Knight's Fee by Rosemary Sutcliff
Knight's Fee is perfect, but only if you need a cure for insomnia or would like to commit reader's suicide. After one unlucky moment involving a dropped apple, a mere dog-boy Randal finds himself being dragged to a cruel whipping. The visiting minstrel spared him, changed his luck and secured a new life for Randal in a new village. In his new home, Randal had to make friends with Bevis, then learn to be a good squire. The reader watches Randal advance from a mere dog-boy to a land-owning knight, but not without witnessing the twisted motives and heartache caused by society's desire to advance ranks. Rosemary Sutcliff has definitely done her research of the medieval time period thoroughly, which is all too evident in her detail-filled yet snail-paced and frequently interrupted plot. The historic details could have been very interesting if she had not flooded my brain immediately with famous names that did not influence the plot in even the slightest degree. Accompanying a British history course, this book would be a great supplemental tool to add cultural details, but only after a thorough debriefing on political goings-on of medieval Britain.