's buddies are multi-dimensional and endearing each in their own way. Marco, the mysterious Knight of Lazarus remained a mystery to me, I am still not sure of his motives, but I found myself cheering him on.
It is clear from the start that Wayne Turmel knows his history. I felt completely immersed in the 12th century. From the dusty hot streets of Acre to the luxurious tent of Count Raymond of Tripoli to the desert scene of the Battle of Hattin, I felt I was present in the book, looking through Lucca's eyes at his chaotic world. I never felt that anything was off or had one of those 'that never happened' moments. As a lover of history, it was a joy to read.
I thought the book was very well written; kudos to his proof readers and editor. The pacing fit the story perfectly, zipping along, never dragging. The action was almost nonstop and I was never bored or tempted to skip ahead. The dialogue was believable, written without a forced vernacular.
The book is a great read for lovers of history, lovers of action stories and those who enjoy a more youthful main character. No previous knowledge of the Crusades required! I highly recommend Acre's Bastard and give it five stars! I look forward to reading Part 2 of Lucca's story, Acre's Orphans also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapters.
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