“Pagan Kidrouk was such a strong character that he sprang into my head fully formed, and wouldn’t go away until I’d worked out his entire life span,” says author Catherine Jinks of the character who, since his inception, has appeared in no less than four novels. “He’s certainly the strongest character I’ve ever written about. The cutest too, I think.”
Readers in Australia have already had a chance to fall in love with Pagan, both from the book series (which was first published there), and from his beginnings as a radio character. Catherine Jinks explains, “The idea for Pagan’s Crusade dates back to my university days, when I was studying medieval history. . . . For several years afterward I collected information and finally sat down to write it as a radio play.” Catherine Jinks eventually turned that script into a young adult novel. It’s this origin in radio that lends the writing such a punchy, immediate style. And the book’s irreverent wit? Catherine Jinks cites Monty Python and the Holy Grail as one of her influences.
So what’s in store for Pagan and his readers? In Pagan’s Crusade, readers are introduced to the sixteen-year-old Pagan as he arrives on the doorstep of the Templar Knights, looking for work as a squire. Adventure follows for the plucky Pagan and his master, the Lord Roland, in this “down-to-earth, warts-and-all tour of Jerusalem during the Middle Ages,” says the author/medieval scholar. In a glowing review, The Horn Book commented, “With characters as lively and engaging as Pagan and Lord Roland, readers will be glad to see there are three books of their adventures yet to come.”
The next book in the series, Pagan in Exile, takes Pagan and Lord Roland back to France—and back to more religious unrest. It’s followed by Pagan’s Vows, a medieval thriller that leads readers through a web of mystery and intrigue in the most unlikely of places.
Catherine Jinks has spent most of her life in Australia, where she lives today with her husband and daughter. She has also resided in Papua New Guinea and Nova Scotia. Her works have garnered numerous awards, including the prestigious Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year.