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Lionheart's Scribe – Novel Study Activity Guide
by Karleen Bradford
This novel, the third in the Crusade Trilogy, takes place between 1190 and 1192, during the time of the Third Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from Muslim rule. Matthew is an orphaned fifteen-year-old scribe who is crippled by a club foot. Life in Messina, Sicily, holds no joy for him. Instead, he faces endless servitude to a cruel master. Matthew puts his strengths of character - curiosity, intelligence, determination, and the ability to communicate with animals - to use for himself and becomes a stable boy on one of Richard the Lionheart's warships bound for Jerusalem. His loyalty is rewarded when he becomes one of the king's scribes and is allowed to ride at Richard's side in battle. As his importance to Richard increases, Matthew rejoices in his newfound powers. He soon learns, however, that with power comes having to make decisions that challenge one's conscience. Matthew comes to realize that Muslims and Christians share similar religious beliefs and hopes that with the Three Year Truce the two groups will learn t share a peaceful Holy Land
Ms. Bradford's novel makes one realize the futility of war. It teaches that no one ever wins because of all the destruction and loss of innocent lives on both sides. It also questions how people who share the same biblical history and belief in God can come to war over a land that should belong to both.
This novel lends itself well to current events.
For more information on the novel, please visit the author's website.