This book is the story of a young man who becomes a renowned knight. It tells of his trials, hardships and his joys. I find the book enjoyable and would recommend that you read it. The book is written by George Alfred Henty, a famous author.
The main character, Gervaise Tresham, grows up in England, in 1458, where his father dies fighting a battle for the dethroned queen and her son. His mother dies soon after from grief, but not after putting her son in a school to learn how to be a knight.
A few months later, he is sent from the school to the island of Rhodes, to the Order of St. John, as a page. After serving the grand master for a few months and being trained in the skill of arms, he is sent out on a mission with forty other knights to intercept pirates. On the mission Gervaise distinguishes himself so greatly that he is named a secular knight upon his return.
A year later, due to a suspicion of a mysterious character, Gervaise helps quell a large slave rebellion. He takes on the guise of a Turkish slave and, due to his perfect knowledge of that language, passes inspection. He serves as a slave for a month, until he learns of the plot and its details. Then he sends word to the grand master, who immediately stops the up rise.
As a reward for this arduous and heroic task, he is granted a galley to command. It was nicknamed ‘the Boy Galley’ by all the senior knights because it contained only the youngest knights.
Using his galley, Gervaise intercepts three pirate ships. He learns that there is to be a huge gathering of corsairs in a cove to form a fleet large enough to storm Italy. He, partly by using the element of surprise, partly by ingenious planning, and partly by pure luck, overcomes the entire fleet and takes the ships as prizes to the nearest port—Genoa.
During the fiesta there, he meets a girl, the daughter of Countess Da Forli, a cousin of a knight he had rescued from the pirates. The girl, Claudia, gives him a gage, a bestowal of her favor, and promises that no other man shall wear her colors.
After spending a few days there, they set off back to Rhodes, eager to land their prizes. They are greatly praised and raised to the highest esteem.
Awhile later, cruising off a native coast, Gervaise falls for a trap and gets captured. The rest of his crew manages to escape, and two of his companions are killed. He is taken to Tripoli, a port in North Africa, and sold to a wealthy Arab. The corsair captain also steals the gage Claudia had given him.
After changing owners twice, Gervaise escapes, after recovering the gage, for which he had forgone his liberty for a few months. With the help of his former owner, he traps the captain, kills him and recovers the gage. He then sets off down the coast.
Setting off in a small ship, he arrives back in Rhodes just in time for the great siege of the island by the Turks.
After weeks and weeks of wearisome fighting between the Turks and the Knights at Rhodes, the Order finally wins it, after a close scrape with the grand master. Gervaise and D’Aubusson, the master, were fighting when the latter fell wounded. Gervaise stood over him until help arrived.
When all was over and peace restored, Gervaise returned to Genoa and married Claudia. They “lived happily ever after.”
This story keeps you on the edge of your seat with excitement. The author did a good job with the suspense, for every time I put down the book I had a feeling almost like regret. It was a very exciting book.
I found while reading this book (and other books by Henty) that there is an ideology, a sort of perfect image that the author makes the protagonist out to be. It’s like a ‘perfect’ man that he wants to picture, to set an example for. And all through the book there is the idea underlying it all of a hero, who is humble, proactive, who is granted great honors but is still willing to take a job as a slave.
I like this story. I like how the style flows, how it is written overall. There is a very catchy plot, an easy style, very flowing, and not boring. There is a very satisfactory ending that leaves you with a good feeling.
I loved it and I have read it at least three times. I hope you enjoy it too.