The Scarlett Cross
“I spoke the truth,” [Stephen] said. “I will keep the promises I made.” He kept his voice steady, kept his eyes fixed onto Renard’s, but with the coming of darkness, the fire that had filled him in the church when he preached was flickering. The certainty that had overwhelmed him began to crumble. It was as if the shadows of the night were entering his heart and chilling it. Could he really keep his vow to this boy? He looked again at the younger ones. The sense of responsibility flooded back over him tenfold. He could not desert them like he had deserted his sheep.
The Scarlet Cross, prequel to Karleen Bradford’s novel Angeline (Stellar Award nominee in 2006/2007) tells the tale of Stephen of Cloyes, the shepherd boy who leads the Children’s Crusade of 1212. History comes to life in this account of the Crusades from a young boy’s perspective. Called by God to restore the Holy Land, Stephen is compelled to put aside his insecurities and family troubles to lead thousands of children across France to accomplish what so far has proven impossible. Hardship and loss along the way, as well as the development of Stephen’s character, add detail and reality to this novel of a truly terrifying time.