This unusual background story has much to recommend it, but many younger readers will find it rather stilted and mannered in style, and not easy reading. It is a story of the Crusades- and opens with the siege of Antioch and 16-year-old Philip of Clareville despairing of his fortunes. Orphaned and penniless and stranded, he finds a friend in a friar, and through his advice, gains admission to the service of one of the Crusade leaders, Lord Bohemund. Ability and ambition help him upward fast and he plays a vital part in the capture of the city. Good history in the picture of internal conflicts and the problems of wars waged far from home. The author's illustrations are uneven- good spots and decorative headings, and inferior full pages.