Just a quick synopsis of a young adult book I recently finished. It's first in a trilogy, second is out in pb & the third one comes out next month. Naturally I've lost my notes & therefore my mind, so I'm stuck with whatever I can remember (which usually isn't much).
Blood Red Horse by K. M. Grant an adventure laden coming of age tale set in late 12th century England & Jerusalem. Two brothers, Gavin & Will, set off with their benign & negligent dad to Crusade in the Holy Land, restoring control of Christ's country to the rightful Christians. Their father's ward, Eleanor (Ellie), is left behind at the mercy of Constable de Scabious (who turns out to be as horrible as his name). Will's beloved stallion Hosanna, what a great name for a horse BTW!, goes along and has more adventures all by himself than one would think possible. Young Kalim, an orphaned Muslim under the care of Sultan Saladin himself, proves to be a troubled but sometimes compassionate leader who is fated to love Hosanna as much as Will. Meantime, Ellie gets tutored, on the sly, in reading and ends up in serious trouble as a result. Naturally, Will and Gavin return barely in time to save the day.
I really enjoyed this first volume in the de Granville trilogy, the next one is titled Green Jasper and sits in the library pile waiting its turn. BRH is intense and dark, but also more true to history & (hopefully) less biased against Muslims than many other historical fiction novels, regardless of audience. Some of the early scenes with Hosanna are heartbreaking a la Black Beauty & I really struggled to like Gavin through the entire book. Kalim I liked & understood, but Gavin struck me as an overindulged whiner whose daddy ought to have disciplined more than he did. There are hints at the end, though, that Gavin will change quite a bit as the trilogy moves on.