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Pagan's Crusade (Pagan Chronicles #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  963 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Down on his luck and kicked in the pants one too many times, sixteen-year-old Pagan Kidrouk arrives on the doorstep of the Templar Knights in medieval Jerusalem, looking for work as a squire. He’s expecting only some protection from the seedier aspects of life on the street and a few square meals. Instead, Pagan finds himself hard at work for Lord Roland de Bram - an excit ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 2nd 2004 by Collins (first published 1992)
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Was highly recommended for 9yob & that general age group. Very disappointing. (It's not about a pagan, that's merely the main character's name:) Anyway, Pagan is an extremely saucy, disrespectful, sarcastic young man with a dirty mouth. Counted 10 swear words in the first 8 pages. That's as far as I got, and the kid won't be reading them! The profanity isn't even the most disturbing aspect, it's really the way he reacts to his elders. So disrespectful. I guess that's the thing these days (we ...more
Jul 26, 2008 Gloria rated it liked it
Recommended to Gloria by: Elizabeth
I enjoyed this book, but I think, because I was reading it with the belief that my ten-year old was going to read it after me, I was a bit put off by it---not quite what I think he should be reading (yet, that is; let's wait until tween-dom at least)...

That said, it is a fun read, and I turned to the second book immediately. Jinks has fashioned a wonderful way to view medieval times, and has created a world, albeit (I think) one still-waiting to be fleshed out characters such as Roland. I think
Amanda McCrina
Absolutely wonderful—a new favorite. Perfect for fans of Megan Whalen Turner or Katy Moran.
Diane Schirf
Pagan’s Crusade by Catherine Jinks. New York: Collins. 2004. 272 pages.

I learned about Pagan’s Crusade on a medieval history list, where a poster recommended it for young adults. Pagan, a 16-year-old product of war rape who arises from the grimy underbelly of 1187 Jerusalem, finds himself desperate to join the Knights Templar for both the money and protection from the lowlifes to whom he’s indebted. Life as a Templar squire won’t be easy, he’s told. “Lord Roland’s last squire was disemboweled by
Ryan B.
Apr 09, 2008 Ryan B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody
There are two main characters in this book. There names are Pagan Kidrouk and Lord Roland. Pagan Kidrouk was a thief, beggar, and a gambler before he joined the Order of the Temple. He is 16 years old and has no family or home. Lord Roland is a Templar in the Order of the Temple. As a Templar he is one of the leaders of the Order. Roland is a very wise and trustworthy person. In this book Pagan and Lord Roland work together to try and defeat the Infidels.

Pagan leaves his villain life behind an
Jan 06, 2011 Nathan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is about an Arab who accompanies a Crusader Knight to his hoem village. The Knight, Lord Roland Roucy De Bram's, family provided a lot of problems for the duo. They were confronted by a woman who was distraught because an Abbey-cleric assaulted one of their men. The woman cause Roland and Pagan, the protagonist, to go to the Abbey and confront the Abbot. The Abbot sent them away after refusing to accept the fact that one of his men might have done this. He sent Roland, the woman, and P ...more
Lady Knight
What a fantastic book! Catherine Jinks really knows how to bring Medieval Jerusalem and the Crusades to life! Pagan is a wonderful character that is neither utterly devout nor a heretic and always has something to say. His biting wit and sarcasm are hilarious and views on anything and everything are logical and yet terribly funny. Bravo!

Pagan is something of a street urchin who is in desperate need of money. He finds himself at the Knights Templar recruiting office, and before he knows it is a s
Sep 19, 2010 Riv rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pagan is awesomeness. I read Babylonne before the original quartet, and it's one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES!!! Since I read the companion first, I went back to the first book, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was hesitant to read this, because I thought Pagan was OLDER, after having read about his daughter, but he's only sixteen in this book.
The Voice: OMG, the VOICE!!! LOVE!!! Pagan/Catherine Jinks is hysterical. Every line was just incredible awesome. To quote/paraphrase: "'Don't worry, I have
Maybe I'm being overly critical of this book, but it was disappointing. The set-up was promising, the characters were interesting and unexpected, and I always enjoy a healthy dose of sarcasm...but the incomplete sentences and impressionistic style always kept me at a distance and, frankly, got on my nerves. This is the first in a series, and I was looking forward to seeing where it went - but I speed-read the last half of the book just to finish it. On the other hand, it's a funny, unconventiona ...more
ZaraS ~ reader/reviewer
I loved this little book. It was funny, sarcastic and very informative.

The book was talking about a boy called Pagan, who, unlike many people of the time, was able to read and write. He was placed under the supervision of a Lord who was a Templar.

This book brought to life, simply and easily, the life of The Knights Templar. I have a great fondness for The Knights Templar and this book allowed me to get an even better understanding of what The Knights Templar encountered and experienced.

It is wel
Lauri Saplad
I love the way Catherine Jinks writes! The character of Pagan was snarky, realistic, earthy -- very tongue and cheek. This is a YA story about a young orphan during the times of the Crusades. He was raised a Christian in a very strict Catholic orphanage and has very little love for the church and its many rules. He finds himself a squire for a Templar Knight in the middle of heated fighting, but still retains his survivor instinct as well as his sassy sense of humor. Wanna read the next one soon ...more
Feb 13, 2015 Josiphine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightfully irreverent. Pagan's sarcasm was very enjoyable, while also reminding me a little bit of Gen from Queen's Thief. I wish Roland's age would be have been mentioned earlier though--I spent half the book picturing him in his forties.
Dec 13, 2008 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the few YA novels I actually own, "Pagan's Crusade" blends Monty Python with the History Channel and comes up with a fun, brisk read full of wit.
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: This is one of those books that I can forgive the style of writing and enjoy the story because of the characters. It's not the best book I've ever read, but I did enjoy it a lot, and it was a good quick read, nice for a rainy afternoon.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I actually really like the artwork for the cover. I think it fits the voice of the book very well. It kind of makes me wish the artist had done some illustrations for the interior.

Characters: I loved Pagan. If it w
Jan 23, 2008 Calilibrarian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pagan's Crusade by Catherine Jinks

ANNNND I have in my hot little hands the sequel, Pagan in Exile. I was happy to find the fourth in the series ready to order for our teen collection. YIPEEE.

I know, I know, the influences of caffeine are upon me. sorry.


(schooling my features into some semblance of normalcy and respectability. Putting on the glasses and letting them slide down my nose. A glare out amongst you to quell any titters....then) aww forget it. Glasses go flying, hair slides from the
Feb 15, 2012 Jocke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a review/recommendation of books 1-4 of the Pagan Chronicles.

Hands down my favorite YA series. I discovered it back when I was in high school and have re-read it a couple times since; every time it still holds up in my opinion. The premise and cast are still fairly unique among the genre - our narrator is a teenaged Christian Arab boy named Pagan who becomes a squire for a righteous Frankish knight during the Crusades. Pagan is witty, intelligent and literate, all in stark contrast to mo
Jul 18, 2015 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Am I the only one in the World who didn't think this book was that great? If you look at the different reviews on Amazon, it doesn't get a single bad review. It apparently has even won awards. However, while I did laugh out loud several times while reading it, at the juvenile humour (Yes, I admit it), the non-literary, minimalist nature of the writers language-where speech is never attributed to anybody, and often occurs confusingly right in the middle of a description so you're forced to work o ...more
Jul 30, 2014 Av rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite being a prescribed text at university, Pagan's Crusade was an absolute pleasure to read. Jinks creates an accurate historical fiction that follows the adventures of Pagan, a page to one of the Knights Templar. Pagan is sardonic, cynical and intelligent, and this provides a necessary comic relief to the story when Jinks needs to deal with the more gritty elements of the 12th Century Jerusalem. Jinks' comedy is also reminiscent of Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder, which relied on class and educ ...more
Lisa Scott
The main draw here is Pagan himself, who is sarcastic in a way that is definitely anachronistic but so engaging that I couldn't bring myself to care. (See Catherine, Called Birdy, which I love, for another suspiciously modern main character in a medieval setting.)

I almost didn't pick this book up, since I was previewing it to use with my sixth graders and it is judged as fourth grade level by two reading systems I checked. This is probably is due to the writing style-- lots of short sentences,
I picked this up because of its cover. The illustration appears to be done by the same person who did the covers of one of my favorite fantasties by Patricia Wrede. And the story didn't disappoint. This author actually has a similar sense of humor to Wrede, except it doesn't reside in a Practical Princess of a made-up Enchanted Forest. In Pagan's Crusase, Pagan is a squire for the Knights Templar in 12th century Jerusalem. This is an episode in history that I haven't read a lot about, and the ri ...more
May 22, 2012 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Pagan's Crusade (the 1st in the Pagan Chronicles) by Catherine Jinks is an excellent book. Aimed at young people, it appealed to me also, and I believe would be enjoyed by a wide range of readers.
I really love the character of Pagan - a young Arab boy who joins the Templars to escape from some people who are after him for money. His inner monologue is consistently sarcastic and becomes even funnier when put together with his outwardly humble and respectful verbal responses.
Having heard Cathy t
Andrea Myers
Jan 27, 2016 Andrea Myers rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction is not a genre that gets me frothing at the mouth but considering I’ve been spreading my wings a little more in concerns to my reading comfort zones I thought I would give the Pagan Chronicles a visit. I’ll admit the title is what grabbed my attention while scrolling through E-book lists. My expectations based on the word ‘Pagan’ resulted in me being almost immediately disappointed as it’s just the name of the protagonist and the novel itself is about Medieval Jerusalem and th ...more
I pulled this book off the library shelf because it was pretty. I am glad that I did. The narrator (Pagan) was funny and snarky (sometimes too snarky so as to lose me when he went on a sarcastic train of thought). Pagan showed himself to have a good heart and through his own perceptions of his master, he painted a picture of respected but burdened leader. I have much appreciation for how the author toed the line by showing both the rank hypocrisy of many involved in the Crusades and the genuine ...more
Feb 04, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-read. I first stumbled across the Pagan Chronicles when I was a teenager, and I remember reading the first three books in the series ove a single weekend whilst visiting my grandparents when I was no more than 15yo.

It was this series that introduced me to history and historical-fiction. It was the series that began an obsession with the Middle Ages, the Crusades and the Cathars that has continued to this day.

I wasnt disappointed reading this for a second time. I was a little worri
Sophie Yorkston
Aug 19, 2014 Sophie Yorkston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
It's been a long time since I read this book, but I can remember the banter and unique voice of Pagan Kidrouk (our guide and narrator) like it was yesterday.

Between Pagan's hilarious remarks and internal banter, the camaraderie between a mischevious and lewd street boy and a Templar knight of aristocratic origins, and the oppression of being caught in Jerusalem in the middle of the Crusades, this book is riddled with laughs and tension in all the right places.

Even re-reading passages as an adul
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Pagan Kidrouk turns to the Templar Knights for work as a squire. He's had some trouble and needs their protection. He goes to work for Lord Roland, right as Saladin brings his army into Jerusalem.

This is a medieval character you haven't seen before, clever, witty, sarcastic, and all his clever, witty, sarcastic thoughts brought to the page if not to the ears of his much less clever and less witty listeners. Roland is quite the opposite, salt-of-the-earth, serious, and, sadly, illiterate. The two
Mar 10, 2012 Cathleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Was this one of the worst books I've ever read? No, but it wasn't much of anything. I can see what the author was trying to do, but, frankly, she wasn't successful. Neither her authority as a "medieval scholar" nor her self-professed inspiration by Monty Python translates to solid storytelling or even to an enjoyable pastime. The modified stream-of-consciousness style is awkward, and the frequent parenthetical thoughts -- intended to be snarky and funny -- are simply annoying. I may not be the t ...more
Lauren Kozilski
Pagan is a typical teenage boy in that he's constantly doing whatever authority figures explicitly tell him NOT to do. The fact that this book is set in the time of the Crusades adds to the novelty for me, and is part of the reason why I read it.

I'm not sure exactly what it was about this book that failed to capture me, but I had to force myself into reading the last few chapters. It tried too hard at points, and I found the Templar Knight (Pagan's master) confusing and waaaay too chivalrous, e
Jan 11, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have loved the Pagan Chronicles for more years than I care to admit.

While this is a much easier read now that it was X years ago (Which one should hope when re-reading a young-adult novel much later in life) it is still a thoroughly entertaining and educational read. Catherine Jinks has minutely researched this period of history, and while there are a couple of passages where this feels a little over-emphasised, by and large it's simply a detailed and colourful back-drop to the adventure.

May 02, 2014 Kirsti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
That...took me forever to read. Partly it was buying a heap of awesome books the day I started this, but it was also this book. I went in with zero knowledge of this period in time, assuming a YA novel would give me a gentle introduction. It's heavy in history, but most references shot above my head. I am fairly certain people don't think 'Christ in a cream cheese sauce' ever, throughout history.

This was an impulse buy when I was low on books (ha, I'm never really that low on books, but I was a
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Catherine Jinks is the Australian author of more than thirty books for all ages. She has garnered many awards, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award(three times), the Victorian Premier’s Award, the Aurealis Award for Science Fiction, the Australian Ibby Award, and the Davitt Award for Crime Fiction. Her work has been published in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, ...more
More about Catherine Jinks...

Other Books in the Series

Pagan Chronicles (4 books)
  • Pagan in Exile (Pagan Chronicles, #2)
  • Pagan's Vows (Pagan Chronicles, #3)
  • Pagan's Scribe (Pagan Chronicles, #4)

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“I mean who the hell do you think you are, exactly? Saint Roland of the Perpetual Martyrdom?” 7 likes
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