The Book Of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

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Cover illustration by Jill Calder, internal illustrations by Ian Schoenberg

Boy has been an outcast for as long as he can remember. The hump on his back, the mystery surrounding his birth, and his ability to communicate with animals make him a constant source of wrath and ridicule to those he lives with.

When a sinister pilgrim spots Boy climb and leap from a tree in his orchard, he buys him from the Lady Of The Manor to be his servant. But this turns out to be no ordinary pilgrimage, for Secundus is on a treasure hunt to reunite the relics of St Peter. Boy must balance his own religious beliefs and morals, with his desire to be a normal boy, as the two steal their way across France and into Italy, accumulating treasured religious relics and deadly enemies along the way…

A unique and gripping adventure across medieval France and Italy, woven through with miraculous fantasy.

As Boy discovers who he really is, we see his emotional torment and feel his physical pain as he battles with the life he has against the life he desires. For him, it is a true journey of self-discovery and acceptance of his true self.

Secundus is aloof, frightening and single minded on his quest, using Boy’s skills with seemingly little thought to the consequences. As he draws Boy into his darkness, so Boy draws out the good in Secundus.

Catherine Gilbert Murdoch’s writing brings the era and settings they travel through vividly to life. I especially loved the road to Rome, with it’s ruined villages beneath the scorching sun. And, it has a map!

Great for fans of Ally Sherrick and Emma Carroll.

Huge thanks to Jazz at Chicken House for sending me a review copy.

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