Conrad, protagonist of this buoyant little tale, leaves home in Coblenz to journey down the Rhine to help his father trade at the Nurmberg Fair. The story is set in 1214, when robber barons ruled the Rhineland. Conrad and his father are joined in their dangerous venture by a knight, Sir Rupert. Matilde, Conrad's betrothed, has vanished after joining the Children's Crusade. The boy's ordeals with the robber barons and his search for Matilde keep action moving rapidly and give a good account of knighthood and the feudal system with a charming description of the Rhineland of the Middle Ages. Despite the plot, which is nothing more than a link of cliche situations, it's a readable, informative story told in appropriate language and set in large type.