Keeper of the Grail (Youngest Templar Series #1)

Keeper of the Grail (Youngest Templar Series #1)

by Michael P. Spradlin


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As an orphan, Tristan never dreamed he would travel the world or discover the truth about his past. But all that changes when the Knights Templar ride through the abbey on their way to battle. Suddenly, Tristan finds himself as a squire to one of the most respected knights. While exciting, it is also dangerous, as Tristan gets caught between rival knights desperate for power and entrusted with the most sacred relic-the Holy Grail. With the help of a young archer and a deadly warrior, can Tristan safely bring the Holy Grail back to England? Or will he succumb to the dangers of the evil men who follow in its wake?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142414613
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/17/2009
Series: Youngest Templar Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 307,419
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Michael P. Spradlin is the author of more than a dozen books for children. He grew up in a small town in Michigan not far from the Indiana border. Surrounded by books in his formative years, he grew up loving to read and imagining himself the hero of numerous epic battles.When not writing, he enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with his family and worrying over the fact that he really should be writing instead of doing other stuff. He lives in Michigan with his wife Kelly, son Michael, daughter Rachel and two dogs Willow and Apollo.

Read an Excerpt


Though I am called Tristan, I have no true name of my own. It was Brother Tuck who found me on St. Tristan’s Day, nearly fifteen years ago. He is a kind and gentle man, but a deaf--mute, and unable to even write down for me how I came to be here. The abbot, a much sterner sort, tells me that I was found that August night on the steps of the abbey. A few days old at best, hungry and crying, wrapped in a soiled woolen blanket.

I’m told the sound of horses could be heard riding away through the night, but since Brother Tuck was the first to find me, we know not if he saw or even glimpsed the riders. The abbot said that two of the brothers followed the tracks into the woods but soon lost the trail.

He also thinks I must be of noble blood. No peasant could afford to own such horses, and it is unlikely a poor farmer would abandon an infant that might one day grow strong enough to help him work the farm. Nor would any illiterate peasant likely be able to write the note that was neatly tucked into the folds of my blanket. On a simple scrap of rolled parchment, wrapped with red ribbon, it read, “Brothers: We bestow onto you this innocent child. His life threatens many. Remind him that he was loved, but safer away from those who would wish him harm. We will be watching over him until it is time.”

So whoever left the note must consider me safe now that I am nearly fifteen. For as near as anyone at the abbey can tell, no one has ever come here and asked about or “watched over” me in any way. Perhaps my parents, whoever they are, were unable to fulfill that promise.

The monks were always kind to me, but they were Cistercians and believed that one was never too young to work. I earned my keep there. However, I bore them no ill will, for the monks worked just as hard as I did. I lived at St. Alban’s for all of my life, and my earliest memories were not of the names and faces of the monks, but of chores. We were a poor abbey but grew enough crops and raised enough sheep and goats to get by. Our needs were few. There was wood in the surrounding forest to see us through each winter. The gardens provided us with plentiful vegetables, and the fields gave us wheat, which we turned into bread. If there was ever anything else we needed, the brothers traded for it in Dover or one of the nearby villages.

It was a quiet and calm existence, but the work was endless. The garden was my main contribution to the abbey. Brother Tuck and I tended it from planting in the spring to harvest in the fall. Working the hoe through the soil was quiet work, and gave me much time to think. The garden sat in a sunny spot behind the abbey, and once the rainy spring was over, the weather was usually fine and fair.

Our abbey was on the travelers’ road a day’s ride northwest of Dover. There were thirty monks in service there. Built many years ago it rose up out of the surrounding forest like a small wooden castle. It was simple in its design, because Cistercians are not frivolous, believing man is here to serve God, not adorn his buildings in finery.

Still, it was a comfortable place, inviting and welcoming to the few travelers who passed our way. The main hall where the brothers gathered to dine and pray was well lighted by the windows that rose high in the peaks. The surrounding grounds were neat and well tended, for the brothers believed that keeping things orderly kept one’s mind free to focus on God.

Except for the forest around the abbey grounds, and a trip to Dover three years before, I had seen no more of the world—though that was not all I knew of it. The monks offered shelter to travelers along the road to Dover, and from them I heard things. Exciting things happening in far-off places that made me wish for a chance to leave and see them for myself. Some told tales of wonder and adventure, of magnificent battles and exotic places. Recently, most all of the talk was of the Crusade. King Richard, who some called the Lionheart, carried out his war in the Holy Land, and it wasn’t going well. King Richard had been on the throne for almost two years, and had spent most of his time away from England fighting in the Crusades. He was called the Lionheart because he was said to be a ferocious warrior, brave and gallant, and determined to drive the Saladin and his Saracens from the Holy Land.

The Saladin was the leader of the Muslim forces opposing King Richard. He was said to be as courageous and fierce a warrior as the Lionheart, consumed with ridding the Holy Land of Christians. Even those who said that God was on our side conceded that defeating the Saladin would not be easy.

For the monks, the news from the east was of particular interest. To them, the rise of the Saladin was a signal that the end of days was near. Perhaps the Savior would soon come again.

These were my thoughts, on a clear and sunny day, as I worked beside Brother Tuck in the garden. Brother Tuck was a large man, strong and sturdy, with a generous heart. Though he couldn’t speak, he made a soft humming noise while pushing his hoe through the soil, moving to some rhythm only he felt. He could not hear the riders approach, or the sound of horses’ hooves pounding across the hard ground, or the clang of chain mail and sword as the knights reined up at the abbey gate.

Knights wearing the brilliant white tunics with red crosses emblazoned across their chests. The Warrior Monks. The famous Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. Known to all as the Knights Templar.


Excerpted from "Keeper of the Grail"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Michael Spradlin.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Keeper of the Grail (Youngest Templar Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enter a medieval world and be emersed in the Crusade of the Templars of old!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Youngest Templar Keeper of the Grail was a heart-pounding, heart- wrenching, and heart-stopping book. It's full of tense battle scenes, young love, and laugh-out-loud comedy right up until the end. Once you get into this series, you'll never want to stop reading! I highly recommend this book to anyone who liked Ranger's Apprentice, Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter. It's a really great read.
Christopher Potempa More than 1 year ago
This book will have you wanting to know what happens next
Matthew Schneider More than 1 year ago
had me on edge from start to finish
LexyLoo More than 1 year ago
This book was full of action and keep me wanting to read more and more. I did find it lacking in character description and felt as if you didn't get to know the characters as i would have liked. I would highly suggest this book to others it is a great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading it and it was awesome.I highly encourage you to read this book.
arielfl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this up because the youth service coordinator at our local library highly recommended it to me several times. I finally got around to the book on CD while waiting for the next book in the Hunger Games series to come in. I didn't have high expectations for it but came away pleasantly surprised. I have reached my saturation point in dystopia fiction so it was refreshing to find a well done historical fiction YA novel for my daughter to share.The narrator of the book is Tristan, an orphan living in a monastery in 1191 A.D. England. He is unaware of how he came to be there but there are hints that he may be of noble birth. I found this to be one of the more interesting mysteries in the book and I thought more would be revealed about who Tristan really is but I guess it will be addressed in a later installment. Tristan grows up among the monks and one day a group of Templar knights arrive at his abbey. He decides to cast his fortune with them and instead of becoming a monk he becomes a squire for Sir Thomas who teaches him survival skills such as sword fighting. He undertakes a journey with the Templar knights on Richard the Lionhearts crusade to the Holy Land. Eventually Tristan becomes separated from his mentor Sir Thomas and the Templar knights and he finds himself alone and the guardian of the greatest relic of all Christendom, the Holy Grail. As Tristan seeks to protect the grail, the story turns toward the familiar Robin Hood Tales. Tristan befriends Robbard (Robin) an archer on his way to Sherwood, and Maryam (Marian) who is a girl assassin. The group is pursued by bandits and the Saladin who are intent on possessing the grail. The novel ends on an extreme cliff hanger which will leave the reader wanting to quickly move on to the next installment. I really loved the character of Tristan in this novel. He has a very sharp wit and I found myself chuckling out loud at several of his caustic observations through out the book. I was surprised at how much my daughter enjoyed this as story as well. I appreciate the fact that she got a little historical lesson about medieval times as she enjoyed the adventure aspects of this novel. We will be checking out the next installment in this series shortly.A final note, we listened to this book on CD,. The narrator Paul Boehmer did an excellent job of reading the story and giving life to the character of Tristan. I could have listened to his English accent all day.
Reacherfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Over all, this was an okay read. I felt that it had more questions, than there were answers.Tristen was dropped off at a monastery when he was a baby and a note was with him. He was raised by Monks. Fourteen years pass, and some Knights of the Templar came for shelter, and one of the Knights liked him, Sir Thomas, and one of them didn't, Sir Hugh. There was a lot of tension between Sir Hugh and Tristen, but as a reader, we're never told why. We think it's because of something that happened to Sir Hugh's horse, and he blamed Tristen. I felt that was sort of an overreaction from Sir Hugh. Battles are fought and Sir Thomas tells Tristen, he has to take the Holy Grail to a place and protect it. Along the way, Tristen hooks up with two people, that help him, but they don't know what Tristen has. As said by other reviews, this does end with a cliffhanger. I did have some problem with this. We're lead to believe that Sir Hugh knows of Tristen's past, and "who he really is", but as the reader, we have no clue who Tristen really is. We don't even hear of rumours of who Tristen could be. It would be nice if he had some hint of who he could be or really is.The part of the grail also seems to come from nowhere. All of a sudden Sir Thomas has the grail. As the reader, we're not teased that Sir Thomas has something. Tristen should have seen Sir Thomas with it, but not know what it was. That way, the reader is hooked in with Tristen and wonders what Sir Thomas has.The author seems to like Robin Hood as well, some names from Robin Hood come into play. It just seemed out of place.Overall, it wasn't a bad read, just I wish the author did some things that would let the reader in on what was going on. I do plan to read the rest of the series. 3 stars, not a bad read.
hewayzha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If the words Templar are in the title, I will read the book. Obviously I am extremely interested in the Knights Templar. This is a slight twist on their story. Tristan, an orphan who is raised by Cisterian monks, is discovered by Sir Thomas who is a Knight Templar. Tristan agrees to be squire to Sir Thomas and the adventure begins. Tristan makes a dangerous enemy of one of the other Templars. He also finds that this same enemy and possibly Sir Thomas know who he is. Tristan learns how to fight and serve as a brave and able squire to Sir Thomas. The characters are all interestingly written and the pace is face and a page turner. For those who like historical fiction, this is a good choice. There is another book in the works and I am anxiously awaiting its completion.
stonelaura on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fairly straight forward historical action adventure that will appeal mostly to boys who like good battle scenes and fairly simple characters. We meet 15-year-old Tristan on the day when his simple life at the abbey where he¿s spent his whole life changes dramatically when the Knights Templar ride in and Sir Thomas recruits Tristan to be his squire. Evil Sir Hugh seems to have other plans for Tristan and even King Richard seems suspicious of him. Could it have anything to do with Tristan¿s origins? In the Holy Land when the great forces of the Saladin seem to be overwhelming them Sir Thomas entrusts the sacred relic of the Holy Grail to Tristan, swears him to secrecy and tells him to return the grail to England for safekeeping. During his journey to the sea to find a boat to carry him home Tristan¿s life is saved by a soldier who has just finished his conscription and just happens to be a young archer from Nottingham Forest. In an attempt to present an unbiased vision of both sides they in turn become involved with a daring Muslim assassin who comes to their rescue. This book has no final resolution and ends on a complete cliffhanger. Fans will have to wait for book two, due out in October of 2009.
DawnFechter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Grades 6-8. The adventure is set 10 1191 A.D. in historical times. An orphan named Tristan is raised by monks who knows thing of his family or parents. Now Tristan must decided if her is to become a monk or leave the monastery to find his life outside of the protective walls of the monastery. A group of men arrives at the monastery which happens to be Knights of the Templar. They come seeking a place to rest themselves and their horses. One knight named Sir Thomas invites Tristan to come along and be his personal squire. Tristan decides he must take this chance and accepts Sir Thomas offer. Tristan now finds himself with some of the world¿s most famous knights fighting in the Crusades. Tristan now is faced with helping Sir Thomas during many bloody battles with flying arrows and sword fights. Then when all hope is lost Tristan is given the most valuable item in history to guard and protect, the Holy Grail. How will he save the Holy grail from harm?? Will he survive??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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This is one of the most well writen books that I have EVER read and I have read thousands of great books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Buy the book and you'll thank me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Still amazing
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it last year and loved it. If you havnt read it you need to. Its a great book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the bests books I've read in a has action, humor and intrigue, and it has an interesting twist to the story of Robin Hood (a story many know and love). The book revolves around Tristian, an orphan raised by monks, who gets an oppurtunity to serve with the Knights Templar. In accepting the offer he embarks on a journey far from home that puts him in the middle of a war and in the mist of people who apparently know who he is. The book has an amazing perspective (i'm not sure if intentional or not)on how christiandom should be and what it is for many. There is so much there! It's a must read!
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