Big John's Secret

Big John's Secret

By: Eleanore M. Jewett
Published by: The Viking Press
Publication Date: 1962

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Early in the thirteenth century, England under King John was torn with strife. Lords loyal to the king fought with those opposed to him, and the losers were taken as slaves and their estates confiscated. Twelve-year-old" Big John (so called because of his powerful physique) had always known that his father was one of the defeated. Old Marm, who reared him, told him so, but she would not reveal his name for fear of further retribution. So John was forced to serve the local lord, tilling the fields like a peasant. Through all these years his only thought was to find his father, if he was still alive, and, if he was dead, to avenge him.

Because of his knowledge of letters and the art of healing (learned from Old Marm), John was chosen to be a page to the Earl of Warenne, one of the lords who was organizing the Fifth Crusade to free the Holy Land from the Saracens. This crusade ultimately took John to Jerusalem. There he met Francis of Assissi, who taught him to temper his desire for vengeance, but not his hope for reunion with his father.

Details of everyday life among both nobles and common folk — the food they ate, their homes, clothes, and customs — are woven into the story to make a vast tapestry full of color and movement.

From the dust jacket

Big John's Secret Reprint

Big John's Secret        
Reprinted in 2004 by Bethlehem Books
Available formats: Paperback, Ebook
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