Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Grade: 6
In Crusade (The Heretic’s Secret, Book I), John Wilson introduced readers to a world literally on fire. As childhood friends John and Peter struggled to make sense of the upheaval around them, zealous Catholic knights rampaged across France, burning Cathar heretics and the cities they called home. Torn apart by their increasingly different beliefs, the two young men found themselves on opposite sides of a search for a secret that has the power to change the world.
In Grail (Book II) the search continues. Cities are falling to the brutal northern Crusaders and the smoke of the Cathar funeral pyres drifts across the land as Peter, John, and John’s friend Adso set off on journeys into the unknown. Adso takes to the hills with a band of soldiers, intent on revenge against Oddo and the Falcons. John and Isabella travel to Al-andalus in search of peace and the ancient wisdom preserved by the Moors. Peter travels to Rome, following a clue that Arnaud Aumery believes might lead to the mysterious Cathar treasure.
None of the three quests turns out as expected. Adso’s band is ambushed and he is forced to wander the country alone and bitter?until he meets a young monk who offers him a remarkable, yet dangerous, way to get back at his enemies. John and Isabella’s peaceful life of learning is cruelly disrupted as the Crusade spills south and they are caught in a battle that will determine the future of Al-andalus. Peter finds clues, but they only lead him farther away and deeper into a mystery that is becoming ever more complex.
In the end, however, all three men unknowingly find a piece of a puzzle?a puzzle that will only become clear if the pieces are ever brought together.
Available simultaneously: The Heretic’s Secret, Book I: Crusade in paperback.
About the author
John Wilson was born in 1951 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He did his early growing up on the Island of Skye and in Paisley, near Glasgow. From 1969 to 1974, he attended the University of St. Andrews where he took an Honours B.Sc.. in Geology and never played golf once. He took a position with the Geological Survey of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). In his two years there, he mapped rocks, dodged land mines and watched the country sink ever deeper into civil war. Shortly before he was due to be called into the army, John retreated back to Britain on his way to the safety of Canada. He settled on Calgary where geology was booming and the only danger was freezing to death in January. In 1979, he moved to Edmonton to take up a post with the Alberta Geological Survey. In 1988 he sold a feature article to the Globe and Mail. This fueled a smouldering mid-life crisis and he took up freelance writing full-time. With some success, John mined the experiences of his travels for articles, journalism and photo essays. He even began to express himself poetically and, with a young family, began writing children's stories. He moved to Nanaimo and then Lantzville on Vancouver Island. John has been widely published by a number of Canadian presses, with his acolades including a shortlisting for the Governor General’s Award.
Grail (Heretic’s Secret)Cities are falling to the brutal northern Crusaders as Peter, John and Adso set off on journeys into the unknown. Adso takes to the hills with a band of soldiers intent on revenge, John is in search of peace and wisdom, and Peter travels to Rome searching for the Cathar Treasure. All three men unknowingly find a piece of a puzzle whose meaning will only become clear if the pieces are ever brought together. Book Two in the series.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.