THE LAND BEYOND by Ruth Adams Knight
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A tale of the Children's Crusade with its horrors and perverted spiritual values given full cognizance in a story of David, boy of the Swiss Alps. Born of an English knight and a French Girl, David remembered his father's return from the 2nd Crusade, broken and disillusioned, and his subsequent death. But childhood memories dimmed, and when David visited Germany in his impressionable adolescence, he was captivated by the words of Nicholas, the boy monk. Despite his mother's pleadings, her heretical claim that the Crusades were not worth their toll of misery, he joins the throng of children in their trek over the St. Bernard Pass. Their journey proves a combination of ghastly experience and uplifting spirituality. David throws in his lot with Ede, a blind girl; together they suffer discomforts, peril of death, cold, the wiles of the tricky Genoese merchants who play on their misery, and finally David's capture and horrible imprisonment. When Ede regains her sight at the Holy Spulchre, there seems some kernel of good in the Christian mission. David is held in Genoa, and there makes his own mental pilgrimage. His eyes are opened to the evils of ignorance; his faith is confirmed by the good in increased human understanding; he returns, jubilant, determined to become a monk. The reader must take issue with himself; do the means justify the ends? Masterful portrayal and challenging reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1954
Publisher: Whittlesey-McGraw-Hill