The setting for this story is the Children’s Crusade of 1212, when thousands of children were released by their parents to follow 12-year-old Nicholas of Cologne on a crusade to Jerusalem. The group is largely dependent on the generosity of the townspeople as they travel through small hamlets and larger cities preparing to cross the Alps.
Illness, accidents and other misfortunes plague the group as it makes its arduous trek through the mountains. When they reach Genoa, the crusade fails and the story continues to follow the three main characters. Hugo, Simon and Elizabeth, teens who each have their own reasons for following Nicholas: searching for faith, forgiveness, or adventure.
As with most quests, there is much heartache along the way as the friends are separated by death, slavery and tragic circumstances. Though this is not marketed as a historical novel (the genre is Christian fiction) the extensive research that went into the writing of this novel makes it ring true to this particular period of history.
Caron Guillo is a former world history teacher from Texas, who became interested in the Children’s Crusades and chose this setting for her book. She has crafted a story that is gripping and emotional.
I met Caron at an event introducing this book, so I have one of the early editions. Since that day, An Uncommon Crusade has won the 2011 Next Generation Indie Award for Religious Fiction and received a new cover design. This novel is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Read more about Caron Guillo at her website www.caronguillo.com